January 2023

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger! This small, family-owned, family-run, and family-friendly company nestled in the woods of Gilsum, New Hampshire is beyond worthy of the spotlight. They help define what it means to be a socially accountable, environmentally responsible, people-first kind of business. They are featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from February 2nd – 8th and member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all of their fabulous body care products! Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise:

Badger was born in 1995 when founder Bill Whyte was working as a carpenter in the cold New Hampshire winters and created an amazing balm that helped soothe and heal his cracked hands. Badger Bill ran the company (as CEO) along with his wife Katie Schwerin (as COO) and their two daughters Rebecca Hamilton and Emily Schwerin-Whyte and it grew to over 100 products and over 90 employees. In 2018 Bill passed the leadership of the company on to Rebecca and Emily making them both CEOs or Collaborative Executive Officers. Click HERE to read more about Badger’s amazing history.

Badger Bill and family


Quality Ingredients and Standards

Badger selects ingredients with great care, using only those that fit their rigorous natural standards for healthy agriculture, minimal processing, sustainable supply chain, and health-giving properties. Every ingredient they use is grown and processed with the highest degree of respect for protecting the environment, the workers, and the natural properties of the plants. Nearly all of Badger’s products are made from 100% USDA Certified Organic food-grade ingredients and they utilize as many fair trade certified ingredients as possible. You can view their impressive growing and processing standards on their web page. 

B Corp Status

Badger became a B Corporation in 2011 to help assess and improve their business practices and ensure that they’re always doing what’s right for people and the planet. Badger has been named ‘Best For the World’ in the environmental category from 2015-2019 and again in 2021 by the folks at B Corp. They also earned B Corps ‘Best for the World’ overall in 2019, recognizing their efforts to create a positive impact for workers, the environment, and the community. At the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Badger joined a group of over 500 other B corporations in committing to Net Zero by 2030, a full 20 years ahead of the 2050 goals set by the Paris Agreement. That means reaching a perfect equilibrium with the earth—drawing all of their energy from renewable sources, and releasing zero carbon into the atmosphere. 

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Going Solar

Badger headquarters is powered exclusively by the sun! In July of 2020, as part of their ongoing commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, Badger partnered with fellow B Corp Revision Energy to install a full ground and roof solar array. Their land and buildings are now adorned with a 1,445-panel (524-kilowatt) roof- and ground-mounted solar array, one of the largest in the region. The panels produce enough clean solar energy to power all of their operations—and even send extra electricity back to the grid. These panels will eliminate about 636,000 pounds of carbon pollution every year!

New Solar Panels Powering the Badger Campus in Gilsum, NH


Family-Focused Employee Programs

Badger was awarded the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for its accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment and was named one of the 50 best places to work for new dads by Fatherly. Creating a family-friendly workplace is a high priority at Badger. They aim to be supportive of new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. They offer extended parental leave and a Babies At Work program, which brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. This policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until it begins crawling, at which time it graduates to Badger’s Calendula Garden Childcare Center. The Center is located just a quarter-mile from the Badger campus and offers high-quality, subsidized childcare for children of their employees.  Badger, in a sense, creates its own “village” to support both parent and child!


Calendula Garden Child Care Center
Calendula Garden Child Care Center

Another exemplary aspect of employee care is their free lunch program. This is a daily organic lunch served during a paid 30-minute break. Every day their fabulous cooks prepare a free, home-cooked lunch for all of the Badgers made from 100% organic and mostly local foods. During the summer months, much of the produce comes right from their Badger Ecology Center regenerative vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee culture here.


Product Certifications

Badger believes that third-party certifications take the guesswork out of claims made on cosmetics and personal care items. This means that they adhere to the standards and guidelines of any third-party agency certifying their products. Their products are certified organic by both the USDA and the NSF, many of the ingredients are Fair Trade certified, and all products are certified gluten-free and certified cruelty-free. As a sunscreen manufacturer, they recognize the responsibility that they hold to help protect coral reefs and delicate marine ecosystems. They have been making reef-safe sunscreens since 2005 and now have one of the first Protect Land + Sea certified sunscreens. Badger sunscreens DO NOT contain any ingredients or contaminants considered harmful to coral reef environments, sea turtles, and other aquatic life. In addition, Badger advocates for bans on coral-harming sunscreen chemicals in places such as Hawaii, Key West, Palau, Aruba, and the US Virgin Islands.

