By John Tashiro, General Manager
I hope you’re all finding ways to stay cool with this incredibly warm opening to the summer season! I’m taking advantage of the sunny weather by growing (and watering) vegetables in my family’s small backyard garden, enjoying the abundance of local produce at the Co-op and area farmers’ markets and swimming in our lovely lake to cool down!
Summer is such a fantastic time to experience all that is on offer in the greater Burlington area! I hope many of you enjoyed the recent July 3rd and 4th Independence Day festivities. Maybe you have plans to participate in the upcoming Vermont Brewers Festival or the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival later this month. Or maybe you’ll enjoy sunny evenings, listening to free live music as part of The Point’s Summer Concert Series in Battery Park?
One of my favorites of the season is Summervale, which takes place every Thursday starting this month in the Intervale. Founded in 1988, the Intervale Center manages a 360-acre campus of farmland, trails and open space along the Winooski River in Burlington. We’re delighted to partner with the Intervale Center and wish them a happy 30th birthday this year! Their work has and continues to be so influential in the state and nationally to enhance farm viability and land sustainability, and their enterprise programs, like the Food Hub and Success on Farms have been key initiatives in leading a community food revolution.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives (IDC) on this Saturday, July 7. The theme for this year’s celebration is “sustainable consumption and production”, creating an opportunity for cooperatives to show how they run successful businesses, while respecting our natural environment and the resources it offers.
With sustainability in our Co-op DNA (Co-op Principle #7 is “Concern for Community”), cooperatives have two centuries of working with their members to build sustainable and resilient communities. Agricultural cooperatives work to maintain the longevity of the land where they grow crops through sustainable farming practices. Consumer cooperatives, like your own Onion River Co-op, support sustainable sourcing for their products and educate consumers about responsible consumption. Housing cooperatives help ensure safe dwellings. Utility cooperatives are engaged in the transition to cleaner electricity and rural access to energy and water. Worker and social cooperatives aim to provide goods and services in an efficient, planet-friendly way while creating long-term, sustainable jobs.
Here at the Co-op, we strive to continue building a more sustainable local economy for everyone. From being locally owned by over 13,500 Members, employing 340 amazing staff and offering accessible healthy food through a robust Food for All program to forging local partnerships that strengthen our local food system and making significant energy conservation efforts, your Co-op works to benefit you and our community. We can all be proud to that 40% of the Co-op’s $45+ million in annual sales are those of local products and we plan to continue growing that percentage!
Speaking of growth, our South End store is open and busy! As we all settle in, our performance (in sales, customer count and customer feedback) remains positive and we are exceeding forecasts. And we’ve got just 6 weeks left to complete our Membership investments…the best way to control our costs and guarantee a vibrant Co-op.
You and over 13,500 Members have invested in the Co-op over the past 45 years, to ensure its sustainability, growth and success. You make it possible to offer community programs and education as well as good food and economic partnerships.
We are now completing the funding for our new and busy South End store. We have raised $600,000 of the $1.5 million goal that keeps us at a manageable budget. We need your participation and hope you will consider an investment.
Your investment will help us support local business, local food, and local people and at the same time earn you interest. Like the Co-op, this is business with a heart. We have a deadline of August 27 to raise $900,000 in investments from $2,500 to $100,000 each. Your investment will earn you interest while it builds a stable and vibrant Co-op!
As always, thank you all for your unbelievable support! We look forward to seeing you at the Co-op throughout the summer, under sunny blue skies.