Serving Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport & Edgecomb since 1876
Each October, cooperatives all across the country celebrate the role, accomplishments and contributions of our nation’s cooperatives. Damariscotta’s own natural foods cooperative, Rising Tide Community Market, is a full-service retail grocery store, distinguished from other local businesses in that it’s owned by over 3,000 local and seasonal residents of the greater Damariscotta area.
Rising Tide grew out of local buying clubs which operated in the 1970s, and its first storefront opened in 1978.
“The theme of Co-op Month this year is ‘The Co-op Connection.’ We want to highlight the ways in which Rising Tide connects with our community — whether it’s through donating to local nonprofits and community events, having local art exhibits in our café, or supporting local farms and producers,” said Elya Markert, Rising Tide’s Outreach and Marketing Coordinator. “Co-op Month is also a great opportunity to raise awareness about the cooperative movement in general, for our own member-owners and the community as a whole.”
During Co-op Month, Rising Tide is publishing an educational series of posts on its Facebook page and website. Posts for the first part of the month have included Maine co-op news, Rising Tide’s history, and history of the cooperative movement.
October is also Non-GMO Month, bringing awareness to the issue of genetically modified organisms in the food supply.
“GMO labeling is not yet mandatory, which presents a challenge for consumers who want to avoid GMOs in their food. Many of our shoppers are concerned about GMOs,” Markert said. “The Non-GMO Project works with companies to label their products as ‘Non-GMO Verified’ if they meet ingredient standards that ensure no contamination by GMOs. Rising Tide currently carries over 700 products bearing this label, all clearly marked by shelf tags …. We also provide information and education in the store about which ingredients are most likely to be contaminated by GMOs (corn, soy, sugar beets, alfalfa and canola) and how customers can choose foods that do not contain GMOs. Ultimately, we believe that people have the right to know what’s in the food they consume every day.”
The cooperative movement in Maine is thriving, with several new retail cooperatives forming or opening in Maine during 2014. Food stores in Brooks (Marsh River Cooperative), Fort Kent (Market Street Cooperative) and Houlton (The County Co-op and Farm Store) have all opened their doors in recent months and are welcoming new members.
All of the food co-op stores in Maine focus on purchasing local food, including produce, some grains, dairy, and meat. They each contribute significantly more to the Maine economy than food stores that get most of their products from outside the state. Also, the Portland Food Co-op and the Gardiner Food Co-op and Café are both expected to open later in 2014 or 2015. That will bring the total of storefront food cooperatives in Maine to eleven, including existing co-ops in Blue Hill, Belfast, Rockland, Norway, and Waterville.
For information on CO-OP MONTH in Maine, check our MEDIA RELEASE.
For a great toolkit thanks to the National Cooperative Business Association and the Cooperative League USA.
Graphics, posters, model press releases, and MORE! …FREE downloads! <<CLICK HERE>>
Bill Nemitz: Don’t suffer with slow Internet, rural Maine
Small towns elsewhere are building their own high-speed networks to avoid sliding into the digital dark ages.
Listen up, rural Mainers. The next time your local selectman or legislator knocks on the door asking for your vote, look them in the eye and ask this out-of-nowhere question: “When are you going to build us an on-ramp to the high-speed Internet highway?”
And then, if they ask with a blank stare what the heck you’re talking about, tell them about Wired West.
It’s a 43-town cooperative in western Massachusetts that is well on its way to bringing fiber-optic Internet service to every nook and cranny of a region that, like much of Maine, is now living in the dark ages when it comes to high-speed, broadband technology.
Paul Sheridan [right, of Cooperative Maine ] and Matt Thompson, Front-End Manager at The Portland Food Co-op – taken at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair by Gloria LaBrecque, Cooperative Fund of New England. Thanks, Gloria!
MOFGA | Common Ground Country Fair 2014 | SEP 19, 20, 21
VISIT OUR BOOTH on the corner of Social & Politcal Action Tent #2!