Interested in Getting More Involved in Your Co-op’s Governance? Run for the Board!

Even though spring feels far away now, we are currently gearing up for our annual board elections and recruiting member-owners to run for the four seats up for election this year. As Board Development Chair, my aim is to share with all of our member-owners more about how our board works, what we do, and what to do if you’re interested in running for one of the board seats. 

The board is composed of 11 members who are elected to serve three-year terms. In May 2023, four positions will be up for election. With three board members stepping off the board, we anticipate welcoming at least three new board members this year! The board is currently made up of member-owners who live all over Addison County and who have been co-op members for all different lengths of time. We have a blend of backgrounds including teachers and professors, farmers and gardeners, community engagement specialists, financial professionals, artists, parents, and nonprofit directors. This diversity of backgrounds and skills makes our board stronger. Further, we all have in common a passion for the Co-op and our democratic principles.

You may wonder: what does the board even do? The board has three primary roles: 1) to represent the 6,000+ member-owners of the Co-op, 2) to oversee and support General Manager, and 3) to provide strategic and financial oversight for the Co-op. Board members craft and monitor policies that ensure our Co-op is meeting our mission and our ends. As you may know, last year the Co-op underwent a big leadership transition, with Glenn Lower retiring and Greg Prescott starting as our new General Manager. Your board is focused more than ever on maintaining our Co-op’s financial strength and community focus and continuing the smooth transition of leadership. 

Each year, we are committed to recruiting new board members to bring fresh voices and diverse perspectives to our team. Institutional knowledge from longer-serving board members and fresh perspectives from newer board members are equally valuable. Our board strives to be actively anti-racist and inclusive. We welcome participation from community members who share a commitment to anti-oppression work. The board is made up of community members who bring a variety of personal and professional experiences. No board member is expected to be an expert or to represent anything other than their own experience. 

I am currently in the first year of my second term on the board and I really enjoy serving on the board. My professional job with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is focused on building a food system that centers people and our planet, and I’m so grateful for the work the Co-op does to bring this vision to reality locally. I am honored to participate in the democratic processes of our Co-op and am excited to be able to support others in keeping more dollars and decisions local!

There are several opportunities to learn more this month! 

  • We are holding a drop-in Zoom Q&A session for prospective board members on Tuesday, February 7th from 7-8 pm. Join current board members and MNFC’s General Manager, Greg, to learn about the board’s unique governing style and ask questions about the board’s responsibilities. RSVP to board@middlebury.coop by February 7th at noon to receive the Zoom link.
  • Community members are always welcome to attend board meetings. Our next board meeting is on Wednesday, February 15th from 6:30-8:30 pm. If you’d like to attend, please contact our Board President, Amanda Warren,  in advance: board@middlebury.coop.
  • From 5:30-6:30 pm on February 15th, we’ll also be having an in-person meet and greet before our board meeting. Please RSVP by noon on February 14th if you’d like to attend – board@middlebury.coop.

Of course, we’re happy to connect with you outside of these meetings too! If you are interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other board members  —we always love to hear from our fellow member-owners.

Erin Buckwalter is Chair of the Board’s Board Development Committee.

