Think You Can’t Afford to Shop at the Co-op? Find Out What Food For All Can Do for YOU.

Next time you’re waiting in the check-out line at the Co-op, let your eyes roam to the stretch of pale yellow wall above the street-facing windows.  You may never have noticed the statement posted there: The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op is dedicated to the health and well-being of the whole community, but it’s a statement that we return to continually, to help guide the decisions we make about how the Co-op grows. 

For many of us, choosing to buy healthy food is not just about preference but price.  At the Co-op, there are many ways to shop affordably to bring home products you trust – check out Co-op Basics, Co-op Deals, shop our Bulk Department, and use our Special Order system to get case discounts.  But if purchasing healthy foods is still a challenge for your budget, Food For All is here to help.

Who is eligible for Food For All?

Food For All is a Member Assistance Program for participants in SNAP, WIC, and Home Heating Assistance, and for clients of CVOEO, HOPE, WomenSafe, and the Open Door Clinic.   Currently, around 260 Households take advantage of this program.  We are always hoping to grow this number!

What do you “get” from Food For All?

  • You get a 10% Discount on all purchases, every day (excludes alcohol, by law)
  • You become a Member-Owner of the Co-op – your $20 share is paid by MNFC, allowing you to build equity, accrue a patronage dividend and have a voice in Co-op Elections

All Food for All member benefits are shared with the people in your household (children, domestic partners, parents living with you, etc..)

How do you sign up?

  • Fill out an application online, or pick one up at the Co-op Customer Service Desk.
  • Show us your current EBT or WIC benefits card, your Home Heating Assistance statement, or your VA Benefits Card (we’ll make a copy when you come in).


  • Bring us a letter of eligibility from one of our partner organizations (CVOEO, HOPE, WomenSafe, Open Door Clinic, and Free and Reduced Lunch Programs). They’ll know what to do!

If you are not eligible for Food For All but know someone who might be, please spread the word.  This Co-op belongs to its member-owners and its community…the WHOLE community.  Help us serve you better.


A Big Thank You from Addison County Food Shelves!

Thank you, generous shoppers!  With your help, through the Rally for Change, we were able to donate $3,785 to our local Food Shelves, CVOEO and HOPE.   The food shelves will use these funds to buy more of the shelf stable staples that their clients rely on, but they will also be used to buy items they can not often stock, such as fresh produce, dairy, and baking items for the holidays.  Because of your kindness, hundreds of Vermonters will not have to go without food this holiday season.  Half of these funds were raised by shoppers who rounded up their totals at the register 11/10-11/16.  The Co-op matched these funds and mailed checks out to the food shelves, last week.  What a difference a little spare change can make.

Want to learn more about our local Food Shelves?  Check them out at:




Round Up at the Registers for the Food Shelves 11/10-11/16!

Our Annual Rally for Change for local food shelves, CVOEO and HOPE starts on November 10th!  Just round up your total (or feel free to give more!) at the registers between 11/10 and 11/16 and the Co-op will match your donation!  What an easy way to do good this holiday season!

Hunger is not just an issue on the other side of the world.  Food insecurity is right at home in Vermont, and no one works on the front lines to combat this in Addison County like our two local food shelves – CVOEO and HOPE.    These two organizations spend a lot of their resources trying to get food to hungry Vermonters, but that’s not the whole story.  Want to know more?  Read on, to here about them, in their own words:


Linda Tirado knows poverty first hand. She has lived in it for the majority of her adult life. She also knows what it is to live in the middle class. In her book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap  America, she gives a definition of poverty that puts our world in perspective. “Poverty is when a quarter is a miracle. Poor is when a dollar is a miracle.  Broke is when five bucks is a miracle. Wor-
king class is being broke, but doing so in a place that might not be run down. Middle class is being able to own some toys and live in a nice place – and by ”nice” I don’t mean fancy.”

In Addison County: 1 in 5 children and youth know hunger; over 3,500 residents participate in the 3Squares VT program; there are 26 summer meal sites; and 10 senior meal sites server older citizens several times a week, all summer long.  Last summer, between May 1st and August 30th, CVOEO’s Food Shelf in Middlebury served 1,299 individuals. 342 of this number were under the age of 18, and 209 were seniors. Individuals and families come from towns throughout Addison County.

