The Next Frontier
After returning from studying cooperatives in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, I am now ready to begin a new phase of Food For Change that will focus on educating college students about the principles and practices of cooperatives. This school year we currently have ten presentations lined-up at colleges throughout Massachusetts. To expand the program we are seeking more contacts at institutions of higher education and are turning to our co-op friends for suggestions. » read more
Marketing = Education
Learning & Teaching
On Friday I am heading to Italy to study the region of Emilia Romagna, considered to be the world’s most successful and sophisticated cooperative economy. Co-op sectors in this region include agriculture, food processing, retail, construction, manufacturing, housing, finance, transportation, and social services. It’s the home of 8,100 producer, worker, and consumer co-ops that accounts for 30 percent of the region’s GDP. » read more
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.
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.
Host a National Co-op Month Screening
October is a busy time for showing Food For Change. Here’s a map of the screenings that are happening across the country, also shown on this calendar. If your co-op is not on the map and you would like to host a screening, please let us know. We’d love to see more stars on the map.
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…
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…
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.
It’s time for a National Cooperative Education Campaign using Food For Change! Also in this newsletter, we welcome co-ops to review our Outreach and Distribution plan to spread the idea of cooperation nationwide. We thank our new contributors, share endorsements from recent screenings, and include a special gift. Read it here.
On July 5 we wished everyone a very happy International Day of Cooperatives by sharing our interactive Food Co-op Map of the U.S., and a free screening of Steve Alves’ documentary Talking to the Wall.