Spotlight on Starbird Fish

Being landlocked as we are, the very notion of “local” seafood seems implausible, but thanks to the team at Starbird Fish in Burlington, we are able to have the next best thing — sustainably sourced Alaskan seafood, harvested by Vermonters for Vermonters. Their small crew makes the annual voyage to Alaska to bestow Vermonters with the very best seafood available and provides us with a unique opportunity to know our fishermen. Starbird is featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from January 26th – February 1st, so it’s a great time to stock up the freezer! Read on to learn more about this unique local business and the crew that makes the magic happen:


With over a decade of experience as a commercial fisherman, Anthony “Captain Tony” Naples has been involved in all aspects of the trade, including building his own commercial fishing boats under the tutelage of legendary boat builder Lyford Stanley. Prior to launching his career as a fisherman, the Moretown, VT native explored prior stints as a farmer, a design/build craftsman and carpenter, a botanist, a lighthouse restoration expert, a photographer, a filmmaker, and a musician. In short, there’s not much that Anthony can’t do. But what really floats his boat is to spend his summers immersed in the pristine environs of Alaska’s Bristol Bay, then return home to share his modest catch with his friends, family, and community. 

After experiencing the rigors and extractive nature of the typical commercial fishing scene, he realized his preference for a different style and pace involving a more sustainable means of harvesting fish. In addition to captaining his own boat, he returns each year to the tight-knit Ugashik fishing community of Bristol Bay, where he teams up with longtime friends to practice a form of salmon fishing known as set netting. The Ugashik region is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world and is managed by the State of Alaska Fish and Game Department, whose team of state biologists ensures that a healthy number of fish return to the ecosystem every year.

It takes five separate flights to arrive at the comma-shaped estuary formed where the Ugashik River empties into Bristol Bay, on the western coast of the Alaska Peninsula. Upon arrival, the play-by-play goes something like this:  prep the gear; check the tides; check in with Alaska Fish and Game to learn of his “openers” which are the acceptable windows during which the salmon can be sustainably harvested; set the nets; catch the fish; harvest the fish from the nets; immediately deliver the catch to a “tender”, which is a nearby boat that cools the fish using a seawater refrigeration system and delivers them to the processor, who then flash freezes the fish and prepares it for shipment back to Vermont. These steps take place over a 24-hour period and are repeated for the duration of the salmon run. 


Upon arrival in Vermont, some of the fish is smoked and stored in a facility in Burlington, while the rest of the frozen fish is warehoused at the Mad River Food Hub in Waitsfield until it finds its way to the Burlington Farmers’ Market and to the shelves of various food co-ops, restaurants, and other small markets across Vermont. According to a feature in Edible Vermont, Anthony explains that “the future for small seafood producers is in the artisanal food market. I want to provide high-quality product to restaurants and farmers’ markets, places where people care about the source of their seafood.” He continues, “There’s a lot of junk that’s sold as seafood, as well as misinformation bordering on outright lies about origins and freshness.” When you choose to purchase fish from Starbird, you’re supporting every aspect from fisherman to fishery, and that level of transparency and authenticity is critical for Anthony. 

In an effort to create an authentic, transparent regional seafood supply chain, Anthony created the Northern Seafood Alliance – an organization with a mission to provide consumers access to wild fish and seafood caught by fishermen whom Anthony knows personally. He quips in the Edible Vermont piece that half of them are UVM grads.  He also notes that “Cranberry” Bob Lesnikoski of Fletcher, Vermont, who you more likely know as Vermont’s only commercial cranberry farmer, has been a great resource. “He’s a true jack-of-all-trades and savvy about the food scene. Bob’s a commercial fisherman himself, and he came out to Alaska to crew on one of my boats.” 

At the Co-op, you’ll find a supreme lineup of Starbird Fish, including Alaskan Coho salmon, King salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Rockfish, Halibut, and Cod. When you take it home to prepare it, we hope you’ll think of Captain Tony and the incredible journey that he takes each year to bring fish to your family’s table. 

MNFC is Seeking Applications for New Board Members

The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op is more than just a grocery store. It’s a community-owned, democratically-governed business that supports local farmers, provides jobs, keeps dollars in our community, and increases access to healthy foods. Our Co-op is stronger when all our community members are represented. Add your voice by joining the Co-op board! Serving on the board is one way that member-owners can participate in strategic oversight and make our collaborative, democratic organization thrive. Board members receive a yearly stipend and a 10% store discount, plus ample learning and leadership development opportunities.

Our board strives to be actively anti-racist and inclusive. We welcome participation from community members who share a commitment to anti-oppression work.  

