In recent years, your Co-op board has been actively grappling with issues of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). This work has been the focus of a JEDI committee, multiple board retreats and training, work with consultants, and now an evaluation of the board’s policies.
The board uses a system called Policy Governance to create the expectations and boundaries that define how the board and General Manager work together and delegate responsibilities. General Manager is empowered by the board to run the Co-op’s daily operations, while the board provides strategic leadership, financial oversight, and accountability for the GM. Our policies are broken into categories: Ends, Executive Limitations, Board Process, and Board-Management Relationship.
The Board Process policies address things like setting meeting agendas, making decisions, budgeting for board expenses, recruiting and training new directors, and running board elections. Over the next year, we’ll be auditing and updating these policies using a JEDI lens to make board operations more clear, inclusive, and equitable.
This is already proving to be a rigorous, non-linear process. We’re learning to resist the idea that there is a “right” way and accept that we’ll need to continually revisit our policies as we learn more. Undertaking this audit is part of the board’s commitment to JEDI as an ongoing practice embedded in everything we do.
If this work is important to you, too, consider running for the board! Applications for this spring’s election are due March 12. This work is ongoing, and being on the board isn’t the only way to add your voice. Member owners are welcome to attend any board meeting or contact any board member to share ideas, questions, or concerns. We invite your input! Do you think the Co-op should incorporate justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into our Ends—our reasons for existing? You can reach us at email@example.com.
Ollie Cultrara is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member
Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Klinger’s Bread Company! From March 2nd – 8th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of local fresh-baked artisan bread! Read on to learn more about this Burlington-based bakery and their time-honored baking traditions:
Rustic, Healthy, Hearty, Crusty, Chewy, Flavorful…
Just a few words overheard to describe the artisan breads of Klinger’s. Their hearth-baked breads were proudly brought to Vermont in 1993 by the Klingebiel families of Williston, Vermont and Salem, New York.
These flavorful, authentic European breads were developed by one of America’s premier artisan bakers. Their bakers have been thoroughly trained in the methods and subtleties of bread baking. The breads are made from starters which are allowed to develop over a thirty-hour period. Visit the bakery and watch their bread crafters at work. Amidst floured tables, you will see them mix the finest ingredients, hand shape loaves, and bake them with care in their French brick oven.
Klinger’s is proud to bring you the rustic, homemade taste of their signature artisan breads. Their goal is to produce breads with character and integrity, to make your mouth water with the aroma of loaves fresh from the oven, and to share the products of their labor with you again and again.
Looking for healthy snacks to fuel your adventures? We invite you to check out Navitas Organics! They’re basking in the glow of our Member Deals Spotlight from February 23rd – March 1st and all of their organic superfoods are 20% for member-owners! Read on to learn more about Navitas and their commitment to being a force for positive change:
Navitas (Nuh-vee-tus) is Latin for ‘energy’ and their super-nutritious organic superfoods aim to give you the energy you need to live each day to the fullest. What’s more, they work hard to power the positive in all they do: from the careful ways in which they source their products to the work they do to contribute to the greater good. They choose to work with small farmers who use sustainable organic farming methods to grow their superfoods. They operate with a focus on leaving the lightest footprint on the earth as possible. They also contribute to healthy causes by supporting nonprofit initiatives like A Growing Culture.
The Navitas story began during a carefree time where two loyal music fans toured the country in search of adventure and community. Although unacquainted during those years, they would evolve to adopt the true ethos of this lifestyle, embracing everything from the gritty, entrepreneurial spirit to a steadfast appreciation for organic, plant-based foods. Years later, founders Zach and Meghan Adelman would marry, bringing with them the ideals cultivated through their experience with a hopeful vision for the future that placed health and wellness at the very core of their value system. In 2003, the Navitas brand was born as a result of that unique history, longstanding friendships and a shared penchant for wanderlust to exotic regions around the world. Curiosity about ancient cultures and traditional foods led to a special collaboration with a small farmer cooperative in Peru and the discovery of the wondrous health benefits of Maca.
Through this relationship, founder Zach Adelman was introduced to a variety of additional health-enhancing foods that have been sustainably cultivated and consumed around the world for centuries, known to enhance longevity and well-being. This new knowledge sparked an unwavering determination to bring these ancient treasures to North America and integrate them into our modern lifestyle. Navitas is an organic industry leader and has stayed true to its commitment to the discovery of ancient, indigenous foods, vowing to support causes that help reduce environmental burden through ethical agricultural practices.
Navitas Organics is dedicated to the idea that success isn’t just about profits and promotions. Along with 1,800 leading businesses from 130 industries across the world, they have earned B Corporation certification. Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Together, Certified B Corporations lead a growing, worldwide movement of people using business as a force for good.
At the core of their business are the principles they hold true, which are evident in the diverse, playful community atmosphere at Navitas. They are a hardworking, creative, and open-minded group resulting in a company culture that is defined through a collaborative team management approach. Their dedicated employees possess the commitment and determination to help fuel the health-conscious movement sharing in a passion for mindful living, at the heart of which is a robust, nutrient-dense diet. They embrace a culturally diverse team, strive to promote from within and provide mentoring and support to each individual to reach their own true potential. They work hard and play hard, and believe that without a hearty amount of laughter and humor, no amount of success is worthwhile. Through the spirit of generosity, they are committed to developing the finest products in the industry, advocate for the principles they stand for and provide superior service to their valued customers.
