top of page

Alice Rubin, General Manager,

Willimantic Food Co-op, 

2024 Neighboring Co-operator Award recipient

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association raises funds for the Cooperative Education Fund with its Neighboring Cooperator Award

The “Neighboring Co-operator Award” acknowledges special contributions made to the work of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) and the advancement of their vision of a co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just, and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. As part of the award, the NFCA makes a contribution to the Education Fund in honor of the recipient and invites other co-ops, organizations and individuals to do so as well.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Cooperative Education Fund in honor of our Neighboring Co-operators, please use the "Donate" button below!

At their 13th Annual Meeting in 2024, the NFCA honored Alice Rubin, a leader whose quiet, unassuming and unwavering commitment to our shared Values and Principles has shaped the co-operative economy far beyond the 8,000 square feet called “The Willimantic Food Co-op.”

Alice began her co-operative career back in 1980, making deliveries for a co-operative warehouse in Hartford to a fledgling food buying club in Willimantic, CT.  This work was the foundation for a 40-year career with a food co-op that would grow to become a leading voice in the sector, and instrumental in the genesis of many other community initiatives, businesses and organizations, including the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA).
Under Alice Rubin’s leadership, the Willimantic Food Co-op has grown from a 40 member buyers’ club in a church basement to a 7,000 member, property-owning, policy-changing, community-engaging, “All are Welcome” co-operative business at the heart Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner.”  Her visionary mindset has had impact beyond the growth and success of the Co-op.  For example, she planted the seed for CLiCK, a shared-use commercial kitchen in Willimantic that incubates new local food businesses and supports food justice throughout the area, and helped establish Grow Windham, an educational organization focused on creating space for youth in our local food system.

Alice has contributed to the success of our regional network of food co-ops through active support of the establishment and growth of the NFCA as well as numerous start-ups in southern New England, including Fiddleheads Food Co-op in New London, CT, and Urban Greens Co-op Market in Providence, RI.  Her mentorship has supported the development of other leaders both within her co-op and in our wider community, and she has advocated for greater collaboration among farmer co-ops, credit unions, and other co-operatives in our region.  Under her leadership, Willimantic Food Co-op played a key role in helping update state statutes to make it easier to form a co-operative enterprise, working in characteristic collaboration with the NFCA and other member co-ops, credit unions, and partners including the New England Farmers Union and NCBA CLUSA.  These efforts will continue to have an impact for co-operative development in the state of Connecticut for into the future.  And she has done this while running her own business, Alice’s Greenhouse which is where you can find her today, with Bodhi and Finn, making soil blocks and potting tomato plants.

Reflecting Alice’s commitment to economic inclusion, the Willimantic Food Co-op Board of Directors has established a solidarity fund in her honor that offsets the cost of membership for low-income individuals.  For more information on how you can contribute to the “Go Ask Alice” fund, visit the Willimantic Food Co-op website.

The Annual Neighboring Co-operator Award is given to a “Staff Member, Director or Member of an NFCA Member Co-op or Partner Organization or representative of such organization for special contributions to the NFCA and the advancement of our Vision.”  Past recipients of the award have included Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund; Glenn Lower, former General Manager of Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op (VT); JQ Hannah, Assistant Director at Food Co-op Initiative (FCI); Joanne Todd, Director at Willimantic Food Co-op (CT) and CEO, Northeast Family Credit Union; Patrice Lockert Anthony, President of GreenStar Co-op Markets (NY); Roger Noonan, President of the New England Farmers Union; Kay Litten, NFCA Board Member and longtime Director of Hanover Co-op Food Stores (NH & VT); Terry Appleby, General Manager of Hanover Co-op Food Stores (NH & VT); and Alex Gyori, former General Manager of Brattleboro Food Co-op (VT).

In honor of the Alice and recognition of all of our Neighboring Co-operators, the NFCA invites you to join us in making a donation to CDF’s Cooperative Education Fund.

bottom of page