New Year’s Resolutions

Being my Best Self in 2020 by Working at the Co-op

Do you have a new year’s resolution for 2020? 

A common goal you could promise yourself is making food choices that are healthier for you. You might decide that this is the year you reduce plastic waste. Maybe 2019’s resolution didn’t stick, so you give yourself a daily goal such as I will do cardio exercise once a day, every day. Finally, there’s the perennial career-related resolution, I want to be happy at my job.

The Co-op is a wonderful place to work if you are interested in setting self-improvement goals and sticking to them. In addition to offering wellness benefits such as dental, vision, and group health insurance, the Co-op provides its employees with abundant opportunities to bring their best selves to work. Allow me to share my experience: I was hired halfway through 2019 as the HR Assistant, mostly tasked with benefits administration (check out our benefits!) and recruitment details (keep reading this blog post!). All four of those resolutions listed above? Working at the Co-op helped me achieve all of them! 

When it comes to making healthy food choices, could there be a better resource than the Co-op? An encyclopedic knowledge about natural foods is not a requirement to be hired here; a willingness to engage with the Co-op community will set you up for success. For instance, I have collected from customers countless recipes for produce that was unknown to me until just a few months ago, and speaking with my more knowledgeable colleagues (familiar faces if you’ve shopped here for years) has sharpened my perspective when I read the label on wellness products as a customer. If you’re interested in deepening your understanding about food systems, agriculture, and production, then you are in the right place to grow your awareness as you develop relationships with vendors, farmers, and producers. Moreover, sometimes we have packaged food that is no longer okay to sell due to an imminent expiration date or squishy produce that staff can take home free of charge; combined with a generous staff discount at the registers, Co-op employees can make healthy choices on a budget.

I had never seen fresh ginger before! The Produce department taught me that it’s milder when it’s fresher, and wow, is it delicious!


Reducing plastic waste is a struggle as we face a cultural shift in our communities. I find that pausing my consumption of single-use plastic involves logistical swaps – for instance, carrying reusable bags to the store or remembering my mug means planning my day better. Fortunately, working at the Co-op means being a part of a culture of sustainability. My colleagues have taught me so much about the nuances of composting! Reducing packaging and other generators of plastic waste is easy because the bulk department innovates creative alternatives to encourage sustainable shopping; thanks to the enthusiasm of folks in the bulk department, I have developed the habit of carrying cute spice jars and funky vinegar bottles in my reusable shopping bag, and my wallet is very happy that I made that change.

It’s fun being green at the Co-op!


Let’s talk about “staying in shape”, which means something different to everyone. Full disclosure: most of my job takes place at a desk behind a computer, though I am not in the majority. Most Co-op staff spend their days on the floor, lifting at least fifty pounds repeatedly and frequently. It takes quite a symphony of devoted bodies strategically coming together to put in the physical work needed to make the Co-op the well-stocked and smoothly-operated community hub customers know and love; if you want a job that will keep you moving throughout the day, you could check out our current openings and apply online. I keep my New Year’s resolution by working up a sweat pushing in carts from the parking lot, though I recently heard about a time when some staff wore step counters at work and their step count regularly reached the tens of thousands!


So, if you’ve made it to the end of this blog post, you’re probably wondering about that pesky career-driven resolution: am I happy in my job? At the beginning of 2019, I had made an extra promise to myself: I wanted to reduce stress in my life so that I could be kinder to myself and others. Keeping those resolutions for the first half of the year was incredibly challenging for me. Then, I started working at the Co-op, whose influence made those lifestyle changes dramatically easier. With fun workshops offered throughout the year, we have plenty of professional development opportunities. If you shop at the Co-op during some of its busiest times, you might not think of it as a particularly stress-free environment; however, managers empower staff to provide excellent customer service with independence and to resolve conflicts in constructive terms. Working closely with folks who share values of generosity and reliability has transformed how I engage with other parts of my life, including how I communicate with others and handle stress. I feel very lucky that my job at the Co-op helped me to keep these promises I made to myself for 2019. I look forward to keeping true to these resolutions in 2020, though some may say you can resolve to be a better version of yourself at any time of the year. Who knows what new things I’ll learn from the Co-op next year. Of one thing I am absolutely certain: after a day’s work with great people, I leave the store as a  happier version of myself.

