The Co-op Difference: Community Grants

FEAST Farm

Photo: FEAST Farm

Hunger Mountain Co-op’s purpose remains deeply rooted in our belief that access to good food helps to create sustainable local food systems and vibrant, healthy communities. It’s one of the reasons why our member-owned food cooperative is so much more than just a grocery store.  

Another powerful example of how we’re more than just a store is our Hunger Mountain Cooperative Community Fund, also known as HMCCF or Community Fund for short.  

Every July, our co-op encourages central Vermont businesses, organizations, and initiatives to apply for grants from our Community Fund. A committee of Co-op members review the applications, giving strong priority to smaller-scale proposals for one-time expenditures, capital infrastructure needs, and food access projects and proposals from historically and currently marginalized groups.  

“In recent years, grants from the Co-op have made a huge difference for several dozen wonderful projects in our communities,” says Matt Levin, a long-time Co-op member who serves on the HMCCF committee. “These have included educational projects on food and nutrition, planting community gardens and orchards, helping new food-related businesses get started and established, construction of key infrastructure projects like community kitchens, and supporting efforts to ensure everyone has access to healthy food.” 

Orchard Valley Waldorf School

Photo: Orchard Valley Waldorf School

At our annual membership meeting every November, we celebrate that year’s grant recipients. In 2021, 10 local organizations received grants totaling $11,500. 

  • Montpelier Parks and Trees Department received $2,000 toward building a wash/pack station for FEAST Farm. 
  • $1,500 went to the Cabot Harvest Hub to develop and execute an online ordering platform for their winter farmer’s market.  
  • Rural Vermont put their $1,500 grant toward hosting two workshop series to provide farmers and consumers with more options/markets for buying, selling, and processing their own food. 
  • Capstone Community Action used $600 to install new shelves for their food shelf’s online ordering system. 
  • We contributed $1,000 toward Good Samaritan Haven’s campaign to purchase and renovate a motel complex that will provide emergency shelter beds to unhoused folks in central Vermont.  
  • Downstreet Housing and Community Development put their $1,000 grant toward creating sober living housing for women and their dependent children. 
  • Earthbeat Seeds, a local seed producer, received $1,500 to purchase seed packing equipment. 
  • The Children’s Early Learning Space expanded its capacity by purchasing land and a building. HMCCF contributed $1,000 toward their goal. 
  • $900 went to building an informational kiosk along the Mad River Path, educating visitors about the landscape around them. 
  • The Orchard Valley Waldorf School put their $500 grant toward building a kitchen in their classroom, allowing students to process the food they grow in the school garden.  

Since 2011, the Hunger Mountain Cooperative Community Fund has provided over $85,000 through 69 community grants. This would not have been possible without the support from Twin Pines Cooperative Community Fund, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, and the generosity of our co-op members. 

We are now accepting applications for our 2022 HMCCF grants. See the application. Application deadline: Tuesday, September 6, 2022