CO-OP WORKSHOP| SAT SEP 20 11a-12p | ‘Farm Labor, the Missing Link.’ | Jane Livingston & Jonah Fertig | SPA Speakers Tent
FAIR SCHED ONLINE: http://sched.co/1oN5qIC
CO-OP WORKSHOP | SUN SEP 21 11a-12p | ‘CO-OPS 101‘ | Deborah Hawkins | SPA Speakers Tent
FAIR SCHED ONLINE: http://sched.co/1oMNcqt
Cooperative Maine has a table at this indoor HOPE festival on the Saturday nearest to Earth Day each year.
This year it is Sat. April 26th from 11-4 in the Student Recreation & Fitness Center, Hilltop Road, University of Maine campus in Orono.
Great article about the new generation of food co-ops around Maine! Five New Food Co-ops from Fort Kent to Portland! Great interviews, photos, charts, graphs, & statistics!
March 10, 2014 [ MaineBIZ]
The number of member-owned food co-operatives in Maine is on a course to almost double to 11 this year, leavened by a taste for locally produced food that is safe and healthy.
While these new storefronts still plan to be community venues, they aren’t our parents’ co-ops. Many aim to offer one-stop shopping, carrying a wider variety of goods in addition to the traditional bulk items and “granola-type” fare. And backed by development loans and legions of member owners, they have become a force in the local economy.
“There’s a local economic multiplier,” says Kate Harris, education and publicity coordinator at Belfast Co-op, which started in 1976. “Our bank and payroll are based in the community. A much higher percentage of money stays in the community. We spend as much as we can locally. And the largest contribution is that we won’t leave the state.”
Nationally, every $1,000 a shopper spends at a local food co-op generates $1,604 in their local economy, $239 more than if they shopped at a conventional grocery, according to strongertogether.coop, a consumer website run by the National Cooperative Growers Association. Other metrics: 157 local farmers and producers on average work with a food co-op versus 65 with a conventional store; 20% of products are locally sourced versus 6% for a standard store; and 38% of revenue is spent locally versus 20% for a regular store (see chart, next page).
At 930 & growing, the Portland Food Co-op is nearing its goal of 1,000 member-owners. Show some Principle Six love and join the PFC to help them to open the new storefront retail market at 290 Congress Street in Portland. This community-owned market is expected to create up to 20 new jobs! Help build a democratic economy rooted in community by becoming the newest member-owner and sign up online right now at www.portlandfood.coop! It takes just a few minutes!
“Principle Six: The Cooperative Future of Food in Maine”
A meeting for and by Food Co-ops and buying clubs
Saturday, February 15 (snow date 22nd) 9 AM-4 PM
Mediation & Facilitation Resources, 11 King St., Augusta
35 seats now FULL!
For waiting list please email: Paul Sheridan firstname.lastname@example.org
… we will be talking with food folks about making this an annual event.
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1382288728701545/?ref=22
“Please forward freely to any Maine food buying club
or co-op in formation that you know about—
they may find this info very useful—Thanks”
FULL DETAILS HERE: http://bitly.com/principlesix2014
Practice PRINCIPLE SIX! Help a neighboring co-op out!
Here’s an excerpt from Kennebec Local Food Initiative ( KLFI.org) about their exciting project:
THE GARDINER FOOD CO-OP
Help Us Open the Doors!
Become a Member-Owner Today!
Get Your Boots on the Ground!
Our goal is to get 150 member-owners by the end of February!
We’ve already begun but we need your help to meet- or surpass!- that goal!
The vision for the Gardiner Food Co-op & Cafe is of a vibrant space owned by the community, dedicated to offering wholesome, fairly-priced food with an emphasis on local, organic, and fair trade. In addition, there will be a cafe where friends and neighbors can gather to enjoy a warm soup, do work or brainstorm ways to bring about positive actions in our local community.
KLFI is planning the opening of this very space in downtown Gardiner in 2014. In order to do it successfully and show funders and lenders that there is sufficient backing, we need your support…today. To learn more or to purchase a share, click here or on the Gardiner Food Co-op menu tab.