Our workshops have themes that range from mushroom identification to implicit bias trainings.

So what about you? Do you have a new year’s resolution? Will 2020 bring a change in your career? Check out our current openings here and submit your application today!




Your Co-op Human Resources Assistant, Emma

Business of the Month – REV Fitness for Women

Hey ladies; are you looking to REV up your fitness routine in 2018? Our Co-op Connection Business of the Month for January is REV Fitness and Certified Trainer/Owner, Michele Butler, offers a unique, refreshing twist on the typical gym routine. Located in a beautiful, sunny, women’s-only studio within Middlebury Fitness, REV Fitness aims to inspire women across Addison County to overcome life’s health challenges, with a particular focus on strength and endurance training for weight loss, bone building,  and heart health. Thanks to the Co-op Connection, Co-op member-owners can enjoy 10% off their enrollment fee and 10% off personal training at REV Fitness!



REV Fitness addresses the unique fitness needs of women, particularly those aged 40+. Their REV workout is designed for optimal calorie burn, bone building and cardiovascular endurance and strength. This 30-minute energizing and uncomplicated circuit routine takes the guesswork out of exercise and helps overcome health challenges for women.

What is REV Fitness?

  • A workout routine for women designed for optimal calorie burn and weight loss
  • Strength training to improve bone density & increase metabolism
  • Cardiovascular endurance to improve balance & to reduce the risk of heart disease

A recent visit to this bright, beautiful studio and a great chat with Certified Trainer/Owner, Michele Butler, made it clear why so many women are excited about this unique program. Michele’s passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm are positively contagious. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Springfield College and has been a personal fitness trainer certified by the American College of Sports Medicine for 20 years. Her personal fitness philosophy includes:

  • Discovering your “why”. What motivates, what makes the effort rewarding?
  • Finding something active that you like to do – and doing it frequently
  • Recognizing that there is only now, do your best now
  • Enjoying the journey, acknowledging success and happiness along the way

Whether your goal is to build strength, increase flexibility, or lose a few unwanted pounds, it begins with the decision to change your lifestyle, and it can begin today. Each personalized program can include cardiovascular, endurance, strength, balance, flexibility, diet and nutrition components. Michele’s services are appropriate for anyone with health challenges such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. Sessions are designed to provide variety and education and to keep fitness routines from becoming routine. Your unique 30-minute circuit workout is waiting for you!

Why Circuit Training?

  • Weight Loss – Ensuring that you’re burning sufficient calories over the course of the day is critical to fighting weight gain. Circuit training is excellent for women as it really helps to rev up your metabolism and increase total calorie expenditure by increasing muscle mass.
  • Bone Building – One in two women will fracture a bone due to Osteoporosis. By the time we’re 70, we have lost about 45% to 50% of our muscle mass. Circuit training encourages bone building because it incorporates weight-bearing exercises with strength-building exercises that can help prevent muscle loss and maintain bone density.
  • Heart Health – Up to 82% of heart disease is preventable in women by adopting healthy habits. Circuit training is great for women over 40 because of its fast-paced nature, promoting cardiovascular benefits that reduce your risk for heart disease.
  • Balance – As we age our balance deteriorates due to lack of physical activity, visual impairment and lack of proprioception (sensors of position and movement in the feet and legs). The rev circuit cardiovascular stations encourage standing exercises that improve muscle strength, balance and coordination.


REV It UP! with Michele –  Every Monday at 5:15 PM & Every Thursday at 12:15 PM. Join fellow REV members for this circuit class that bends the rules and shakes up your usual exercise routine. Experiment with different intensity levels, change your workout format, increase calorie burn, cardiovascular fitness, and strength, all while having fun and challenging yourself. Learn new exercises and fitness facts. Michele provides encouragement and motivation throughout these 30 to 40-minute sessions. Appropriate for all fitness levels. Bring water and a towel, wear sneakers.

