Are chips and dip part of your game day spread? Then you’ll be thrilled to hear that our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Late July this week! All of their products are 20% off for member-owners from January 31st – February 6th. Read on to learn more about them:
Late July is named for that sweet spot of summer when life feels simple, pure & good and it’s also their philosophy on snack-making. They believe that the best parties need a few simple things — great friends, good stories and delicious food! At Late July, these three things always come together around a big bowl of delicious tortilla chips. That is why they take so much care in using the highest quality ingredients without sacrificing on taste. They care deeply about using organic and non-GMO ingredients and making chips for everyone at the party.
Their snacks stand out in a crowded snack aisle, not just because of their delicious taste, but also because of their commitment to sourcing the highest quality organic and non-GMO ingredients that are free of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. You’ll find a variety of gluten-free, vegan, Kosher and nut-free offerings to please every palate.
They hope that you enjoy eating their snacks as much as they enjoy making them!
Last year, your Board of Directors updated its Governance Policies. In the process, we noticed that our Co-op’s bylaws could use some updating too. Together with our General Manager, we worked to make our bylaws clearer, simpler, and even more consistent with our values and with the best practices of other food co-ops. (For example, our current bylaws do not allow for recent innovations like electronic voting.)
The process of updating our bylaws was aided by a recently developed set of bylaws provided by our long-time consultants at Cooperative Development Services (CDS). This resulted in a set of proposed bylaws with the same basic meaning but written in clearer and more concise language. At the same time, we made a handful of additions and deletions and wanted to share them with you in advance of presenting the new bylaws for your approval in May. Please read through the new proposed draft bylaws and send along your feedback to email@example.com. For your reference, the old bylaws are posted here. We would love to have your feedback by March 24th. We’ll include a final draft in the Annual Report and a ballot for voting on them. Here’s a list of significant proposed changes:
Allow for electronic voting as a convenient way to increase participation in the democratic process.
Add language to allow for runoff elections in the event of a tie (rather than the Board choosing between the tied candidates, as is currently written).
Provide language for reconciling the membership records for shareholders who have abandoned shares in the co-op. The three-year cut off for membership being inactive is a VT state law.
As our co-op has grown to over 5,000 member-owners, our goal is to reduce the required signatures for petitioning a special meeting, from 10% to “5% of the total number of member-owners or 200 member-owners, whichever is less.”
Add “employees and spouses or family members of employees may not serve as a Director.” Peer co-ops point out the inherent conflict of interest due to employee board members being the employer of the GM who is also their employer.
Remove “member-owners shall also be permitted to contribute services for additional discounts and other entitlements as determined by the Board.” Our goal is to continue the practice of member-working as long as possible, but remove it from the bylaws to allow flexibility in the future.
Remove “goods and services at the lowest possible cost”. It is our goal to provide the fairest prices possible to both members and customers, while also balancing other factors such as a fair price to farmers/producers, and fair compensation for employees, all while keeping the co-op financially sustainable.
Remove “non-profit”, because the Co-op is technically not a 501c3 non-profit. This language was from an earlier era and does not currently legally apply. The Co-op does make a profit (about 2%) most years, pays taxes on those profits and uses them to build a better community.
We’ve also planned a couple of open meetings to give you the opportunity to share your feedback with us in person. The dates and locations of these meetings are as follows:
The MNFC Leadership Team, General Manager Glenn Lower, Board of Directors: R.J. Adler, Molly Anderson, Nadine Barnicle, Ilaria Brancoli Busdraghi, Lynn Dunton, Sophie Esser Calvi, Kate Gridley, Ann LaFiandra, Tam Stewart, Louise Vojtisek, and Amanda Warren
We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Cabot Creamery this week to shed a little light on this 100-year-old cooperative creamery, established at a time when cows outnumbered people in Vermont. Cabot’s full line of dairy products are 20% for member-owners this week! Read on to learn all about their humble beginnings, the local farmers that are part of this cooperative, and how the Cabot name became synonymous with dairy in Vermont:
The Cabot Creamery, headquartered in Waitsfield, VT, is a cooperative made up of more than 800 dairy farm families located throughout New York and New England. They also manage four plants in three states, employing over 1,000 people, who make “The World’s Best” cheese and dairy products.
