B-corp

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. 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 this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% off for member-owners from November 29th – December 4th! We think they make great stocking stuffers!  Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise:

high-res-logo-for-print

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 80 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.

Team of Friendly Badgers

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. In June of 2018, Badger was named ‘Best For the World’ and ‘Best for the Environment’ by the folks at B Corp, recognizing their efforts to create a positive impact for workers, environment, and community.

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Family-Focused Employee Programs

Badger was awarded the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for its accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. 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 vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free Organic Lunch For Badger Staff

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.

 

Take a Virtual Tour with Badger Bill:

 

A Tour of Badger from Badger Balm on Vimeo.

Spotlight on Lotus Foods

Happy non-GMO month! We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Lotus Foods this week to bring awareness to their grassroots rice revolution that is helping to bring sustainably grown, fairly traded, organic, and non-GMO rice to your dinner table! All of their products are 20% off for member-owners from October 10th – 16th. Read on to learn more about the groundbreaking agricultural practices that are making this possible and the impact that it’s having in rice-growing regions of the world:

lotus-foods-logo

Lotus Foods was founded in 1995 with the intent and vision to support sustainable global agriculture by promoting the production of traditional heirloom rice varieties, many of which may otherwise be extinct, while enabling the small family rice farmer to earn an honorable living. They learned that up to one-third of the planet’s annual renewable supply of freshwater is used to irrigate rice and recognized that this practice is not sustainable. These wasteful agricultural methods are depleting our water resources faster than they are being recharged, creating water scarcity. For this reason, in 2008, Lotus Foods committed to partnering with small-scale farmers who radically changed how they grow rice, using less to produce more.

Lotus Foods feels strongly that sustainability is premised on an ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, and a culture of peace. They believe that eradicating poverty and promoting social and economic justice must begin with agriculture and must be accomplished in a way that protects and restores the natural resources on which all life depends. At the crux of this challenge is rice, which provides a source of living to more than two billion people, most earning less than $200 per year.

do-the-rice-thing-logo

A Grassroots Rice Revolution

More Crop Per Drop is how Lotus Foods refers to their rice grown using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI is a not a new seed or input, but rather a different way of cultivating rice that enables small-scale farmers to double and triple their yields while using 80-90% less seed, 50% less water, and less or no chemical inputs. That’s revolutionary!

Why is SRI so Important?

This unique agricultural method addresses some of the most important challenges we face this century – namely to feed several billion more people with dwindling land and water resources and without further degrading the planet’s environment. SRI has been largely grassroots-driven, fueled by marginalized male & female farmers and the non-profit organizations (NGOs) who advocate for their welfare, like Oxfam, Africare, WWF and many dedicated local NGOs and individuals. The reason these farmers are so excited about SRI is that it represents an opportunity for more food, more money, better health, and more options – in short, for a way out of poverty.

Lotus Foods sees SRI as a logical extension of its mission. They offer exceptional SRI-grown rice varieties and call them More Crop Per Drop to bring to special attention to water as a diminishing resource. Fully one-quarter to one-third of the planet’s annual freshwater supplies are used to irrigate and grow the global rice crop. And in Asia, where most rice is grown and eaten, about 84% of water withdrawal is for agriculture, mostly for irrigating rice. Water scarcity is having an increasingly significant impact on agriculture. According to the WWF, “The SRI method for growing rice could save hundreds of billions of cubic meters of water while increasing food security.”  Check out this cool video from the Better U Foundation to learn more about SRI:

What about Organic Certification, Fair Trade Certification & Non-GMO Verification?

Most of their rice varieties are already certified organic, while others are in the process of becoming certified, and still, others are working to help develop a certifying program in their country of origin. These organic and transitional rices are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or ionizing radiation. Their rices are 100% fair-trade certified and non-GMO verified. Lotus Foods has also been B-Corp certified since February of 2012. B corporations are legally obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and their environment. Lotus Foods shares the conviction that we can change the world for the better with how we choose to do business.

At the Co-op, you’ll find several varieties of Lotus Foods rice in our bulk department, and in the grocery department, you’ll find their packaged rice and also their delicious Rice Ramen and Pad Thai noodles. Visit their website for excellent tips and recipes!

Cambodian More Crop Per Drop™ farmer

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. 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 program this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% for member-owners from November 23rd – 28th! Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise!

high-res-logo-for-print

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 80 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.

