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Newsletter #23: January 2017

Time to Act

When a story is commonly held, in trust, it affects the way we think about ourselves, gives us hope, and leads to action. This is the reason I made Food For Change, to counter the dominant narrative of individualism and provide a touchstone for people in communities across the country who are organizing to address their needs through cooperation.

As we embark on an era of great concern for the direction of our nation, it’s important to tell stories that provide something positive to believe in—citizens strengthening their ties to solve their problems.

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Newsletter #22: Late Fall 2016

Big Change is Coming

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.

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Newsletter #20: Fall 2015

Rewind & Fast Forward –

National Co-op Month is a busy time for showing Food For Change. In October 2014 there were 17 shows in ten states; I logged 9,000 miles, making seven presentations in the Florida Panhandle and the Pacific Northwest. This year, screenings occurred in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington for new and established co-ops, start-ups, and community groups.

I spent several years producing, directing, writing, and editing a movie about cooperatives because, as a member of my co-op and an internationally-recognized filmmaker, it was a chance to put my 30+ years of filmmaking skills to good use. I believe cooperatives are a superior business model for social, environmental, and health reasons. I want more people to know about them. I told the epic story of four generations of cooperators working together with the conviction that they could create a more just economic system, because I found it inspiring and it enabled me to portray three of the seven Cooperative Principles: education, working together, and concern for community.

Food For Change was an ambitious film to make. In making it, I forged relationships with over 200 co-ops and made many new friends. That job is now done. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped. I’ll take a bow now and move on….

Not so fast! I didn’t do this just to tell a good story, I made Food For Change to make a difference. And that goal hasn’t been reached. Food For Change isn’t just another food documentary. It’s a film that makes you want to buy healthy food from a co-op. It identifies co-ops as the authentic choice in the fierce and growing competition for natural foods. Read More…

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Newsletter #19: Spring 2015

Attention Cooperators!

So much is happening with Food For Change! Since the film’s release it’s been shown at over 100 events in 30 states. And it’s just the beginning. The advent of the online digital age has changed the map of media distribution. If we are able to put in the time and effort needed to build connections between people and organizations, there is little to stop us from reaching millions of people on the benefits of belonging to a co-op. Please read our Outreach & Distribution Plan. Let’s work together, following Cooperative Principles 5, 6, & 7. Now is the time for a National Cooperative Education Campaign!  Read more here…

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Newsletter #18: January 2015

A $10,000 grant from Frontier Co-op will help co-op members, the general public, and college and high school students across the country learn about cooperatives using the documentary Food For Change! Their contribution will help up to 30 co-ops receive a discounted copy of the two DVD set of Food For Change. Also in this newsletter, we give an overview of the Co-op Month screenings nationwide, and Steve Alves’ tour to six cities around the country. Read it here.

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Reactions To Food For Change

I felt energized by the movie. I loved all of the historical background and couldn’t help feel that what we’re doing will be historic someday too. The movie made me believe that we can do anything!

– Steering Committee Member, Food Shed Co-op, Woodstock, IL (formerly known as the McHenry County Food Cooperative Start-up)

We hosted a very successful screening to about 150 people in our community, and were able to sign up 16 members on that day. People reported that they enjoyed the framing of the co-op movement within a historical context.

– Malik Yakini, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and Detroit People’s Food Co-op Start-up

We are brand new food co-op in Fargo ND. We used the movie as part of our membership drive / awareness raising campaign and had about 100 people out to view it at the historic theatre in our downtown…Being able to give historical and nationwide context to the food co-op movement is key. Many of our members attended the viewings and I think having co-op members with a strong understanding of the history and role of food co-ops will only serve to make our co-op stronger.

– Kaye Kirsch, Prairie Roots Food Co-op Start-up, Fargo SD

After the pre-showing of the movie this afternoon, my mind has been on over-drive and my heart so full of inspiration and emotion. It’s hard to believe that after so many years of thinking I was the only one who had “these” thoughts, it was enlightening to be watching the predecessors of my train of thought going into action. And then for me to be surrounded by fellow believers in the push for sustainability within our communities. This is EXCITING!

– Steering Committee Member, Food Shed Co-op, Woodstock, IL (formerly known as the McHenry County Food Cooperative Start-up)

I saw this film a while back and I fell in love with it. I want to help spread the word on how wonderful cooperatives really are.

– Dani Lapiano, board member of the Mountain View Market Co-op in Las Cruces, NM

I just finished the film, and it blew me away; the archival footage and history went far deeper than I’d expected, and I’m impressed.

– Matt Cropp, Cooperative VT

I just wanted to thank you for making such an excellent movie and resource to help us be successful. Everyone loved your film at our public screening and it really helped to solidify why we are all volunteering to make our coop such an important initiative for our community. We just started selling ownerships and I would guess 15 are because of the movie. We have many more out there that are working to save money for the ownership because they were inspired by the movie!

– Doug Close, Steering Committee, Food Shed Co-op, Woodstock, IL (formerly known as the McHenry County Food Cooperative Start-up)

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What’s Next

Now that Food For Change is complete, the work to spread the idea of cooperation is just beginning. We are currently developing a marketing plan to identify groups and individuals we’d like to reach such as high schools, colleges and universities, community groups, and libraries. Send us your thoughts and suggestions about potential audiences.

The plan includes an outreach director, coordinator, and promotional advisors. Our goal is to have the time and resources required to create a study guide, a content-rich website, and an outreach effort to spread the film nationwide. And yes – we will need funding to achieve these goals. It’s a new phase of the project and we are very motivated to get going on it. 

Check out five ways that you can help spread the word, and contact us to sign up to become an active promoter of the idea of cooperation.

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