Donna Rose is the Food Shelf Coordinator.  We are located at 54 Creek Road in Middlebury. CVOEO is a nonprofit corporation, formed in 1965 to carry out the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties. CVOEO is one of five Community Action Agencies in Vermont. Its mission is to address fundamental issues of economic, social and racial justice.  It works with people to achieve economic independence, bridge gaps and build futures.  For more information, go to  https://www.cvoeo.org/


HOPE is a private, locally governed organization that has been alleviating the distress of poverty in Addison County for over 50 years by providing a broad range of individualized services &  opportunities. HOPE’s staff members don’t say “this is what we can do”, rather they ask “what do you need?” HOPE fills in the gaps left by government programs, including help with heating & housing, medicines, job-related needs & more. They provide assistance to homeless persons, including those with significant housing barriers such as severe mental illness & substance abuse disorders.

HOPE offers healthy holiday meal baskets, and in the the HOPE Holiday Shop, low-income parents can select, free of charge, new clothing, toys and books for their children.

HOPE runs the largest food shelf in Addison County, serving an average of 600 people each month. Last year, they provided food to 6,248 people, including 481 senior citizens and 1,659 children. In 2015, they provided food for over 61,000 meals, distributed 10,797 pounds of local farm produce, & provided nearly 400 holiday meal boxes. This year they are on track to exceed their 2015 numbers.

HOPE’s Local Food Access Coordinator, Lily Bradburn, has been working with local farmers, picking up donated produce, leading crews to glean food in the fields, & purchasing crops for winter storage. Volunteers are needed to glean,  process and cook food. For more information or to volunteer, call 802-388-3608. HOPE is located at 282 Boardman St., behind Homeward Bound.  For more information, please go to http://www.hope-vt.org/

Thank you Empty Bowl Dinner Participants! We raised $2,500 for Local Food Shelves!

We just wanted to extend a big THANK YOU to all of the folks who made our 25th Empty Bowl Dinner such a success.  With your help, we raised $2,500 for local food shelves, CVOEO and HOPE!

Before the dinner, we had the pleasure of listening to presentations from Donna Rose of CVOEO and Lily Bradburn of HOPE, updating us on the state of food insecurity in Vermont.  They were pleased to inform us that this is the first year in a really long time that food insecurity in Vermont has actually decreased a bit.  We owe so much of that success to the hard work of organizations like these, and to the generous donors, like you, who help to keep them afloat.

We’d also like to extend an extra special thank you to our Sponsors:

Middlebury United Methodist Church

Red Hen Baking Company

Otter Creek Bakery

Champlain Orchard

Golden Russet Farm

Elmer Farm

Middlebury Bagel and Deli

Four Pillars Farm

Middlebury Studio School

North Branch School

Fred Barnes

And of course, a HUGE Thank you to our Volunteers!  Without your hard work moving furniture and decorating, cooking soups and dessert, cleaning and serving, this event would not be possible!

Here are a few great shots of the night!

Fred at the piano!
Fred at the piano!
Beautiful Bowls from Local Potters!
Beautiful Bowls from Local Potters!
Succulent Salad!
Succulent Salad!
Inspiring Artwork From North Branch School!
Inspiring Artwork From North Branch School!
Awesome Volunteers!
Awesome Volunteers!
Soups Ready to Serve!
Soups Ready to Serve!


Fred Barnes Plays at the Empty Bowl Dinner on 11/5!

Recognize this handsome crooner?  It’s Fred Barnes, our long time Co-op member-owner and musician extraordinaire.  For the past few years, Fred has very generously donated his talent at the piano to provide entertainment and add to the ambiance at our annual Empty Bowl Dinner.   Fred has quite an interesting musician’s history.  He spent years as a pianist and vocalist on the Cunard Line cruise ships Queen Elizabeth 2 and Countess, and followed this experience with several years as the House Pianist for the Sheraton Russell Hotel, on Park Avenue in New York.  In addition to his performance career, Fred has spent 25 years instructing students of all ages in Jazz piano.  Currently, Fred is active on the musical scene as an accompanist and soloist.  Thank you, Fred, for all you do!

Here’s a word about Fred from Douglas Anderson, Executive Director, Middlebury Town Hall Theater:

“Fred Barnes is a master.  He commands a seemingly endless repertoire of standards, all served up with breath-taking technique.  He also sings – surprise! – in a clear, un-fussy voice that brings to mind Fred Astaire, with all of the charm the comparison implies.  I’d say that no one plays piano like this anymore, except that there’s nothing old-fashioned about his playing.  I Fred’s hands, even the oldest standard becomes as fresh as the day it was written.

With his effortless brilliance and genuinely warm personality, Fred turns any event into something extraordinary.”