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Sponsor Spotlight October 2019- Franklin Community Co-op

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2019 October Issue Newsletter

By Christy Bassett, NOFA/Mass Communications and Marketing Director

Franklin Community Co-op has been a Silver level sponsor of NOFA/Mass since 2012 and has greatly supported our work of educating about and advocating for organic agriculture in Massachusetts.  Thank you!

For a local food lover, few places are as comforting to enter as a community co-op.  Bright vegetables highlight the shelves of the produce case, bulk coffee and grain bins line up in order at eye level, and familiar brands promise purchases that you can feel good about.

Sarah Kanabay, Outreach and Communications Manager for Franklin Community Co-op, shares the sentiment that community owned grocery co-ops are more than convenience stores to pick up necessities.

Community co-ops are different from conventional grocery stores because they are community funded.  “Own a grocery store with your friends”, Franklin Community Co-op’s new tagline, speaks directly to the heart of what keeps this this business afloat. 

CaptionGreen Fields Market, Greenfield, MA

As stated on their website, “Co-ops aren’t owned by a single individual or speculative investors. We’re based on shared ownership by people who have a personal stake in the business and its impact: Consumers who own the store they buy from, workers who own the business they work for, farmers who own the company that gets their products to market, or a combination of stakeholders.  Co-ops are a powerful economic alternative, one that acknowledges our inter-connectedness and leverages our shared resources.”

Kanabay sees a community as an ecosystem that co-ops are naturally at the center of- growers, consumers, employees, owners of small businesses and more all intersect at a co-op.  “You have to be nicer to each other because the shopper in the next aisle over might be Dave who grew the apples that are now in your basket- there is no separation between producer, vendor and consumer anymore. Our relationships are really personal.  There is a built-in accountability.”

Supporting local agriculture is important to the Co-op Values and Principles.

The seven principles are:

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Member economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training and information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

When asked about how important sourcing organic products are for Franklin Community Co-op, Sarah relayed that although they do not require products to be certified organic in order to be placed in the store, part of their values and principles includes caring for the environment.

“About 90% of our produce section is organic, and when in season it is almost entirely locally grown.  We know our farmers and know their practices.  Growing and consuming in a way that cares for the earth is increasingly more important to a larger audience than just our target market.”

Seeing local businesses start out small and then gain traction as a result of the market opportunity that FCC provided for them is one of the most rewarding parts of Sarah’s job.  “In our stores we can even get small orders on the shelf- if Carol down the road has an over-abundance of eggs one week and has just 4 dozen eggs to move, we can put them on the shelf.”  This openness to a different model of purchase and sales allows small producers to grow with co-ops, and even beyond them.  “Kitchen Garden Farm is a good example of that.  They started out with a smaller farm and have grown into having their own on-site commercial kitchen to aid in the production of their value-added products.  Now they are winning Good Food Awards in addition to continuing to grow their thriving wholesale business.  It’s really rewarding to see.”

Franklin Community Co-op manages two retail stores- Green Fields Market located at 144 Main Street in Greenfield and McCusker’s Market at 3 State Street in Shelburne Falls.  While Green Fields Market is a larger store in a busy area, don’t let McCusker’s small size fool you.  They have an excellent selection of local craft beer and hard cider as well as an abundant bulk spice section that will wow your dinner guests.

October is National Co-op Month!  Every October is a chance to celebrate cooperatives, uniquely-local organizations.  Consider joining Franklin Community Co-op at one of these fun upcoming events:

McCusker's Market, Shelburne, MA
CaptionMcCusker's Market, Shelburne, MA

Miles of Cooperation

October 19, 2019


170 Main St

Greenfield, MA 

This is an informational tabling event- enjoy food samples and learn about how a coop works from a variety of local coops including Real Pickles and Artisan Beverage Coop.

Fall Wellness Fair

October 26, 2019


170 Main St

Greenfield, MA 

Meet some of the local wellness product producers that stock items in the store.  Essential oil makers, herbalists, and more will talk about ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, ways to support your immune system and cold and flu remedies.  Come and connect with things that they have to offer and then stop into Green Fields Market a few doors down to pick up the products directly.

For more information or to become a member-owner visit Franklin Community Co-op’s website or Facebook page.

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