Food For Change 
A Documentary Film About The Co-op Movement & Food Co-ops Today

September 2010                                                                                                      Newsletter no. 2

In This Issue
Project Update
Profile of Contributing Co-op
The Fifth Co-op Principle
Information & Stories to Share?

Project Update 
Steve Alves, Producer/Director, Hometown Productions
Franklin Community Co-op
member since 1993
Greenfield, Massachuestts

Food For Change is about the history of the cooperative movement and  current efforts to develop regional food systems. We are making this film to remind us of our roots and to help navigate the emerging road ahead. 
Co-ops are experiencing a resurgence like the one that took place during the Great Depression (see clip from movie). To succeed, we would be wise to learn the lessons of the past while we work to create communities that bring out the best in all of us.

Financial support for this project has come from 17 food co-ops in 10 states, totaling $46,775. $163,000 is still needed to complete the film and $125,000 for distribution. Judging from the  support we've received so far, we believe we will reach our goal. Investing in this project is a way for you too to support the complex and expanding web of those with whom you share cooperative values. We still need many more co-ops to contribute. Please join with the others and  INVEST in  Food For Change.

Profile of Contributing Co-op

Lindy Bannister, General Manager

Wedge Community Co-op  

Minneapolis, Minnesota

We're investing in Food For Change because it tells the inspiring story of co-ops in the United States at a time when our cooperative ideas are as important as ever. This project has the right ingredients for success: a compelling story, a

skilled production team, and a ready-made audience--all of us who work and shop at co-ops.


We're also investing in Food For Change because it addresses two of our core cooperative principles: education and working with other co-ops. From the clip I've seen and the movie's trailer, Food For Change looks like an excellent product. We're pleased to be among the first co-ops to give our support--to put our money where our values are.


Like many co-ops of our era, Wedge Co-op began when a handful of people came together to sell bulk foods and fresh produce out of a store the size of a basement apartment. Thirty-six years later we have 14,500 members, operate an 11,000 sq ft store, and gross nearly $40 million a year. Ours is one of many examples of the power of people working together to satisfy common needs and achieve common goals. Many co-ops throughout the country have faced similar struggles, which is the point of the film. At the same time, we've always been concerned with doing what is right for the planet and for our communities. In the early 1970s we were motivated by issues of health, social justice, and the environment. Today, our values have grown to include fair trade, supporting local farmers, and developing regional food economies. We've always been ahead of the curve and now is the time to describe our cooperative ways to the general public. 

Our thanks to the Franklin Community Co-op in Greenfield, Massachusetts, for launching this project and for finding a talented film producer and a long-time co-op member, to take on the job of making this important documentary. Food For Change will help us understand our common roots which will give us energy to take on the challenges ahead. With support from your co-op, we can make this happen. So please make an investment in this project, if you haven't already done so. Thanks!

The Fifth Co-op Principle
Suzette Snow-Cobb
, Co-General Manager

Franklin Community Co-op  

Greenfield, Massachusetts 

For years we hadn't given as much attention to education about cooperatives as we should. As a result, the long-term consequences to our co-op and the cooperative economy is misinformation and confusion about just what co-ops are and their importance in our economy. I'm sure we're not the only co-op that's done this. It's not uncommon for people to think there's little difference between co-ops and privately-owned natural foods stores. If we expect this to change, we need to put more resources toward our Fifth Principle:   


Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public--particularly young people and opinion

leaders--about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

This is why we initiated Food For Change. We believe that a well made documentary, that tells both our history and the current things we are doing to create strong, economically stable communities, is a great way to portray what we're about. It has the potential to reach millions of people.

Because the film has turned out to be larger in scope than we originally envisioned, we need your help to complete and distribute it. That's where the 6th principle comes in: Cooperation among Cooperatives.


Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.  

The Co-op Pioneers had the foresight to recognize the importance of educating others about the cooperative model, and as a result, co-ops flourished throughout the 19th century. For co-ops to grow and again gain momentum as a movement, we need engaging ways to explain what co-ops are and why they exist.

Our investment of $35,000, allocated over two years from our marketing, member education, and employee training budgets, is our commitment to these cooperative principles. We we hope it will spur others to invest. We'd like to see the film completed and shown frequently throughout 2012, the year the United Nations has declared the International Year of Co-operatives. This is a great opportunity for co-ops.  With your participation, we can make it happen!

Information & Stories to Share?

In addition to giving an historical perspective, Food For Change also focuses on present day food co-ops and the efforts to create regional food systems. We are currently scouting out material about food co-ops in different parts of the country for this section. Please let us know if you have information to share. We are also always looking for films, photos, and stories for the historical parts of the film.  
Maine Public Television Airs Two Steve Alves Documentaries
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network is airing two documentaries by Food for Change producer, Steve Alves: Talking to The Wall and Together in Time. Both award-winning films deal with the role of community and the continuity between generations.

Steve Alves Discusses Work-In-Progress Movie at "Farm, Field, Forest" Event - September 25th, Orange, Massachusetts
Steve Alves will present excerpts from his work-in-progress documentary, Food For Change, at "Farm, Field & Forest: Living with the Land', an event about building local economies and looking at past and present practices in sustainable farming and forestry.  Please RSVP if you plan to attend.


23 Unity Street, P.O. Box 229, Turners Falls, MA 01376 (413) 834-3109