We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Cabot Creamery this week to shed a little light on this 102-year-old cooperative creamery, established at a time when cows outnumbered people in Vermont. Cabot’s full line of dairy products is 20% for member-owners from February 16th – 22nd! 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 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 their farm families. In the Middlebury facility, they installed a huge new piece of machinery that allows them to process 4,000 more pounds of cheese curd per hour than the 8,000 pounds the previous machine handled. This 22-ton piece of equipment known as the CheeseMaster will increase the 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 leftover 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, over 100 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:
Looking for a sweet treat to share with your Valentine or palentine? How about something from Krin’s Bakery?! We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Krin’s Bakery from February 9th – 15 and member-owners can enjoy 20% off Krin’s full line of local confections! Read on to learn more about this wonderful woman-owned bakery nestled in the mountains of Huntington, VT.
Krin’s Bakery is the home of artisan baker Krin Barberi. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, then exploring and working for others, Krin opened her own bakery in 2005. Krin’s Bakery makes delicious cookies, cupcakes, and other treats using time-honored recipes and simple, fresh ingredients. Whether in a lunchbox, enjoyed over coffee, or served at a special occasion, Krin’s baked goods celebrate her twin passions for baking and for building community.
Krin’s bakes the treats you love and remember—chocolate cupcakes with a thick frosting; chewy cookies in classic flavors and festive shapes; classic Italian biscotti and moist chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, all baked in their small Huntington, Vermont bakery by a dedicated crew of skilled bakers, using thoughtfully-sourced ingredients from neighboring farms, orchards, and businesses. Their treats are available in local grocery stores and co-ops throughout central and Northern Vermont, and if you’re not lucky enough to live in VT, they ship!
Krin is a passionate local foods activist supporting the cause by working with local distributors, markets, producers, and farmers. She takes her inspiration from her rural New England family’s tradition of supporting and participating in the life of her community. She believes that where our food comes from is important and takes pride in using local Vermont ingredients whenever possible.
It is from this deep sense of community and place that Krin continues to bake love and care into each and every treat.
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.
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 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!
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!
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.
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.
As a Co-op shopper, you likely pay close attention to the ingredients in the foods you choose to feed yourself and your family. Reading food product labels has likely become a common part of your shopping experience. But how many of us pay this much attention to the ingredients in the products we put on our bodies? The fact is, much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into our bodies, making it equally important that we become ingredient detectives when choosing personal care products. That’s why we love shedding some light on Middlebury’s own Texture Salon. They’re our featured Co-op Connection Business this month and we’re reminding member-owners that Texture Salon offers 10% off your first visit, whether you’re looking for products or services!
So, what sets Texture Salon apart?
Take it from salon owner, David Warner Jr.:
Since 2001 we have been committed to offering a new kind of salon experience where skin and hair care services are free of toxic ingredients (such as parabens, sodium laurel sulfates, talc, ammonia, formaldehyde, and other toxic agents), ethically- produced/ tested, sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Offering ammonia-free hair color (Chi and Organic colour systems), Karma Organic nail color, Deva Curl, Onesta, Soma, and a full line of Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, at Texture Salon, we aim to provide a truly healthier, superior salon experience. Delicately synthesizing old and new technologies, we use localized air-purification systems, rock salt lamps, utilize state of the color guru Beth Manardi Lighting, and natural plant power to enhance the breathing environment for our clients and staff, and restricting cell phone calls to maintain a serene and comfortable space for all. We support recycling and alternative energy — we have 35 solar panels providing us with power!– and strongly oppose the use of animal-based products and testing.
Supporting our community is important to us. We host two Jane Iredale mineral cosmetics events each year to bring like-minded people together to mingle, share new tips and laugh. We also support local charities such as The United Way.
Whether its hair-coloring, highlights, or skin care, Texture Salon shows how caring for its clients can go hand-in-hand with caring for our environment.
David Warner, Jr. – Excited to begin his career, David graduated from O’Briens School of Cosmetology Class of 1994. His passion for hair color and cutting was quickly challenged when he discovered that he was allergic to many of the products used in mainstream beauty salons. Determined to stay in the field he loved, David opened Texture Salon in 2001. Using ammonia-free, organic, natural products and embracing local, small businesses, he has a special interest in investigating new, alternative hair products. David has studied with Farouk Systems for salons and trade shows and enjoys keeping up to date with hair shows and in-salon classes. “It’s important never to forget why I entered the beauty industry. To have a real connection with my client and make them feel good about themselves.” David has a special passion for corrective hair coloring and curly hair, as well as being certified in Chi Transformation straightening, he has attended the Deva Curl Academy in NYC. When he’s not making clients feel beautiful, he enjoys history documentaries, the peace and quiet of nature, working on his home improvements and traveling with his husband and their retired greyhound “Bruno”.
JoAnna Carter is a native Vermonter and loves living here. She graduated from Salon Professional Academy in 2009 and has enjoyed her last 8 years as a stylist. JoAnna prides herself on custom cuts for men and women as well as the entire family, including small children. Never one to shy away from color, she is well versed in Texture’s full line of Chi and Organic Colors.