This October, Wild Oats is joining over 40,000 co-operatives and credit unions across the United States in celebrating Co-op Month, observed nationally since 1964. This year, the National Cooperative Business Association has chosen “Co-operatives See the Future” as the theme for the month, inviting co-op members to work together to make the world a better place, now and for future generations.
From farmer co-ops to worker co-ops, credit unions to mutual insurance, and housing co-ops to energy co-ops, co-operative businesses thrive across the U.S. economy, where 1 in 3 people are members of at least one co-op or credit union. Nationwide, co-operatives create 2.1 million jobs and generate more than $650 billion in sales and other revenue annually. Because they are member-owned, co-ops are driven by the needs of the people who work there or use their products and services, rather than maximizing profit.
At Wild Oats, we will honor co-op month with a screening of Food For Change, on Wednesday, October 17th at 7pm in Griffin Hall, Room 6 on the Williams College Campus. The provocative documentary details the resurgence of consumer-led co-ops and their key roll in America’s food economy and will be followed by a Q & A with Bill Gentry, Professor of Economics at Williams College and President of the Wild Oats’ Board of Directors. We will also be donating 1% of our sales on Saturday, October 27 to the Howard Bower Fund, which provides funds for training and education for members, staff and board members of cooperatives.
“From healthy food to organic agriculture, Fair Trade to building stronger local economies, good jobs to alternative energy, food co-ops have been pioneers, empowering people to work together to make the world a better place,” said Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA). “And as our co-ops look to the future, we are working to build a more fair, sustainable, and inclusive economy that works for everyone.”
Next time you’re at the co-op, look for the “Go Co-op” signs on the shelves that identify products that were made by other co-operatives. You may be surprised by what you find, including dairy products from Cabot Creamery Co-op and Organic Valley, fairly traded coffee, tea, and chocolate from Equal Exchange, wine from La Riojana, herbs & spices from Frontier Natural Products, fermented vegetables from Real Pickles — and many others. We encourage you to support these businesses by purchasing their products, not only during the month of October but all year long! Together we are making a difference!