Ringing Out the International Year of Cooperatives

Author:  national cooperative grocers association  The International Year of Cooperatives is in its final months, and National Cooperative Grocers As

theo chocolate bars


The International Year of Cooperatives is in its final months, and National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) and its member and associate co-ops continue to celebrate all of the ways that food co-ops are helping to build a better world. 

We’re particularly excited about three events happening this fall.

Fighting childhood hunger for World Food Day

World Food Day is Oct. 16. This worldwide event is designed to increase awareness, understanding, and action around hunger issues. Here in the U.S., more than 16 million children cannot count on having enough nutritious food. That’s one in five kids in America today who struggle with hunger.

NCGA, member co-ops, and many of our vendor partners (Alaffia, Alter Eco, Divine, Dr. Bronner’s, Equal Exchange, Frontier, Nutiva, Once Again, Organic Valley, and Shady Maple Farms) are working together to raise $100,000 for Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign, a national effort to end childhood hunger in America by connecting kids to the healthy food they need, every day. 

No Kid Hungry brings together governors, mayors, businesses, chefs, federal and state agencies, educators, and community leaders to connect children at risk of hunger with food and nutrition programs where they live, learn, and play. No Kid Hungry also teaches families how to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters® and invests in community organizations that fight hunger. 

Food co-ops are pledging specific donations or 1 percent of sales on Saturday, Oct. 13. Many are inviting consumers to participate through round-ups of their bills at the register or by making donations to their local food banks. NCGA plans to announce our final total on World Food Day. This is our first attempt to raise funds on this scale, and we’re proud to help fight childhood hunger in our communities! 

The sweet taste of cooperation

NCGA has partnered with Theo Chocolate to create two decadent, limited-edition chocolate bars—a smooth and rich 85 percent ultimate dark chocolate and a rich and creamy 45 percent milk chocolate—made from fine flavored organic and fair trade-certified cacao produced by the Fortaleza del Valle cocoa cooperative in Ecuador and the CEPICAFE cocoa cooperative in Peru. 

These scrumptious confections are organic, fair trade certified, and co-branded with the Co+op, stronger together logo. Each purchase supports cocoa co-op farmers by ensuring living wages, promotes the health of our planet through organic growing practices, and creates artisan-food-manufacturing jobs in the U.S. And 50¢ of each purchase goes directly to support Fortaleza del Valle and CEPICAFE. Our goal is to raise at least $30,000.

These bars are available exclusively at NCGA co-ops beginning in October, while supplies last. We’re excited about the possibility of other limited-edition items with co-op vendors and suppliers in the future!

My Co-op Rocks…again!

This September and October, co-op fans across the country have a second chance to win big in My Co-op Rocks (www.MyCoopRocks.coop), a contest that encourages people to share all the ways their co-op is making a difference.

Six big winners will share $5,000 in prizes. Submissions are accepted online Sept. 1 through 5:00 p.m. Central on Oct. 31. Voting is Sept. 1 through 5:00 p.m. Central on Nov. 30. The public will determine three winners in each category, who will be announced on Dec. 15. 

First-place winners in each category receive a $1,500 co-op gift card or equivalent donation to an eligible nonprofit; second-place winners receive a $750 co-op gift card or donation to an eligible nonprofit; and third-place winners receive a $250 co-op gift card or donation to an eligible nonprofit.

All skill levels are welcome. Whether shooting with a cell phone or high-definition camera, people are encouraged to submit an entry that celebrates the 2012 International Year of Cooperatives and communicates how their co-op helps builds a better world. For the official rules or to enter the contest, visit www.MyCoopRocks.coop

NCGA’s contest co-sponsors are National Cooperative Business Association, National Association of Housing Cooperatives, and U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives. 

Co-op shoppers and members can learn about these initiatives through the Co+op Deals flyer, StrongerTogether.coop website, and their Facebook page. These are just a few of the ways food co-ops and our shoppers and owners are building a better world. We are Stronger Together!

This article was featured in Cooperative Grocer, Issue 162 October 2012. Click here to subscribe.

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