This October, the Monadnock Food Co-op will join over 65,000 cooperatives and credit unions across the United States in celebrating Co-op Month observed nationally since 1964. The National Cooperative Business Association chose this year’s theme, Owning Our Identity, to lift up the cooperative business model as the best way to build an economy that empowers everyone.
Locally, Mayor George Hansel proclaimed October as Co-op Month in Keene, NH in 2021. Join us at the October 5 City Council meeting at 7 p.m. for 2023’s proclamation!
Monadnock Food Co-op plans to honor this month by:
- Highlighting cooperatively owned vendors at our store and online.
- Offering a Round It Up Drive for the Monadnock Cooperative Community Fund, managed by the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation. This foundation pools contributions from over 40 cooperative funds to support cooperative development throughout the United States, including co-ops in New Hampshire through the NH Community Loan Fund.
- Honoring the 2023 Co-operator of the Year at our Annual Meeting on October 27.
Across the Northeast, people have used food co-ops to improve access to healthy, local, affordable food, and build stronger, more inclusive communities. Most of these grocery stores got their start during times of social and economic change, enabling people to access healthy food, support local producers, and provide good jobs. A new wave of start-ups has been growing, representing renewed interest in food security, and racial and economic justice. Today, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) includes 42 food co-ops and start-ups, locally owned by more than 168,000 members and employs over 2,450 people. Together, these co-ops generate shared annual revenue of over $395 million, with local products representing over a quarter of total sales.
“The International Cooperative Alliance approved the Statement on the Cooperative Identity in 1995,” said Erbin Crowell, executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) and a member of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) Cooperative Identity Advisory Group. “And Co-op Month is a unique opportunity for co-ops to communicate the values that guide us and the principles that make them real in how we conduct business.”
Food co-ops are not alone in their contribution to more inclusive and resilient communities and empowered workers. As employees question their role in the economy, cooperatives are creating dignified, empowering jobs with paths to ownership and wealth-building. From farmer co-ops to worker co-ops, credit unions to mutual insurance, and housing co-ops to energy co-ops, co-operative businesses thrive across the U.S. economy, where 1 in three people are co-op members. Around the world, around 1 billion people are members of about 3 million co-operatives, and 10% of the world’s population, or around 280 million people, are employed by co-ops. And because they are member-owned, co-operatives are rooted in their communities and governed by the people who use them to meet their needs.
Stop in at your local food co-op during Co-op Month to learn more about what makes co-operatives different. You may be surprised by what you find, including dairy products from Cabot Creamery Co-op and Organic Valley, fairly traded coffee, tea, and chocolate from Equal Exchange, beverages from Katalyst Kombucha and La Riojana wines, naturally fermented vegetables from Real Pickles— and many others. This list emphasizes some of our local co-op suppliers. For a list of additional co-op products that your co-op may offer, visit www.nfca.coop/co-opproducts.
To find food co-ops all over the Northeast, and for more examples of how co-ops are building back for impact, please visit www.nfca.coop.