Every October, co-ops everywhere celebrate by spreading the word about why co-ops rocks. We are working to make a real difference in our communities every day, and that's a huge part of the cooperative difference. Below are some great examples of the work that co-ops are doing in our own community!
We had a great time at our Community Potluck at Groff Park on Saturday! Here are a few highlights.
What a great Summer send-off! A HUGE thanks to Bart's Homemade Ice Cream for providing us with the best vanilla ice cream you can get, and to Equal Exchange for providing us with incredible chocolate to share. Most of all, thanks to everyone who came out to share the afternoon with us and brought great food, music and conversation.
**Coming up in October: Co-op Month! We'll be sharing all sorts of information about the cooperative difference, and what makes this movement so great to be a part of. It's a great time to become a founding member!**
We had so much fun kicking off our Membership Drive on Saturday the 12th! Around 150 people came to show their support, and we couldn't have been happier with the turnout. [photo credit: Rebekah Hanlon]
Amherst Community Co-op is holding its official membership drive kickoff event on Saturday, April 12th. The event will be at the Immanuel Lutheran Church at 867 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, from 4 to 6pm.
The steering committee for ACC has worked for three years to gauge community interest and build support. Amherst’s response has been overwhelmingly positive, from the town planner to the Chamber of Commerce to the many shoppers at local farmer’s markets. The co-op is now ready to offer equity to the public. This event will be the first chance to buy founding member shares. There will be free food, music, and child care. The event is free and open to the public.
Numerous local co-ops and businesses will be there to promote this new cooperative grocery. Real Pickles has offered samples of their cooperatively-produced pickles and sauerkraut. Apex Orchards will provide a variety of locally-grown apples. Bart’s Ice Cream will serve samples of their ice cream, a Valley favorite. Backyard Bakery will be giving samples of hearty bread baked here in Amherst. Guests will be able to sample coffee from Rao’s Cafe, and snack on popcorn popped by UMass Five College Credit Union.
Gary Hirshberg, the chairman and co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, will be the keynote speaker. Mr. Hirshberg is a very successful agricultural entrepreneur, having founded the largest producer of organic yogurt in the US. As one of the first graduates of Hampshire College, he has strong ties to the Pioneer Valley. His choice of business shows his obvious commitment to sustainability and the local food movement, and starting this full-scale food co-op in Amherst is a logical extension of that philosophy. He will be introduced by Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash, who is spearheading the school’s Healthy Food Transition, an initiative supported by a grant of $1 million from Hirshberg.
Other speakers will include Art Ames, General Manager of the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington. Art will discuss the importance of maintaining the balance between providing responsible food and keeping important staple products accessible for all patrons who need them. The Berkshire Co-op participates in a program called The Basics that ensures that all customers can affordably purchase important foods, such as bread, eggs, peanut butter and beans. Amherst Community Co-op plans to implement a similar program.
We will also hear from Jessica Montagna and Angie Gregory, worker-owners of Simple Diaper and Linen, who will speak to the worker-ownership component of our co-op.
Parking for this event will be available on-site. We encourage any who are interested in attending to RSVP via email at email@example.com, through our Facebook page, clicking the orange button at the end of this post, or by filling out one of our self-addressed, stamped invitations that we are handing out at the Amherst Winter Farmers' Market and other events.
We have received the final amount that was raised through ticket sales at the February 1st screening of Food For Change - $1867.50! This brings a little more than 15% of the way towards our initial fundraising goal of $20,000, which is beyond encouraging and very exciting.
This event could not have been possible without the support and help from our friends at River Valley Market, Green Fields Market, The Old Creamery Co-op, and Home Planet Pictures. And of course, thank you to every person who attended the event!
Next up for Amherst Community Co-op is our Membership Kick-off Drive! We hope you will attend and join as a founding member of our cooperative.
Date: Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Time: 4:00 - 6:00 pm
Location: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 North Pleasant Street, Amherst MA.
There will be live jazz music, free kids' games, food and drink donated by local businesses (including Bart's Ice Cream!), and guest speakers. We are excited to announce that Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farms, will be our keynote speaker! Please shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions.
Happy almost spring!
- Amherst Community Co-op
When: This Sunday, Jan. 12th, from 1-2pm
Where: Jones Library in Amherst: The Amherst Room on the 2nd floor
What: We will be talking about where the project is on its timeline, what we have done in the past, what we will be doing in the coming months, and ways that you can get involved!
Please email email@example.com if you are interested in attending.
October is Co-op Month, and we're excited to announce our participation in the co-op themed events listed below. There's a lot going on, so mark your calendars and come by!
10/16- Kendrick Park Farmer's Market Stop in and say hello as we table at the Wednesday Market! Pick up some apples while you're at it.
Wednesday, October 16th 2-6pm at Kendrick Park in Amherst
10/19- Co-op Carnival! We're proud to sponsor and participate in this exciting event celebrating our community's co-ops. Purchase your raffle tickets here ahead of time for a wide variety of awesome prizes! "The Co-op Carnival will unite many of the dozens of cooperatives that call the Valley home in a joyous celebration of their contributions to the local economy. The event is a fundraiser for The Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA) and Food for Thought Books." Saturday, October 19th 3-8pm at Food For Thought Books in Amherst
10/20- Food For Change Screening at Popcorn Noir Come for dinner and a movie to Easthampton's Popcorn Noir! They'll be screening the national premier of Food For Change. We are excited to be co-hosting this event with River Valley Market! This event is open to the public, and includes a full dinner menu, full bar, and table service. Table seating is limited, however, so e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a table.
Sunday, October 20th 6:45pm at Popcorn Noir in Easthampton
11/2- Amherst Food Forum Join Amherst Community Market and The All Things Local Cooperative Market for a public forum about our projects. Come to find out more about the differences between these two projects that are both working to increase food access in our town. There will be light refreshments, including Katalyst Kombucha samples by The Artisan Beverage Cooperative and cheese provided by Cabot Creamery. There will be free childcare at the event, so please feel free to bring your little ones.
Saturday, November 2nd 4:00 pm at Food For Thought Books in Amherst
In the Spring semester of 2013, History students studying with Professor Laura Lovett took a historical perspective in determining whether or not a food cooperative, such as the Amherst Community Market, would be feasible for the town of Amherst. Their research points to yes!
Both papers touch upon the historical roots of the cooperative movement. These works point to the success of cooperatives in existence today. Moreover, they take a look at the real economic and social ramifications of cooperative business and its alternatives. We would like to give a special thanks to Professor Lovett and her students: Daniel Murphy, Kelly Simpkin, Seth Stambovsky, Alyssa Stenson, Emerson Almeida, Kenneth Mick, and Ryan McAdams, for producing this truly important work. Their papers not only serve to assist the Amherst Community Market as it gets closer to conducting a market and feasibility study, but serve as educational tools that share the history of the cooperative movement and its realities today.
You can check out the papers here:
A Cooperative Future: A Look at the Structure of the Amherst Community Market through a History of Cooperatives
Taking Control: The Tenability of National, Regional, and Local Cooperative Businesses
Back in June we had a great open meeting at Food For Thought Books! We introduced our new steering committee members, discussed the specifics of how our project will benefit from the feasibility study that we are currently raising funds for, and we introduced our logo contest (see below for details). We also asked everyone to write down why they want a food co-op in Amherst. We know why we're passionate about this project, but it's always exciting to hear why everyone else is as well!