Hunger Mountain Co-op, located at 623 Stone Cutters Way in Montpelier, Vermont, is a member-owned, community-based food co-op.
We are committed to building dynamic a community of healthy individuals, sustainable local food systems, and thriving cooperative commerce.
Hunger Mountain Co-op currently has over 8,000 Member-Owners, carries over 2,000 local products, and employs 165 employees all earning at least the Vermont Livable Wage. Our Co-op is also proudly one of three state designated Vermont Green Grocery Environmental Leaders and a recent recipient of a Sustainability Star from National Co+op Grocers.
Contributing to our community is a core value at Hunger Mountain Co-op. We hosts year-round community workshops and events (including our Earth Day Celebration and Food & Wellness Fair) and also supports area schools, local projects, nonprofits, and initiatives that align with our mission. Last year's community giving program provided over $40,000 in donations, sponsorships, and grants.
Another area of great importance to our Co-op is food insecurity and access to healthy foods. In central Vermont, one in four of our neighbors is struggling with hunger. In response to this growing issue, the Co-op works with area groups like Central Vermont Medical Center, Community Harvest of Central Vermont, and Montpelier Food Pantry to help fight hunger in our community.
Bring your reusable bags when shopping at the Co-op. For every reusable bag used, a nickel donation will be made to the Montpelier Food Pantry, resulting in more than $10,000 annually! Together we can make a difference for our community and environment.
Hunger Mountain Co-op's Environmental Policy
Hunger Mountain Co-op is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of our employees, and the community in which we conduct our business.
It is our policy to seek improvements throughout our business operations to lessen our impact on the local and global environment by conserving energy, water, and other natural resources; reducing waste generation; recycling and purchasing recycled-content products; and reducing our use of toxic materials or production of toxic products and/or byproducts.
In recent years, our Co-op has made innovative improvements in energy efficiency by targeting refrigeration and HVAC systems. We have reduced our refrigeration demand in the winter by installing a system for walk-in coolers that circulates in cold, outdoor air. Additionally, we’ve installed a heat reclamation tank that captures excess heat from our refrigeration system to preheat hot water used on-site.
With the help of the nonprofit Efficiency Vermont, we conducted an energy audit, which resulted in additional ideas for improving our energy use. Efficiency Vermont provided recommendations and expertise about what government rebates might be available to offset the costs of upgrades or renovations. Results of the audit included replacing fluorescent lighting with LEDs and further improving refrigeration efficiency.
The Co-op has long tracked energy usage and celebrated a 5.4% reduction in electric usage in Fiscal 2015. As of January 2015, Hunger Mountain Co-op began formally tracking comprehensive sustainability metrics such as water usage, composting, and recycling through Co+efficient, a national sustainability program developed by National Co+op Grocers.
Another area where Hunger Mountain Co-op does well is in the area of food waste. Food deemed unsalable but still safe to consume is either utilized by our kitchen, given to employees, or donated to an area food shelf whose director recently reported that our donations (mainly fruits, veggies, and bread) are a critical supply for their everyday operation. Any organic material not fit for consumption is transported by Central Vermont Solid Waste District to the Vermont Compost operation.
The Co-op recycles all materials currently approved by our recycling partners including non-waxed cardboard. We also collect organic waste in our Kitchen and Produce Departments for local composting. The Co-op accepts refundable bottle and cans as part of the State’s bottle law. We also supports reuse of many materials. We accept from customers clean Co-op logo shopping bags and clean egg cartons for reuse. We also store and return various reusable supplies for our vendors. In April of 2016, Hunger Mountain Coop launched an electronic receipt option for Member-Owners in place of paper receipts and also a reusable takeout container option for our food bar.
Hunger Mountain Co-op is committed to environmental excellence and pollution prevention, meeting or exceeding all environmental regulatory requirements, and to purchasing products which have greater recycled content with lower toxicity and packaging, that reduce the use of natural resources.