Team of Friendly Badgers

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. In June of 2018, Badger was named ‘Best For the World’ and ‘Best for the Environment’ by the folks at B Corp, recognizing their efforts to create a positive impact for workers, environment, and community.

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Family-Focused Employee Programs

Badger was awarded the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for their accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. 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 an 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 vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free Organic Lunch For Badger Staff

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.

 

Take a Virtual Tour with Badger Bill:

 

A Tour of Badger from Badger Balm on Vimeo.

Spotlight on Lotus Foods

Happy non-GMO month! We’re casting our Co-op spotlight on Lotus Foods this week to bring awareness to their grassroots rice revolution that is helping to bring sustainably grown, fairly traded, organic, and non-GMO rice to your dinner table! All of their products are 20% off for member-owners from October 11th – 17th. Read on to learn more about the groundbreaking agricultural practices that are making this possible and the impact that it’s having in rice-growing regions of the world:

lotus-foods-logo

Lotus Foods was founded in 1995 with the intent and vision to support sustainable global agriculture by promoting the production of traditional heirloom rice varieties, many of which may otherwise be extinct, while enabling the small family rice farmer to earn an honorable living. They learned that up to one-third of the planet’s annual renewable supply of fresh water is used to irrigate rice and recognized that this practice is not sustainable. These wasteful agricultural methods are depleting our water resources faster than they are being recharged, creating water scarcity. For this reason, in 2008, Lotus Foods committed to partnering with small-scale farmers who radically changed how they grow rice, using less to produce more.

Lotus Foods feels strongly that sustainability is premised on an ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, and a culture of peace. They believe that eradicating poverty and promoting social and economic justice must begin with agriculture and must be accomplished in a way that protects and restores the natural resources on which all life depends. At the crux of this challenge is rice, which provides a source of living to more than two billion people, most earning less than $200 per year.

do-the-rice-thing-logo

A Grassroots Rice Revolution

More Crop Per Drop is how Lotus Foods refers to their rice grown using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI is a not a new seed or input, but rather a different way of cultivating rice that enables small-scale farmers to double and triple their yields while using 80-90% less seed, 50% less water, and less or no chemical inputs. That’s revolutionary!

Why is SRI so Important?

This unique agricultural method addresses some of the most important challenges we face this century – namely to feed several billion more people with dwindling land and water resources and without further degrading the planet’s environment. SRI has been largely grassroots-driven, fueled by marginalized male & female farmers and the non-profit organizations (NGOs) who advocate for their welfare, like Oxfam, Africare, WWF and many dedicated local NGOs and individuals. The reason these farmers are so excited about SRI is that it represents an opportunity for more food, more money, better health, and more options – in short, for a way out of poverty.

Lotus Foods sees SRI as a logical extension of their mission. They offer six exceptional SRI-grown rice varieties, and call them More Crop Per Drop to bring to special attention to water as a diminishing resource. Fully one-quarter to one-third of the planet’s annual freshwater supplies are used to irrigate and grow the global rice crop. And in Asia, where most rice is grown and eaten, about 84% of water withdrawal is for agriculture, mostly for irrigating rice. Water scarcity is having an increasingly significant impact on agriculture. According to the WWF, “The SRI method for growing rice could save hundreds of billions of cubic meters of water while increasing food security.”  Check out this cool video from the Better U Foundation to learn more about SRI:

What about Organic Certification, Fair Trade Certification & Non-GMO Verification?

Most of their rice varieties are already certified organic, while others are in the process of becoming certified, and still others are working to help develop a certifying program in their country of origin. These organic and transitional rices are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or ionizing radiation. Their rices are 100% fair-trade certified and non-GMO verified. Lotus Foods has also been B-Corp certified since February of 2012. B corporations are legally obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and their environment. Lotus Foods shares the conviction that we can change the world for the better with how we choose to do business.

At the Co-op, you’ll find several varieties of Lotus Foods rice in our bulk department, and in the grocery department, you’ll find their packaged rice and also their delicious rice ramen noodles. Visit their website for excellent tips and recipes!

 

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. 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 responsible, environmentally responsible, people-first kind of business. They are featured in our Member Deals program this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% for member-owners from November 25th – 29th! Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise!

high-res-logo-for-print

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. The company has since grown to over 100 products and 60 employees but “Badger Bill” still runs the show as CEO, along with his wife Katie (COO), and their two daughters Emily (VP Sales & Marketing), and Rebecca (VP of Innovation and Sustainability).