Board elections take place every May and this year, there are four spots up for election. Apply by March 12, 2023, to run for the board. There are several opportunities to learn about the Board in the coming month! 

We are holding a drop-in Zoom Q&A session for prospective board members on Tuesday, February 7th from 7-8 pm. Join current board members and MNFC’s General Manager, Greg, to learn about the board’s unique governing style and ask questions about the board’s responsibilities. RSVP to board@middlebury.coop by February 7th at noon to receive the Zoom link.

Community members are always welcome to attend board meetings. Our next board meeting is on Wednesday, February 15th from 6:30-8:30 pm. If you’d like to attend, please contact our Board President, Amanda Warren,  in advance: board@middlebury.coop.

From 5:30-6:30 pm on February 15th, we’ll also be having an in-person meet and greet before our board meeting. Please RSVP by noon on February 14th if you’d like to attend – board@middlebury.coop.

Of course, we’re happy to connect with you outside of these meetings too! For details, visit middlebury.coop/learn/our-board, email Board Member Erin Buckwalter at board@middlebury.coop or reach out to any of the other board members.


Spotlight on Butterworks Farm

Butterworks Farm is basking in the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed dairy products are 20% off for member-owners from January 19th – 25th. Read on to learn more about this local farm worked by three generations of the Lazor Family over 46 years to bring you high-quality products with a deep emphasis on regenerative practices that promote soil building, carbon sequestration, water retention, and biodiversity:

Over forty-six years ago, Jack and Anne Lazor came to Westfield, VT fresh out of college with degrees in Agricultural History (Jack) and Anthropology (Anne) and a desire to live “happily ever after as a couple of back-to-the-landers.” By 1979, the couple was selling yogurt, cottage cheese, and raw milk locally to a growing fan base. Over the next several decades, Jack and Anne continued to blaze new trail as leaders in organic farming, laying a firm foundation for the robust local food system whose fruits we’re lucky to enjoy today.

Along the way, Jack managed to find time to teach classes in organic agriculture at the University of Vermont, give frequent inspirational keynote addresses at organic farming conferences, fervently advocate for the adoption of organic practices, particularly within the dairy sector, and write a book called “The Organic Grain Grower” which Mother Earth News dubbed “the best resource we’ve seen for small-scale grain growers everywhere.” Jack was known for being an avid perpetual student as he and Anne exhaustively researched ways to farm with environmental stewardship at the forefront. 

In 2010, Jack was diagnosed with prostate cancer and spent seven years on dialysis for cancer-related kidney failure. Over that period of time, Anne kept Jack and the farm running, serving as Jack’s home dialysis technician and a caring presence for the entire Butterworks team. After a long and courageous fight, Jack lost his battle with cancer in November of 2020. Jack and Anne’s daughter Christine Lazor grew up at Butterworks Farm and now has a family of her own. A deep love for the team, the farm, the animals, the products, and the mountains keep her inspired as she and her family carry on the rich farming traditions that her parents began.

Jack & Anne Lazor


The lucky cows of Butterworks Farm are a herd of very friendly and sometimes precocious Jerseys. Each has her own name and stanchion in the barn during milking. Jerseys were chosen for their ability to produce exceptional milk on a 100% grass-fed diet. High fiber and mineral-rich grasses, legumes, and forages are always available to the cows in the lush, rotationally grazed pastures of summer and the sweet hay in the winter solar barn.

Their farming methods have evolved over the years. For the first forty years, they were grain growers and hay producers. Cereal crops such as oats, wheat, and barley, along with row crops like corn and soy fit neatly into their crop rotations with grasses and legumes. From the straw for the animals’ bedding to the grain the cows ate, everything was grown on the farm. Over the years, as their soil health and fertility increased, the quality of their forages improved until they realized that they could likely reduce the amount of grain that was being fed to the cows. By 2016, they had phased out grains completely and became a 100% grass-fed dairy, rotating the cows on fresh pasture every twelve hours.  


