Sign up for our monthly email
Everyone is welcome to enjoy and shop our store!

SAVE!!!
shop-and-save-webad-june2017

 Calendar of Events & Classes
bfc eventcalendar_06_june2017_webimage

Food For Thought Newsletter
bfc fft_june_2017-frontpage

 

fft-archive-info

Gift Cards!

coop gift card

 A great gift idea
for any occasion!

Healthy Food for All!

June 3

June 3

Read about how Frost Beer is made in Food For Thought!

More...

Frost Beer Works will be at the Co-op June 8th (3-5pm)

More...

Garin and Christina Frost of Frost Beer Works

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 JoomlaWorks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Board of Directors Report: Co-op Sustainability PDF Print E-mail

by Wesley Pittman
May 2017

Each month this newsletter features a local enterprise: a dairy, a bakery, a farm. We are fortunate to live where the food we eat is produced with great care, and where our member-owned Co-op exists to provide a range of such items to the community. The Brattleboro Food Co-op is dedicated to the support of a sustainable local economy. Situated in a wider world which has little respect for local economies, the cooperative business model we practice affirms the value of the local and the sustainable: how we buy and sell and how we treat one another are local issues with global reach.

While sales of local products grew a remarkable eight percent last year, our ambitions are much higher. We’re just getting started.

It is widely accepted that sustainability depends upon steady, moderate growth. Grow or die. Three to five percent is a terrific growth rate for a national economy or a private business. Our business, started from scratch and growing steadily for more than 40 years, is now a 20 million dollar business.

We have invested in the heart of our downtown by building this new store where we employ more than 160 people. The Co-op is owned not by a multinational corporation but by 7000 members of our own community. Ownership is available to all, and we welcome new shareholders. We sustain ourselves and our community through ongoing moderate growth of our enterprise.

Another measure of economic sustainability relates to the wellbeing of the community, because finally, an economy is a community. A sustainable local economy is defined as one in which no more than five percent of the population lives below poverty level. Families are above the poverty line if they have a minimum of resources to survive. So a sustainable local economy fosters adequate access to food, health and housing. Further it works to diminish the wide disparities in incomes that we recognize in our town, our nation, and our world.

The BFC works for a sustainable local economy in a multitude of ways. We aim for affordability in our pricing. We have introduced the Co+op Basics brand of goods to our shelves. We offer education to children and adults about healthy cooking and healthy eating. We partnered with the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust to create affordable housing units on the top two floors of our new building. We have forged relationships with over 100 local non-profit organizations that work to enrich the life and health of our community. This is not commercial activity, for the most part, but it adds value to the life of our town. We would all be impoverished without such enterprises as The Boys and Girls Club, Hospice/Experienced Goods, Groundworks Collaborative, Food Connects, Vermont Foodbank, Turning Point, and Youth Services. What’s the point of a sustainable economy if it doesn’t serve a sustainable community?

The BFC works hard to sell local products. But what is local? We say a product is local if it is produced in Vermont, or within a 100-mile radius of Vermont. Look at the store, though: it’s full of food and goods that are not local at all. Few indeed are the coffee growers in Windham County. Much of the coffee we sell is Fair Trade coffee, and our patronage supports growers whose economies are as local to them as ours is to us. And of course, we also feature coffee that’s roasted and distributed by Mocha Joe’s, a pillar of our local economy.

Look for canned enchilada sauce in the Co-op. Next to the national brand default choice, the product of a multinational corporation, you will see two sauces made with poblanos from the Hatch Valley of New Mexico, produced by a relatively small company in Albuquerque. It is organic, non-GMO, the product of another local economy. Use it with Cabot pepper jack and Mi Tierra tortillas made in Hadley, maybe some local spinach, potatoes, and onions from our produce department. Local, delicious. (Let me know when that enchilada casserole is ready.)

Where are the borders between the local and the global? We are all involved, so we are all at each other’s mercy. It’s getting pretty crowded. Let’s cooperate. Let’s do some business. It’s not so much that we must grow or die as it is that, as W. H. Auden wrote, “We must love one another or die.”