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

In 2011, Badger became a certified B Corp. In 2015 they were recognized by the B Corp Best for the Environment list.  The list recognizes 116 businesses that earned an environmental score in the top 10% of more than 1,200 Certified B Corporations from over 120 industries on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment.

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger facility & gardens

Employee Care

Badger also recently won the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for their accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. They aim to be supportive of the new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. With this in mind, their Babies At Work program brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. Most short-term disability benefits regarding pregnancies end after just six weeks, leaving the parent to find childcare as he or she returns to the workplace. Badger’s policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until a specified time: in most cases until the baby is six months old or begins crawling.

The Whole Badger Crew

This program makes breastfeeding easier and allows for the inherent health benefits for both mother and child: enhanced bonding, lessening of daycare costs and more financial stability, great social network and extended-family support for both parent and child, and an easier transition to off-site child care. Once children are ready for off-site care, they have the option of attending the Calendula Garden Children’s Center.  This option offers reasonably-priced, high quality, flexible childcare for children of Badger employees, as well as a limited number of children from the greater community. The center itself is located in the renovated house that was the former home to the Badger Company, a quarter of a mile down the road from the company’s current facility. 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 vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free organic lunch!

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.

 

Check out this short video to hear from Badger Bill about the values that make his company unique:

 

Spotlight on Lotus Foods

We’re casting our Co-op spotlight on Lotus Foods this week to bring awareness to their grassroots rice revolution that is helping to bring sustainably grown, organic, and non-GMO rice to your dinner table! All of their products are 20% off for member-owners from October 19th – 25th. Read on to learn more about the groundbreaking agricultural practices that are making this possible and the impact that it’s having in rice-growing regions of the world:

lotus-foods-logo

Lotus Foods was founded in 1995 with the intent and vision to support sustainable global agriculture by promoting the production of traditional heirloom rice varieties, many of which may otherwise be extinct, while enabling the small family rice farmer to earn an honorable living. They learned that up to one-third of the planet’s annual renewable supply of fresh water is used to irrigate rice and recognized that this practice is not sustainable. These wasteful agricultural methods are depleting our water resources faster than they are being recharged, creating water scarcity. For this reason, in 2008, Lotus Foods committed to partnering with small-scale farmers who radically changed how they grow rice, using less to produce more.

Lotus Foods feels strongly that sustainability is premised on an ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, and a culture of peace. They believe that eradicating poverty and promoting social and economic justice must begin with agriculture and must be accomplished in a way that protects and restores the natural resources on which all life depends. At the crux of this challenge is rice, which provides a source of living to more than two billion people, most earning less than $200 per year.

do-the-rice-thing-logo

A Grassroots Rice Revolution

More Crop Per Drop is how Lotus Foods refers to their rice grown using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI is a not a new seed or input, but rather a different way of cultivating rice that enables small-scale farmers to double and triple their yields while using 80-90% less seed, 50% less water, and less or no chemical inputs. That’s revolutionary!

Why is SRI so Important?

This unique agricultural method addresses some of the most important challenges we face this century – namely to feed several billion more people with dwindling land and water resources and without further degrading the planet’s environment. SRI has been largely grassroots-driven, fueled by marginalized male & female farmers and the non-profit organizations (NGOs) who advocate for their welfare, like Oxfam, Africare, WWF and many dedicated local NGOs and individuals. The reason these farmers are so excited about SRI is that it represents an opportunity for more food, more money, better health, and more options – in short, for a way out of poverty.

Lotus Foods sees SRI as a logical extension of their mission. They offer six exceptional SRI-grown rice varieties, and call them More Crop Per Drop to bring to special attention to water as a diminishing resource. Fully one-quarter to one-third of the planet’s annual freshwater supplies are used to irrigate and grow the global rice crop. And in Asia, where most rice is grown and eaten, about 84% of water withdrawal is for agriculture, mostly for irrigating rice. Water scarcity is having an increasingly significant impact on agriculture. According to the WWF, “The SRI method for growing rice could save hundreds of billions of cubic meters of water while increasing food security.”  Check out this cool video from the Better U Foundation to learn more about SRI:

What about Organic Certification, Fair Trade Certification & Non-GMO Verification?