Jack shared in a Butterwork’s Farm blog post that, “our transition to 100% grass-fed is well worth it.  Despite the fact that we will need more land and sharpened management skills to do this, we are very happy to promote more grass and less grain (and subsequently less tillage) on the land that we steward.  More grass means more fibrous root systems in the soil.  Less grain means less tillage and better soil health.  Less tillage means less burning of fossil fuels and less disturbance to the delicate balance of microorganisms in our soils. Our primary goal in farming is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis, lock it up in the Earth’s crust as humus and organic matter.  Higher carbon levels in the soil are the number one weapon that we as humans have to reduce and eliminate the effects of a changing climate.”


Anne and Jack Lazor were awarded NOFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 and were the first organic farmers to be inducted into the Vermont Agriculture Hall of Fame.Jack was also posthumously featured in the Vermont Public Soul of the Soil series in October of 2022, celebrating the ways that Jack boldly changed his practices in an effort to deepen his lifelong commitment to healing the earth through farming. We’re grateful that his family carries on this incredible legacy!


Spotlight on Joe’s Kitchen

Are you craving that feeling of warmth and wellbeing that you get when you sip a cup of nourishing home-cooked soup, simmered low and slow all day on the back burner, but feeling short on time to make it a reality? That’s when we reach for Joe’s Kitchen soup! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight and all of their local made-from-scratch soups are 20% off for Member-Owners from January 12th – 18th! Read on to learn more about Chef-Owner Joe Buley and the inspiration behind his scrumptious line of soups!

Joe Buley’s path to creating Joe’s Kitchen at Screaming Ridge Farm began as a child in his Grandmother’s kitchen in East Randolph, VT. Joe remembers his Gram’s kitchen as a hub for the entire family where a rotating cast of cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends was constantly passing through, and where all were greeted at the door with the smell of the ubiquitous soup pot simmering on a back burner. He describes his Gram’s philosophy on cooking as having an equal regard for flavor and economy, using whatever was at hand to pull together a great-tasting soup. What really made Gram’s soups extra special though, were the quality vegetables and herbs harvested from her garden out back. Joe’s mom continued the tradition and passed it on to Joe with love and skill, spending many memorable hours cooking with him.

Chef-Owner Joe Buley

These early experiences created a strong foundation for Joe’s early career as a restaurant chef and entrepreneur. He trained in France at the prestigious École Supérieure de Cuisine Française in Paris (also known as Ecole Ferrand) where he was the only US citizen in the school. Joe found his way back to the US where he sampled food and life in Brooklyn, San Francisco, San Diego, and Austin before ultimately settling back down in Vermont with his family in 1999. Joe became a chef -instructor at New England Culinary Institute, a role he enjoyed for nearly 10 years.

Meanwhile, he began to dabble in growing his own food, harkening back to those days in his Grandmother’s kitchen where he first experienced the magic that happens when fresh, home-grown ingredients find their way into the soup pot. Screamin’ Ridge Farm started small, with one tiny plastic greenhouse and a walk-behind tractor. Over the next several years, the farm slowly grew into a successful business focused on winter spinach production and a wide variety of summer crops (with 3 large hoop houses and a “real” tractor). The farm sold produce at the Montpelier Farmers Market and into summer and winter CSAs.

Connecting directly with customers at Farmers Markets and through the CSA, Joe saw first-hand his customers’ struggle to find the time and inspiration needed to prepare healthy meals from raw farm products. He saw an opportunity to realize his ambition of both growing ingredients and cooking them into great-tasting prepared foods and Joe’s Kitchen at Screamin’ Ridge Farm was born. 

Joe’s crew hard at work at their production kitchen in Montpelier, VT

For sourcing ingredients that aren’t grown on his own farm, Joe looks to the neighboring small farms surrounding his Montpelier community. His goal is to create flavorful food prepared with integrity and with ingredients from local producers. He hopes that those who enjoy his soups can eat great food while also being active participants in the movement to preserve Vermont’s working landscape. He believes that using super-fresh ingredients from nearby farms gives his soups authentic flavor, eliminating the need to add sugar or excessive amounts of salt. Just great tasting, healthy, nourishing food like his Gram used to make. 