The Cabot story reaches back to the beginning of the 20th century. In those days, the cost of farming was low and most farmers produced way more milk than they could market. So, in 1919, farmers from the Cabot area figured that if they joined forces, they could turn their excess milk into butter and market it throughout New England. Ninety-four farmers jumped on board, purchased the village creamery (built in 1983), and began producing butter.
Over the next two decades, as the nation’s population flocked to urban areas, Cabot’s farmer-owners thrived by shipping their milk and butter south. While the national economy shifted away from agriculture, the Vermont economy was still largely based on dairy farming. In fact, in 1930, cows outnumbered people! It was at this time that the company hired its first cheesemaker and cheddar cheese entered the product line for the first time. By 1960, Cabot’s membership reached 600 farm families at a time when the total number of operating farms around the nation was in sharp decline.
Steady growth continued and 1992 was a pivotal year in Cabot’s history as their farmer-owners merged with the 1,800 farm families of Agri-mark, a southern New England co-op dating back to 1918.
Today, Cabot’s future looks bright. Our company blends state-of-the-art facilities and a savvy entrepreneurial spirit with the timeless values and personal commitment to quality that comes from being 100% owned by our farm families. In our Middlebury facility, we recently installed a huge new piece of machinery that will allow us to process 4,000 more pounds of cheese curd per hour than the 8,000 pounds the current machine handles. This 22-ton piece of equipment known as the CheeseMaster will increase production of the 26 truck-sized vats — each holding enough milk to make 6,000 pounds of cheese — that get filled daily.
The Middlebury facility runs 24 hours a day/seven days a week and serves to make and age Cabot’s famous Vermont Cheddar. The plant also processes whey liquids, which are left over from the cheesemaking process, to produce whey proteins and permeate, which is sold around the world. Additionally, the facility serves as a warehouse for cheese and whey products, with the capacity to store up to 2 million pounds of cheese. On a daily basis, 114 Vermont and New York dairy farmers supply the milk for the Middlebury plant, although that number increases on weekends and holidays when other plants are closed. Addison County is one of the largest membership areas in the farmers’ coop, helping to supply the milk that comes to the plant every day.
To learn more about the eight farms in Addison County that are part of the Cabot Cooperative, click on the links below:
Spectrum is featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from January 17th – 23rd and their full line of products are 20% off for member-owners. Read on to learn more about why they shine:
In 1986, Spectrum Naturals® brand was founded in Petaluma, CA to bring nutrition and quality into the vegetable oil market. Soon after Spectrum Naturals® brand was founded, Spectrum Essentials® brand was created to produce and market dietary supplements. Both brands were committed to offering premium, wholesome alternatives to conventional products. This commitment stemmed from the brand’s use of organic, non-GMO ingredients and its chemical-free extraction of oils.
Spectrum Naturals® brand soon became a leading innovator in the development of expeller-pressed and certified organic vegetable oils, as well as a leading proponent of testing and verifying the absence of genetically modified organisms in its culinary oils. In 2005, Hain Celestial Group acquired Spectrum® Organic Products, and today, Spectrum® brand is the #1 Natural and Organic Culinary Oil brand!
Spectrum® brand was founded for one simple reason: to provide a reliable source of high quality, wholesome products. Our brand offers 30+ varieties of Non-GMO Project Verified culinary oils, sourced from worldwide geographies including Spain and Italy. This collection of oils feature premium expeller-pressed and cold-pressed products. As your culinary partner, we are here to educate, guide, and inspire you with tips and resources that will take your dishes to new heights. Explore our products and our website to learn how to give your healthful lifestyle a boost.
Click here to check out delicious recipes and suggested uses for Spectrum products!
It’s YOUR Co-op – Own it! Find out what being a Co-op Board Member is all about. Join us in the Co-op Seating Area for breakfast and a chance to learn more about what it takes to become a part of the Co-op Board.