Most of their rice varieties are already certified organic, while others are in the process of becoming certified, and still others are working to help develop a certifying program in their country of origin. These organic and transitional rices are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or ionizing radiation. Their rices are 100% fair-trade certified and non-GMO verified. Lotus Foods has also been B-Corp certified since February of 2012. B corporations are legally obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and their environment. Lotus Foods shares the conviction that we can change the world for the better with how we choose to do business.

At the Co-op, you’ll find several varieties of Lotus Foods rice in our bulk department, and in the grocery department, you’ll find their packaged rice and also their delicious rice ramen noodles. Visit their website for excellent tips and recipes!

 

Spotlight on Vermont Creamery

In celebration of Dairy Month, we’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Vermont Creamery this week and offering member-owners a 20% discount on their full line of delicious dairy products from June 8th – 14th. They’ve got some big news to share with the community, and perhaps you’ve already heard about it, but we wanted to share the full scoop from one of their founders, Allison Hooper. Below you will find Allison’s post from their creamery blog:

With Gratitude for a Bright Future

On March 19th, Bob and I announced to our employees that we are selling our company to Land O’Lakes, the successful farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in Arden Hills, MN. After several years of searching for the right partner, we are thrilled to share this news. We are filled with a myriad of emotions: Delight that we have found a great partner. Elation that our baby Vermont Creamery is a great catch and a good fit for America’s iconic butter-maker. Nostalgia for those naïve twenty-something-year-olds starting an improbable enterprise. Energized to slow down and be present for our families. Relief that we’re leaving behind the stress of owning a business that isn’t so little anymore. Excitement that the future for Vermont Creamery and our team is bright and filled with opportunity.

Why sell now?

Bob and I are entrepreneurs. 34 years ago, back in 1984, we saw something in the future that others didn’t see. We asked: ”Why not make and sell hand-made cheeses from cows and goats milk?” We were undaunted and refreshingly optimistic. In our twenties, the risk seemed minimal as we cobbled together our $2,400 investment to make cheese in an outbuilding on a goat farm. Bob’s penchant for numbers and my intuition that Americans might eat goat cheese and crème fraiche (if they were really hungry!) fueled our passion and drive to succeed. Over the course of 34 years, we developed some scrumptious cheeses and enough customers to flourish as a business. We had just enough grit to clear the big hurdles of making a tasty cheese, keeping cash in the bank and earning a commendable trusting reputation with our customers. Who knew that this little company and America’s appetite for artisanal cheese would blossom as it has?

Today, we have a thriving and promising enterprise. Vermont Creamery cheeses and butters are sold in every state. Daily, we manage ten distinct cheesemaking technologies. Between the creamery and the farm, we employ over 105 people. We buy milk from 14 Vermont producers, 4 in Quebec and 12 in Ontario. We have accomplished a whole lot more than what we set out to do. Here is what makes Bob and I really proud:

  • We make amazing chèvres, crème fraîche, mascarpone, cultured butters, and geotricum rinded goats’ and cows’ milk cheeses;
  • We’ve stimulated a company culture that embraces transparent open-book management and rewards innovation;
  • Through solar energy investments on our dairy barn and improvements at the Creamery, we are hacking away at our carbon footprint;
  • Our B Corp certification requires commitment to higher environmental goals, less waste, and more sharing of our surpluses;
  • Through initiatives like the Vermont Cheese Festival and Cheese Council, we collaboratively lift all boats;
  • By building what we hope will become a model, transparent, environmentally conscious and sustainable goat dairy, we connect our working landscape to the good food we serve up;
  • Bob and I built a business partnership that has endured three decades of mistakes, triumphs, raising thoughtful children, and creating solid financial results;
  • We’ve personally mentored the next generation of Vermont Creamery; boy is their future bright!

Bob and I have had a good run and we know it is time for us to turn over the reigns to a team of terrific managers who have the skills to build upon what we have created. We have been intentional in hiring and developing talent at Vermont Creamery. We have already transitioned our day-to-day management to Adeline Druart, our 14- year French “intern” who came to America to learn to speak English. We promoted her to President nearly 2 years ago. Our leadership team is ready and eager for the opportunities of transition. They have a plan and a clear vision on where they will take Vermont Creamery. Equipped with the resources and expertise of Land O’Lakes, there is nothing they cannot achieve.