Here at the Co-op, you can find a rotating lineup of Joe’s famous soups showcasing a seasonal array of Vermont-fresh produce. Which one is your favorite?


What’s next for Joe Buley? Well, if you happen to find yourself passing through Montpelier, you must make a stop at Cafe NOA – Joe’s latest labor of love. The new eatery will soon open at 8 Putnam Street (off Barre Street) in Montpelier. Visible from Stone Cutters Way, the newly constructed modern space is situated in a red barn-like building adjacent to the bike path and directly across from Hunger Mountain Co-op. Buley’s new venue, named after his three children: Nikita, Olivia, and Annik, will be a full-service breakfast and lunch cafe with proposed hours from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Offerings will be along the lines of local bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, and breakfast sandwiches, and coffee, tea, and espresso will be served. Other items on the menu will be the soups and chili Joe’s Kitchen is known for, fresh salads, sandwiches, and barbecued meats!

Spotlight on Garden of Life

We’re shining our Co-op Spotlight on Garden of Life! Their entire line of products is 20% off for member-owners from January 5th – 11th, so if your New Year’s resolution involved recalibrating your wellness routine, it’s a great time to give them a try! Read on to learn more about their mission to empower extraordinary health!

The Science of Whole Food

Garden of Life is fanatical about food. This may not be the first thing that typically comes to mind for a company that makes vitamins, probiotics, and protein powders, but Garden of Life is different that way. They recognize that our bodies were created to eat, process, and derive nutrition from food—real, healthy food. So, when they set out to create a line of products, they challenged themselves to consider what “good stuff” present in the highest quality foods are typically missing in our diets. Which of these foods have the greatest potential to impact and empower extraordinary health?

Clean is Healthy

As fanatical as they are about what goes into their products, they are equally diligent about what to keep out of them.  This means no synthetic chemicals, no GMOs, just true, whole, traceable ingredients. If it’s not found in real food, they don’t want it in their supplements. Their philosophy is to slow it down, make it by hand, grow it in rich organic non-GMO soil with enough sun, air, water, and time for it to be its best. Harvest it when ready. Treat it with care. Turn it into a power-packed nutritious food supplement.

The Lebaron Farm in Utah grows, harvests, juices, and dries the greens for the Perfect Food Raw products.


Traceability is key to what makes Garden of Life’s products so special. Traceability starts with knowing where each and every ingredient in their products come from and getting to know each and every source: where it’s grown; the farming practices; how they pay and treat the farm workers—everything. Their mykind Organics line, co-founded with Alicia Silverstone, is made with Organic fruit and herbs—every single product in this line is Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Verified by the Non-GMO Project. 

Fourth-generation family farmers growing organic cranberries in Massachusetts for Garden of Life


There is a great deal of noise in the marketplace today that makes it difficult to find the clean truth. Independent, unbiased, third-party certification and verification provides the best option for that assurance. However, to attain Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified status, every ingredient must be traced back to its origin, which means tracing back to organic crops and family farms and also how and where it’s manufactured. Developing a fully traceable raw material supply chain is a massive, complex undertaking—especially considering some formulas could have over 100 different ingredients!

It’s no easy task, but it’s totally worth it. Garden of Life is committed to producing Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified supplements. They also use unbiased third parties such as Vegan.org, NSF, Kosher, and Informed-Choice whenever possible. Check out the logos below for a full rundown of Garden of Life’s third-party certifications:



Garden of Life is also a Certified B Corps! They are deeply committed to energy-efficient and sustainable practices including LEED Gold Certified facilities, use of renewable energy, recycled bottles, recyclable packaging, and soy-based inks. They are extremely proud to have reached Carbon Neutrality in June of 2021—the first vitamin and supplement brand to be Certified Carbon Neutral. Certified Carbonfree® by CarbonFund.org, Garden of Life has been committed to sustainability since its inception. Click here to read more about the sustainability initiatives at Garden of Life.