Looking to step up your wellness game in 2019? We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on New Chapter this week and all of their supplements are 20% off for member-owners from January 10th – 16th. Read on to learn more about this Brattleboro-based B Corp that has been honoring natural well-being by nurturing body, soul, and Earth for over 35 years:
New Chapter was originally founded in 1982 by Paul and Barbi Schulick out of a passion to promote health through innovative botanical formulations made with 100% real foods and herbs. The company has grown and evolved over the past 36 years, but it still remains firmly rooted in Brattleboro, VT where they proudly employ more than 150 area residents.
To deliver the wisdom of Nature, thus relieving suffering and promoting optimal health.
To advance the organic mission, nourishing body and soul with the healing intelligence of pure whole foods and herbal supplements.
To nurture and sustain Mother Earth, the source of natural healing.
To honor and reward personal growth, for enlightened teamwork depends on the vitality of every member of the New Chapter® family.
Commitment to Sustainability
At New Chapter, concern for the planet is expressed not only through careful sourcing and formulation principles but also with every action they take as a company. New Chapter is proud to be a Certified B Corporation, which means they define success in holistic terms that encompass not just profit but people and Earth too.
Sustainable Sourcing – They travel the globe to identify and build relationships with supplier partners who share their commitment to sustainable sourcing. Knowing their suppliers and the origins of their crops helps to uphold a supply chain that is both socially responsible and environmentally conscious.
Welfare of People – Throughout the supply chain, from Vermont to India, New Chapter aims to engage partners whose workers are treated with respect and provided with working conditions that are safe, healthy, and balanced.
Climate Friendly Farming – New Chapter is proud to be a part of the growing regenerative agricultural movement. Replacing industrial practices with regenerative ones can reboot plants’ natural cycle of removing carbon from the air by sequestering it in the ground. Along with adherence to organic standards, soil regeneration practices include rotating crops, composting, using cover crops, and avoiding deep tilling. These techniques create healthy, carbon-rich soil that is full of organic matter and holds water like a sponge.
Waste Reduction – New Chapter is able to compost, recycle, or reuse more than 80% of the waste they produce – everything from lunch leftovers and office paper to pallets and shrink-wrap. And they’re now certified Zero Waste to Landfill, which reduces their carbon footprint and uses energy recovery to convert their waste into clean energy.
As environmental stewards focused on human health, New Chapter works to increase accessibility to organic food, farming, and traditional herbal medicine. And as a Certified B Corp, they endeavor to use their business resources to help solve social and environmental problems—in communities around the world where our ingredients come from as well as locally right here in Vermont. Partners include Kindle Farm and the Vermont Food Bank.
Election season for the Board of Directors is upon us! I am frequently asked why I choose to be a member of the Co-op board. We are all familiar with the refrain “voting with your dollars” as a shared value of conscious consumers. I choose to spend my money at the Co-op because I believe in this slogan. And, I choose to be a member of the Board of Directors because I similarly believe in the concept of “voting with your time.” Being a member of the board allows me to “spend” my time committing to democracy.
Wendell Berry writes: “No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it.” In these unsettled times, participating in the democratic leadership of a cooperatively owned, local business allows me to practice living responsibly in my small part of the world. Our Co-op may seem like a small fish in the big pond of the globe—whether we buy organic, fair trade chocolate chips at the Co-op, or conventional chocolate chips from Amazon may seem dolefully inconsequential in the face of the massive social-justice issues our world faces. Participating in the democratic ownership of the Co-op, however, allows me to devote my dollars, time and energy (the only resources I am fully in control of) to the pursuit of an alternative to our global status quo.
During our election season, I urge you to remember Wendell Berry’s concept. Your decisions and interest matter – whether you are considering running for a spot on the board, or reading up on board candidates to vote in May. Our Co-op may be small, but participating in the democratic process of our board elections allows us to practice living responsibly in our small part of the world, and thereby living fully in the world as a whole.
Board Recruiting Packets with details on the process of becoming and serving as a board member are available on the website here. Applications are due March 15, 2019. If you have any questions about running for or serving on the board, please contact Kate Gridley, firstname.lastname@example.org, (802)989-1928, or any member of the Board.
Amanda Warren is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member