Big Change is Coming

The Story of Cooperation in America

Since their beginning, cooperatives have been on the forefront of progressive social change—advancing the principles of diversity and universal membership at a time when slavery was the norm and women were chattel. In the U.S., food co-ops were the leaders of change during the Great Depression, the War on Poverty, and the 1970s organic food movement. Along the way we’ve fought red-baiting attacks from bankers and monopolies, and the lowering of health standards when grocery chains enter new markets. We are now, once again, going through a time to test our mettle, our powers of reason, and our unifying strengths.  
In 2016, Food For Change reached a distribution highpoint, culminating last month with 43 screenings in 20 states. Because of our outreach efforts, new opportunities have opened up: we had our first public television airing on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, reaching an potential audience of 200,000; and twelve community colleges have invited me to their campuses to show Food For Change and discuss cooperatives values with students and faculty.* 
We are putting together a report to show in detail what we've accomplished this year. When completed, Jamila or Marica will contact co-op leaders, primarily General Managers, to share the report and to set up a time to talk with me. The reason for our discussion is that we would like to continue to educate more people about food co-ops for another year. I have assembled a talented crew; we have learned how to be most effective. We've also produced new promotion and education materials about food co-ops and plan to produce more. Allocating funds can take time so I am giving you a heads up if you want to see us continue.  
Now is a time we need to draw strength from our roots. If history is a predictor, difficult times have frequently preceded times of co-op growth. As enlightened co-op leaders, past and present, have said: education is critical to the advancement of cooperatives. The potential is there to bring the story of cooperation to many more people. We are ready to do that work.

Steve Alves
Food For Change

* There are 351 PBS stations and 1655 community colleges in the United States.

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