Bob and I do not plan to leave Vermont Creamery just yet. We will continue to attend industry events and speak on behalf of the Creamery. We have an inspiring story and love telling it. We will advise the management team through the transition. Most importantly, we will carve out the time to be students of life beyond cheese. There is a lot we’ve yet to explore and our spouses couldn’t be more excited for us to re-join them in the civilian world. Bob and I are both grandparents now, we are eager to spend more of our days at home in Vermont and less of them in distant airports promoting the cheese business.

Our work with cheese is not done. The Hooper Family will retain Ayers Brook Goat Dairy as it shoulders its way to sustainability. Our family is eager to help Miles and Daryll (Allison’s son and daughter-in-law) succeed on the farm. The Hoopers will call on Bob often for his financial counsel. We know that Vermont Creamery customers will still delight in visiting the farm. We look forward to seeing you there. Rolling up our sleeves to connect farmers with land and goats to milk is unfinished Vermont business that needs our attention.

Why Land O’Lakes?

We examined many options for fit and funding the future of Vermont Creamery. Land O’Lakes came with unprecedented enthusiasm. As the iconic company that made the butter which was in my family fridge growing up, Land O’Lakes has the know-how and resources to help Vermont Creamery realize our vision. For Land O’Lakes, they simply love what we do, our products, our leadership team, and our brand promise. And we are thrilled by Land O’Lakes’ desire to take our improbably successful family business to the next level.

Vermonters and our customers all around may feel a sense of uneasiness when a local brand sells to a larger company. We appreciate that sentiment and how this exceptional Vermont community has cheered for and supported us. We trade on the beauty of our landscape, the thoughtfulness of our Vermont practicality, our varied agriculture, and championing of humane causes. Land O’Lakes recognizes these values, shares them deeply and plans to invest significantly in the Creamery in Websterville, Vermont. The management team and all employees have been asked to stay on. Increased wages and improved benefits are scheduled and we intend to hire more production workers.

Land O’Lakes is dedicated to developing a local supply of goats’ milk. About 20 years ago, Bob and I each took short consulting stints to work for Land O’Lakes’ International Division. Our contracts brought cheesemaking, marketing, and business expertise to Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the West Bank and Bulgaria. We are familiar with Land O’Lakes’ values and effectiveness; they understand the sensitivity required in meeting a community where it is and finding synergy to realize a common vision. Bob and I were pleased to be sought out by the Land O’Lakes International Division then and look forward to similar opportunities for Vermont Creamery staff seeking this kind of growth experience.

With Gratitude.

Of all the emotions we’re feeling, gratitude is tops. We are grateful for the friends, fulfillment, and independence that our careers in cheese and farming have bestowed. We are grateful for the customers, new and old, who invigorated our drive to be the best. We are grateful for our conscientious employees who have made this business feel like family. We are grateful for raising six children (three sons each) in a family business that started from scratch. They know about hard work, their privilege, and responsibility to make the world better. We are grateful for our loving spouses, Don and Sandy, who have coached and supported us through this transition. We are grateful, that the future for the business and community we have built has never looked brighter.

B the Change!

January is B-Corps month, and we’re excited to help spread the word about this global movement of people using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems!

So, what is B Corps?

B Corps is all about people using business as a force for good. You might say that B Corps is to sustainable business what LEED certification is to green building. To earn a B Corps certification, companies must pass a rigorous review by the non-profit B Lab, which verifies that a company is meeting the most rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Over 2,000 companies in 50 countries have been certified thus far, and all company ratings and impact reports can be found at bcorporation.net

Does the Co-op Sell B Corps Products?

Yes, we do! Many of your favorite brands at the Co-op are sporting B Corps Certifications. Just look for the B Corps logo!

Here are just a few of the many B Corps Certified brands that you can find at the Co-op:

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. 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 responsible, environmentally responsible, people-first kind of business. They are featured in our Member Deals program this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% for member-owners! Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise!

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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. The company has since grown to over 100 products and 60 employees but “Badger Bill” still runs the show as CEO, along with his wife Katie (COO), and their two daughters Emily (VP Sales & Marketing), and Rebecca (VP of Innovation and Sustainability).

Badger Family
Badger 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

In 2011, Badger became a certified B Corp. In 2015 they were recognized on the B Corps Best for the Environment list.  The list recognizes 116 businesses that earned an environmental score in the top 10% of more than 1,200 Certified B Corporations from over 120 industries on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment.

