co-op business model

Celebrating International Co-ops Day

On Saturday, July 4th, your co-op will be joining co-operatives and credit unions around the world in celebrating International Co-ops Day.  This year’s theme, Co-ops for Climate Action, highlights the role of co-operatives in building a more just and green future for everyone.

“Our common home is in danger,” said Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).  We must act now, with our values and principles, to demonstrate on a global scale that it is possible to develop an economy with social inclusion and protection of natural resources.”

International Co-ops Day has been celebrated annually since 1923, and the theme this year was chosen to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Action.  The event will focus on the contribution of co-operatives to combating climate change, one of the most severe challenges facing our planet during the 21st century, as we build a more inclusive economy and society. 

“Across our region, food co-ops have been leaders in building a more sustainable food system,” said Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA).  “And with climate change and economic inequality as urgent challenges, food co-ops are taking the lead in working for climate justice, working together to ensure a more healthy, just, and sustainable future for everyone.”

For example, the UN Food & Agriculture Organization has pointed to organic agriculture as a tool for reducing energy consumption and the negative effects of energy emissions, sequestering carbon in the soil, and increasing the resilience of family farms.  Food co-ops were pioneers in helping to build the market for organic foods and continue to demonstrate this commitment.  Last year, member co-ops of the NFCA sold an estimated $97 million in organic products, supporting human health, sustainable agriculture, and a more resilient food system.

As our communities around the world work to rebuild in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, co-ops offer an opportunity to envision a more inclusive economy.  As part of Co-ops Day celebrations, food co-ops across the Northeast are using this important opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to working together to address climate change and achieve a fair, green, and just future for all.

Celebrated internationally on the first Saturday in July, Co-ops Day in the United States coincides with Independence Day, offering a unique opportunity to focus on the democratic values of the co-operative business model. Based on the principle of one member one vote, co-ops reflect American ideals of democracy, self-help, self-responsibility, and social responsibility. And because co-operatives are focused on meeting member needs rather than maximizing profit, they are focused on goals identified by their members, including social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

For more information, please visit https://nfca.coop/co-opsday/. and https://www.ica.coop/en/2020-international-day-cooperatives

Celebrating International Co-ops Day

On Saturday, July 7th, we will join co-ops around the world in celebrating International Co-ops Day, joining the United Nations (UN) and the International Co-operative Alliance in a commemoration held annually since 1923.  This year, at a time of dramatic change in our climate and local economies, co-ops and credit unions are highlighting how their businesses offer a solution by contributing to more sustainable local communities.

“Co-ops Day is an opportunity for co-ops and their members to celebrate how we contribute locally and globally to address climate change and economic instability,” said Bonnie Hudspeth, Member Programs Manager of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), a federation of more than 35 food co-ops across the Northeast, locally owned by more than 130,000 people from all walks of life. “When community needs are not being met — whether it’s for things like healthy food, credit, jobs, or insurance — co-ops offer a way for people to work together to make the world a better place.”

The theme of sustainability builds on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which seeks to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change over the next fifteen years. As democratic, community-based businesses, co-ops have a unique role to play in these efforts.

Here in our region, food co-ops have been at the forefront of efforts to build more resilient and inclusive local economies. And over the past few years, NFCA member co-ops have been working together to share strategies for sustainability. One way that our Co-op is working to contribute to a more sustainable local community was through our recent expansion project. This project allowed us to make many physical improvements to our building envelope and upgrades to our equipment resulting in significant increases in our energy efficiency. Additionally, our larger store has allowed us to serve more community members (membership recently crossed the 5,000 household mark!), support more local farmers and producers, and provide more quality jobs for community members.

Observed internationally on the first Saturday in July, Co-ops Day often coincides with Independence Day celebrations here in the United States. Based on the principle of one member one vote, co-ops reflect American ideals of democracy, mutual self-help, and equality. We appreciated the large number of community members that turned out for our recent Annual Meeting and the excellent voter turnout in our recent Board election. This is democracy in action!

“The co-operative model is unique in that it empowers people to work together to meet their needs though jointly owned, democratically governed businesses,” said Erbin Crowell, NFCA Executive Director. “It should come as no surprise that co-ops have been part of American history from our beginnings and continue to play a key role in building vibrant and sustainable local communities, and a stronger, more resilient economy that works for everyone.”

For more information and a map of food co-ops across the Northeast, please visit www.nfca.coop/coopsday.

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