Let’s make good on our bumper stickers
“Think globally, act locally,” right? ItsOurCoop.org is an owner-driven forum meant to inspire and help owner-members of River Valley Co-op (RVC), Northampton, MA, to do exactly that. It’s time to hold ourselves, our board, and our managers accountable to the values on which the co-op was founded. (Just to be clear: this website is not run by or authorized by the store.)
How? First, ItsOurCoop.org hopes to serve as a forum for community-sourced news about the inner workings of our food co-op. Without information, we’re owners without ownership. Second, we’ll serve as a forum for discussing, refining, and furthering a vision for the co-op that betters our community and our world.
What are “co-op values”? How can RVC embody and model them? A living wage, healthy food for all, a sustainable food system … Our co-op presents an ongoing opportunity to meaningfully engage in all of these, to make a real difference, right here at home.
Great co-op, not-so-great working conditions
RVC is doing some fantastic things for our local food system. By sourcing and selling millions of dollars’ worth of locally grown food every year, it’s supporting small, often organic local farms and thereby playing an important role in building a more sustainable food system. So keep shopping at the co-op!
At the same time, there are serious problems at RVC, starting with working conditions, as you’ll see in the pages of this website. How can we talk about making our community and our world better when working conditions inside the co-op itself aren’t what they should be?
The fact that these difficult conditions are not evident to most shoppers is a tribute to the dedication of co-op staff. Many workers are also owner-members, but regardless, most share the values that motivated the founding of the co-op. They too are invested in seeing it embody those values and reach its full potential. And they offer the rest of the community an insider’s perspective on the important ways in which it is succeeding or — as has too long been the case — falling short.
Closing the gap between values and reality
It’s the gap between values and reality that compelled us as owner-members to launch ItsOurCoop.org.
We hope that, together, we will not only close this gap, but go on to make our co-op a leader in fairness, sustainability, and innovation. We can and must change the world. Starting here.
Henry Geddes, 5181
Johanna Halbeisen, 127
Mark Heitman, worker liaison
Laura MacKay, 992
Tim McNerney, 21
Want to add your name as an ItsOurCoop.org supporter? Contact us.
Lee Allred, 5029
John Bienz, 7804
Rosemary Bienz, 7804
Eric Brown, 6969
Laura Curran, 4719
Matt Cuscovitch, 9232
David Gowler, 10
Connor Grogan, 7783
Tim Hanrahan, 6438
Jeff Morin, 7702
Ramon Oliva, 4052
Brian Pamaylaon, 9055
Tyler Rocco, 8462
Kelsi Sleet, 6438
Noah Spady, 8591
Tony Udell, 8847
Lance Vincent, 7444
Desmond Whalen, 9195
Hayden Young, 8800