Patronage Refund

Patronage Refunds

New for 2014!

We already have a great way to donate uncashed Patronage Refund checks to support the local food system. But we wanted to do more! We're lucky to have many different non-profits working on projects that support the local food system. And now we've created a new way to offer them some funding. Starting this year, we're creating a new application process and a new Member committee, to offer the money from our uncashed Patronage Refund checks to a variety of organizations (rather than just funding one organization).

Apply. We're currently accepting applications! Know a Vermont non-profit working to support the local food system? Suggest they review the process and complete our application for funding. Applications are due by Monday, July 14 at 5pm. Our Member Grants Committee will make funding recommendations to the Board by September. Click here to learn more.

Participate. A you a Member of the Co-op? Fill out our online survey to apply for the Member Grants Committee! If selected, you'll need to be able to meet at least once in late July to discuss and select potential grant recipients.  Apply by Friday, June 27.  Click here to learn more.

A Snapshot of 2013 Patronage

  • Member purchases totaled almost 61.6% of sales in Fiscal Year 2013.
  • The total Patronage Dividend since 2008 is just over $2.8 million.
  • The Board agreed to distribute 55% of the Dividend in cash.
  • These checks will recirculate $873,848 back into our local economy.
  • The average 2013 Patronage Refund check is $96.
  • About 4 cents of every $1 eligible members spent is being refunded.

Basic Information on the Patronage Refund
Individual patronage checks are a refund on profit relative to your Member purchases when your equity is current. Patronage checks are mailed in early November for your spending in our previous fiscal year (For example, November 2013 Patronage checks are for spending from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013). In 2013, Patronage Checks totaling $873,848 were issued to over 9,100 members, with an average Member check of $96. Please note that the IRS allows the Patronage Refund as non-taxable income for individuals! Please make sure to present our cashiers with your patronage card every time you shop at City Market!

Options for your 2013 Patronage Refund Check:

  1. Enjoy it! Cash or deposit your check within 90 days (by February 2014).
  2. Pay equity.  Apply your check to your  remaining equity balance (detailed information included with your check). Members continue to have the option to pay toward a full equity share of $200 in annual installments of $15. If you choose to return your check to apply toward your equity, please endorse the back of the check "Payable to Onion River Co-op" and include your completed "Donation & Equity Coupon" that was enclosed with your check. The deadline for this option is Friday, February 1, 2014.
  3. Donate to Eradicate Childhood Hunger. Help us combat food insecurity by donating your Patronage Refund to Hunger Free Vermont (HFVT). You can donate directly to HFVT or you can simply return your check to us and we'll donate it for you. Please endorse the back of the check "Payable to Onion River Co-op" and include your completed "Donation & Equity Coupon" that was enclosed with your check. The deadline for this option is February 1, 2014. If you'd like to donate directly to HFVT, you can make a tax-deductible donation online at using your credit card. You can also call 802-865-0255 or mail your check, payable to Hunger Free VT (with “City Market Patronage” in the memo), 38 Eastwood Drive, Suite 100, South Burlington, VT 05403.
  4. Donate to Strengthen the Local Food System. When members don't cash their Patronage Refund checks, we automatically donate the funds to organizations working to strengthen the local food system. This year, the funds donated through uncashed Patronage Refund checks will go to the Vermont Farm Viability Program. VFVP provides Vermont farmers with business planning services combined with technical assistance. A number of our current vendors have benefitted from VFVP, including Vermont Beancrafters, Zach Woods Herb Farm, Arethusa Farm, The Last Resort Farm, Bread and Butter Farm, Intervale Community Farm, Champlain Orchards, Tangletown Farm, Gleason Grains and Orb Weaver Farm.

    Participants have a series of meetings with farm business management consultants and technical specialists, create goals and objectives, create a complete set of farm financial data and focus on various aspects of the farm operation (e.g., production, markets, efficiency, infrastructure, etc.). The final product is a written document that describes how the farmer expects to meet the identified goals and be profitable in the foreseeable future.

    VFVP is a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board in collaboration with:
    •    the VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets,
    •    USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service,
    •    USDA Rural Development
    •    John Merck Fund

    VFVP contracts with service providers to work with farmers enrolled in the program:
    •    Intervale Center
    •    NOFA-VT
    •    UVM Extension
    •    Working Landscapes

Members wishing to exercise this donation option should simply do nothing (really, just don't cash that check).

Thank you for your continued support of the Co-op! Your patronage allows us to be successful and allows us to partner with local food producers and community organizations to eradicate childhood hunger and strengthen our local food systems.