Walking Club – Meets Every Friday at Noon. Enjoy the many benefits of walking in the great outdoors. This 50 to 60-minute walk is social and can range from a moderate pace with hill climbs to a gentle stroll. No one is left behind and everyone is encouraged to participate. Meet at REV Fitness at noon on Friday. REV Walking Club welcomes members and non-members alike. So invite a friend! Bring water, and wear a hat, sunglasses and a smile! (Foul weather may cause us to go with Plan B, which is an indoor REV workout!)

photobrochure 6-2016

Wellness Workshops and Special Events:

We regularly schedule events that focus on women’s health and wellness covering topics like diet, nutrition, personal care and menopause. These are often free and are open to members as well as non-members to enjoy. Coming up next in our workshop series:

Walk and Talk Workshop:   Join registered dietitian Amy Rice, of Champlain Nutritional Services, and personal trainer, Michele Butler, for a “Talk and a Walk”. Thirty minutes of nutrition and exercise “talk” followed by thirty minutes of “walk and talk”.

Check our website for more upcoming events and please join us!


“We’re all about women, their changing needs; their changing bodies. I look forward to meeting you at REV Fitness and inspiring you to do and feel your best every day!” – Michele Butler


Eating Healthy in 2018

What comes to mind when you think of healthy foods? If you asked a dozen people this question, you’d likely get a dozen different answers. In fact, the FDA is in the process of redefining “healthy foods” and recently needed to extend the public comment period on the use of the term “healthy” with regard to labeling of food products in response to the overwhelming volume of feedback. It seems that we have a lot to say on the subject and those of us looking for guidance on how to eat a healthier diet find our heads spinning with often contradictory information about what it means for foods to be healthy.

Because one of our Co-op Ends is to provide the community with healthy foods, it’s a topic that we spend a lot of time thinking about, so when we learned that Michael Pollan would be giving a lecture at Dartmouth College we jumped at the chance to send a few staff to hear what he had to say. When Pollan gives lectures, it’s standing room only. Food and diet book writers quote him constantly, Time Magazine named him one of the most influential figures, and he’s the subject of many a food-related conversation. His broad appeal is probably an indication of how confused we are about food, and how much we love it when people make it very clear to us what we should and shouldn’t eat. He has a way of making it all sound so simple:  eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.

Following Pollan’s simple food rules “could render fad diets irrelevant, positively impact the environment, champion local food producers, and bring the processed food industry to its knees” says Eve Adamson of NCG. So why aren’t we busy toppling the $60 billion diet & weight loss industry and tackling Big Food? Certainly not because we’re busy cooking. The average American spends just 27 minutes a day cooking or preparing food. That’s less than half of the time we spent cooking in 1965. The average adult spends more time watching, scrolling and reading about food on TV and social media than they do cooking their daily meals! In 2015 and 2016, we spent more money at restaurants and bars than at grocery stores. The rise of convenience foods and ready-to-make meal services like Blue Apron points to the notion that we simply feel too busy to shop for and cook healthy meals at home. But, as Pollan points out, this isn’t so much about a lack of time and more about the way we use our time these days. “The phenomenon of Americans working more than ever is a myth”, says Pollan but “the sense that we have less time is real”.

So, what is lost when we as a society decide we’re too busy to cook? We lose skills, we lose confidence, and we lose control of our health. We’re outsourcing food preparation to big businesses and their priorities when feeding us are very different from the priorities we’d set when preparing a meal for our family at home. They’re interested in producing food as cheaply as possible yielding the highest profit possible. They would like us to believe that it’s very complicated so that we’ll leave it up to them. They’re also interested in making you a repeat customer, spending millions of dollars in a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and cheap but, unfortunately, not so healthy.

So, what is a health-conscious shopper to do? Skip the powders, pills, food-like substances, and wacky diets. Resolve to eat real food, not too much, and mostly plants. Reclaim your kitchen and choose to think of cooking as an act of revolution! Also, remember that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition; even choosing to cook three meals a week at home can make a huge difference. Discard the narrative that you don’t have time, it isn’t fun, and you don’t know what you’re doing. Just keep it simple and enjoy every bite.