Greetings from the Co-op. I hope summer is going well and you are getting a chance to enjoy some of the local food that is only available this time of year. As I write this, the end of Joe’s Brook Farm strawberries is near, but Cate Farm tomatoes are here and local blueberries can’t be far away.
Here at the Co-op, we are starting a new fiscal year, beginning another cycle of working towards our mission of building a dynamic community of healthy individuals, sustainable local food systems, and thriving cooperative commerce. One of the ways we strive to make our mission a reality is the Hunger Mountain Cooperative Community Fund (HMCCF). With support from generous members and other co-ops, we launched the HMCCF a decade ago as a way of providing financial resources to like-minded organizations, businesses, and initiatives. Since 2011, we have distributed close to $52,000 in community grants, supporting a remarkable variety of recipients from elementary schools to senior centers, from farms to co-ops.
Over the past few years, a key focus has been on local food insecurity projects. For example, last year we provided grants to Another Way, Capstone Community Action, Good Samaritan Haven, Salvation Farm and Twin Valley Senior Center to help with specific equipment and infrastructure needs in their efforts to ensure all Central Vermonters has access to healthy food. Over the years, we have also supported food and nutrition education, community gardens, and food-related start-up businesses as they get established.
Our grants are modest, between $100 and $2,500, but they make a difference. One of 2017’s recipients, Good Food Good Medicine, reported success with their Barre-based Family Wellness education series: “The HMCCF grant and support made a big difference to our effort, we could not have run all eight weeks of the series otherwise. The Wellness Series was an enriching and meaningful experience for everyone who participated.”
Likewise, the Gospel Hollow Edible Park in Calais used their grant to help establish a fruit tree orchard for the community. “The Park would never have been founded without our 2017 HMCCF grant. These funds have been the driving force behind the creation of what is now a thriving community food and conservation resource.”
You can support the HMCCF in a number of ways:
1) If you have a project that matches our mission and is looking for modest financial support, let us know. Applications for 2019 grants from the Community Fund are now available, in the Co-op and on our website.
2) Help us spread the word by letting others know about the application process. Completed applications are due by Tuesday, September 3. Grant recipients will be announced at the Co-op’s annual membership meeting on Thursday, November 7.
3) Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Fund. Checks should be made out to Hunger Mountain Co-op with HMCCF on the memo line and dropped off at our customer service desk or mailed to the Co-op.
Our Cooperative Community Fund is another example of how cooperation succeeds. When we work together with shared intention and resources, we can have a big impact on life in our community. The Co-op is proud to support the good work of our friends and neighbors. Please consider joining our effort by making a donation or submitting a grant application this summer.
See you in the aisles,
Kari Bradley, General Manager