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Healthy Food Access: Creating a Welcoming Food Co-op, NFCA Fall Gathering, 9.7.13


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The roots of the co-operative movement are in food security. Faye Conte from Hunger Free Vermont presents the challenges around access to healthy, affordable food in New England, and how can our food co-ops be a part of the solution, inviting more people to be a part of our movement?

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Healthy Food Access: Creating a Welcoming Food Co-op, NFCA Fall Gathering, 9.7.13

  1. 1. Fall  Gathering   7th  September  2013   Shelburne  Falls,  MA     Welcome  to     Co-­‐op  Valley!  
  2. 2. Food  Co-­‐ops  &  Healthy  Food  Access  
  3. 3. Food  Security  in  New  England   Between 2007 and 2011, participation in food stamps (SNAP) increased by more than 50% in every state in New England: STATE Participation 2010 Growth 2010-2012 CT 10% 55% MA 11% 86% NH 8% 88% RI 12% 136% VT 13% 78% Source: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, "SNAP: Average Monthly Participation (Persons) by Fiscal Year," offsite.
  4. 4. Some  Questions   •  Is there a role for food co-ops in addressing food insecurity? •  Do we have an obligation or legacy to consider in this challenge? •  Is there an opportunity for food co-ops in addressing food insecurity? •  How do we go about this? Who are our partners?
  5. 5. The  International  Year  of  Co-­‐ops   Recognizing the contribution of of co-ops to: •  Poverty reduction •  Employment generation •  Social integration •  Fairness & globalization •  Conflict resolution •  Food security
  6. 6. Co-­‐operative  Origins   What was the motivation of the Rochdale Pioneers, who codified the values and principles on which the co-operative movement has based since 1844? We know it today as food security. Dame Pauline Green, President International Co-operative Alliance
  7. 7. The  Rochdale  Pioneers   The Co-operative Model •  Mutual Self-Help •  Local Ownership •  Democratic Control •  Affordable Membership •  Healthy, Basic Food •  Co-operative Economy
  8. 8. Co-­‐operative  Values   •  Self-help •  Self-responsibility •  Democracy •  Equality •  Equity •  Solidarity •  Honesty •  Openness •  Social responsibility •  Caring for others
  9. 9. Food  Co-­‐ops  &  Healthy  Food  Access   NFCA Goals •  Increase access to healthy food and co- op membership for low-income individuals •  Support peer to peer collaboration among member co-ops on programs •  Raise profile of co-ops as a tool for increasing food security in our region
  10. 10. Network  Collaboration   Seeking Out Partners •  Co-op Fund of New England •  New England Farmers Union •  Hunger Free Vermont Grant Support •  Co-operative Foundation •  Newman’s Own •  Jane’s Trust
  11. 11. Progress   •  Resource development: timeline, financial planning, Toolbox •  Peer Collaboration •  New Partners •  Seeding national dialog •  Sharing our story
  12. 12. “A  Place  at  the  Table”   •  National awareness campaign •  Six NFCA co-ops participating •  Coordinated screenings, community dialogs •  Raise profile of co-ops as leaders and community partners
  13. 13. Healthy Food Access: Creating a Welcoming Food Co-op Presented by Faye Conte, 3SquaresVT Advocate Neighboring Food Co-op Association Fall Gathering September 7, 2013
  14. 14. Who is a co-op shopper?
  15. 15. What does hunger look like? •  Living on inexpensive foods that lack critical nutrients •  Bare cupboards at the end of the month •  Parents skimping on food for the benefit of their kids
  16. 16. Food Security Access to enough food for a healthy life, including: •  Ready availability for nutritionally adequate safe foods •  Assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (e.g. not from emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies)
  17. 17. Food Insecurity Limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. The lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due to lack of financial resources.
  18. 18. Who is hungry? Food Insecurity •  United States: 14.5% (10.68 million) •  Northeast: 11.9% (1.59 million) •  CT: 13.4% •  MA: 11.4% •  NH: 9.9% •  VT: 12.7% Food Insecurity with Hunger •  United States: 5.7% (6.95 million) •  Northeast: 4.6% (997,000) •  CT: 4.9% •  MA 4.2% •  NH: 4.3% •  VT: 5.6%
  19. 19. The Burden of Hunger •  Individual health, development, and ability to thrive. •  Family stability and long-term success. •  Economic and social cost to the community.
  20. 20. Why do we have hunger? A family of 4 in rural VT with both parents working full time at minimum wage: Monthly Income: $2,910 Monthly Expenses: $5,046 (VT Joint Fiscal Office) Common Tax Credits: $450 Federal Nutrition Benefits: $467 3SquaresVT $306 WIC $56 School Meals $41 Child Care Meals (CACFP)$64 At the end of the month, even with aid from the federal nutrition programs, this Vermont family still has a monthly deficit of $1,669 ANNUAL DEFICIT: $14,628
  21. 21. The cycle of food insecurity & malnutrition Lethargy Increased illness Learning deficits Behavior problems POVERTY SCHOOL FAILURE Decreased food intake Narrowed food choices Decrease in vitamins and minerals MALNUTRITION Reduced Earning Potential Exclusion from the knowledge community
  22. 22. Breaking the Cycle: SNAP •  A program by many names: •  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) •  Food Stamps •  EBT •  3SquaresVT in Vermont •  A federal nutrition program of the USDA that gives eligible households money each month to spend on food wherever EBT is accepted, including farmers’ markets. •  Participation in May 2013: •  CT: 426,863 (11.94%) •  MA: 885,701 (13.53%) •  NH: 116,319 (8.84%) •  VT: 100,607 (16.08%)
  23. 23. Breaking the Cycle: WIC •  WIC is a federal nutrition program of the USDA for low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5. •  Similar income eligibility limits as SNAP. •  Operates differently in each state, but all include spending vouchers or money on WIC-approved foods in stores. •  Participation: –  CT: 56,584 –  MA: 122,568 –  NH: 16,299 –  VT: 15,471
  24. 24. Why does this matter to your co-op? •  Co-ops provide important food access points •  Opportunity for increased sales & membership •  Increased food security and food access often fits into a co-op’s Ends Statements and mission
  25. 25. What can your co-op do? Financial Incentives •  Food For All (FFA) •  BASICS Welcome the entire community!
  26. 26. Food For All •  Universal (excluding alcohol) discount on groceries for low-income shoppers •  Eligibility options •  Accessible ownership options •  Community partnerships for outreach and technical assistance •  Monitoring & tracking Potential & Considerations Challenges: •  Membership •  Legal considerations •  Staff capacity •  Financial impact on store •  Public perception of co-ops
  27. 27. BASICS •  Lowering price points on everyday staples •  Similar to supermarkets’ own brands Potential & Considerations Challenges: •  Financial impact on store •  Public perception of co-ops •  Staff training & signage
  28. 28. Welcome the entire community •  Accessible membership •  Customer education on through signage, classes, and tours. •  Variety of product types •  Staff training and awareness •  Inclusive marketing
  29. 29. Special Considerations •  Staying true to the cooperative spirit and store values. •  What’s good for your business? •  Ends Statements With intention & ingenuity, your co-op can be your entire community’s grocery store!
  30. 30. Thank You! Faye Conte (802) 865-0255
  31. 31. Questions,  Feedback,  Ideas  
  32. 32.     Thanks  to  Franklin  Community  Co-­‐op  and  these  supporters  of  our  gathering…   I Our Co-ops!The Neighboring Food Co-op Association //