What's up with the co-op?
Here I stand before you, our many Members, forever humbled by this Co-op process. And struggling to find the words to express a rational, coherent answer to the question “so…what’s going on with the Co-op?” Those of you who know me, know that I am not often at a loss for words.
At face value, we had a viable site opportunity at the Harvest Market and pursued it to the best of our ability. We were not able to raise enough start-up capital to make this the first home for our Co-op. This does happen to lots of co-ops along the way. The truth is, birthing a coop is truly a Herculean effort. Right now our Co-op feels like a confused adolescent trying to reach adulthood, searching for direction and clarity. Our organization, over six years old and now nearly 1,500 families strong, is at a pivotal point in its development. What we need most is to hear from our Members. Please tell us what inspires you about our Co-op. Each of your voices matter. We care very deeply about our Co-op and want to do right by it. But we cannot do it without a better understanding of the needs and desires of our large Community.
So here’s an easy way to communicate your thoughts: Please take 5 min to complete our member survey by clicking the button below. Or if you prefer, reach out to chat with me directly. Your input will shed light on how to push what now feels like a lopsided, heavy farm cart, forward. We also are looking for some pushers of this cart who have the passion to travel the path, which will likely have more unexpected ditches and detours.
If you are still reading this (thank you), here is a story that illustrates one of the reasons I personally care about opening our Co-op. When picking up my milk and eggs recently at Benedikt Dairy Farm in Goffstown, I ran into farmer Melissa who looked a bit weathered. The way you look after a raging college party…when you are overtired but know it was worth the current price you are paying. I said to her “you look extra rosy with life this morning.” She tossed her head back and howled a gregarious laugh that signaled a good story was forthcoming. Turns out, their Mama cow Jean had delivered her baby calf, Johanna, late the night before and abandoned her. Which she told me is rare, but does happen. The struggling little babe was now dependent on them for the sustenance and nurturing it sadly wouldn’t receive from its mama. Her husband, Max, wrapped the calf up and brought it inside their home. Where to lay a calf who is only hours old, you ask? Well…to her surprise, Melissa found that Max had put the calf on the middle of their bed. After a few minutes of rationalizing, Melissa convinced Max to lay Johanna on the floor next to their bed, where she stayed the entire night. Melissa and Max, the baby calf, and a night of sleepless slumber.
This story, and hundreds of others, is why I am so passionate about opening our Co-op. To support our local economy and farmers, who go to such lengths to farm their crops or raise their livestock. Give them a year-round market that allows their businesses to sustain and grow. Buy the best food for our families, from farming neighbors who lose sleep catering to a calf. Revitalize an intimate connection to our food, our local economy and to each other.
Heather and Your Board (Sarah, Carla, Diane, Steve, Brad, Diana, Cait and Ted)
Heather can be reached at 603-305-6340