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger facility & gardens

Employee Care

Badger also recently won the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for their accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. They aim to be supportive of the new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. With this in mind, their Babies At Work program brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. Most short-term disability benefits regarding pregnancies end after just six weeks, leaving the parent to find childcare as he or she returns to the workplace. Badger’s policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until a specified time: in most cases until the baby is six months old or begins crawling.

Badger Mamas & Badger Babies
Badger Mamas & Badger Babies

This program makes breastfeeding easier and allows for the inherent health benefits for both mother and child: enhanced bonding, lessening of daycare costs and more financial stability, great social network and extended-family support for both parent and child, and an easier transition to off-site child care. Once children are ready for off-site care, they have the option of attending the Calendula Garden Children’s Center.  This option offers reasonably-priced, high quality, flexible childcare for children of Badger employees, as well as a limited number of children from the greater community. The center itself is located in the renovated house that was the former home to the Badger Company, a quarter of a mile down the road from the company’s current facility. 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 vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free organic lunch!

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.

 

Check out this short video to hear from Badger Bill about the values that make his company unique:

 

Spotlight on Vermont Smoke & Cure

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Vermont Smoke & Cure this week to shed a little light on their recent qualification for B Corps certification. This designation is granted to companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  Vermont Smoke & Cure received the certification thanks to their sustainable and socially conscious business practices such as sourcing meats raised humanely and without the use of antibiotics, using ingredients from local farms, offering commercial meat processing services to family-scale farmers, and utilizing solar power. The company also fosters an ownership culture by granting employee stock options to each of its employees. Their full line of smoked and cured meat products are 20% off for member-owners this week, so it’s a perfect time to stock up and save! Read on to learn about their rich history and commitment to small batch meats proudly made in Vermont:

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At Vermont Smoke & Cure, we’ve been consciously crafting delicious smoked meats and meat snacks since 1962. We use humanely raised meats whenever possible, and simple local ingredients like Vermont maple syrup and apple cider, combined with the highest quality spices and herbs. Our flavors grew from the heritage of our founder, Roland LeFebvre, who started the smokehouse as “Roland’s” in South Barre, Vermont. At that time, South Barre was a small town made up of many recent immigrants drawn by the granite quarrying and carving industry. Roland based his now-famous recipes on traditional methods and ingredients. After all, the sausages had to pass muster for the large Italian population in Barre, who had come to work in the granite industry.

Founder Roland LeFebvre

For the next 50 years, we operated in a farmhouse and then in the back of a gas station, until April of 2012 when we moved 50 miles to Hinesburg, Vermont, renovating a portion of a former cheesemaking facility into a world-class smokehouse. While we still use many of the same methods and recipes, Chris Bailey, our CEO, is expanding on Roland’s vision by sharing Vermont values with a larger market.

Chris has the same driving passion that inspired Roland over 50 years ago: to create great tasting meats that make customers smile. Chris is a former professional cyclist and farmer and loves to cook. He has a deep reverence for our land and an intricate understanding of our food industry. A former vegetarian turned conscious meat-eater, Chris is committed to making livestock farming more humane and sustainable while making the food we eat more healthy and delicious.

At Vermont Smoke & Cure, we believe you should feel good about where your meat comes from. We buy all of the certified humanely raised meats we can, and we have transparent sourcing for all of our meats. Along with our customers, we’re helping the meat industry move to a future that is humane, transparent and environmentally friendly.

  • We proudly use Vermont maple syrup and apple cider in the brines for our bacon and ham.
  • We primarily smoke using ground corn cobs and maple wood shavings, traditional smoke sources here in Vermont. We never use liquid or artificial smoke flavor.
  • We use whole muscle hams and carefully hand place each piece into its netting to ensure the best quality in every bite.
  • Our team of employee-owners creates everything in our Smokehouse right here in the hills of Vermont We hand trim all of our meats and we grind our meats on-site.
  • Our uncured items use natural preservatives to ensure food safety.
  • In our Sticks and Summer Sausage, instead of just adding acids, we ferment to lower pH the old-school way for the best flavor.
  • Our products are gluten-free and contain no MSG
  • More than 50% of the electricity we use is from solar – all generated within 60 miles.
  • We use high-efficiency smokers that reduce our energy requirements by more than 10%.

Our work in Hinesburg, VT has earned us a fine reputation that we aim to uphold. Thank you for being part of our history and for supporting local & sustainable meat!

meat sticks

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