This month we are celebrating Local Love. Local food and food production has been at the core of our co-op’s mission since our beginnings more than 50 years ago.
February 2, 2023
Greetings from the Co-op. Happy mid-winter, and here’s to a light-filled February!
This month we are celebrating Local Love. Local food and food production has been at the core of our co-op’s mission since our beginnings more than 50 years ago. Last year we purchased goods and services from 387 different Vermont vendors, and we sold over $10 million in local products, about 38% of our total sales. From my discussions with folks from other food co-ops, it’s clear that our state and our co-op have been uncommonly successful in prioritizing, developing, and supporting a strong and sustainable local food system. Read more about Hunger Mountain Co-op’s impact in our 2022 Impact Report.
As you well know, there are many reasons to love local, from the environmental and economic benefits to the advantages in terms of quality and food safety. One reason that has been on my mind recently is that a robust local food system provides resiliency when the national system is challenged. We saw that clearly during the early days of the pandemic when supply chains were interrupted; our local vendors were independent of many of the national challenges and able to respond effectively to meet the changing demand. Currently, with the avian flu, the U.S. is facing a significant shortage of eggs and an accompanying increase in egg prices. At our co-op, the supply of eggs has remained relatively steady, and we have seen less price inflation than many other product categories.
One of the best resources for understanding Vermont’s food system is the Farm to Plate Network. Their 2021 – 2030 Strategic Plan is loaded with useful information about the current and future challenges and opportunities for local food production, supply, and consumption. One of the plan’s goals is particularly exciting: increasing in-state purchases of Vermont food products from 14% in 2017 to 25% by 2030. I am proud that our co-op community will continue to do our part in helping get there.