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Co-operators in the news

Blanding testifies at Historic Congressional Hearing

Cornelius Blanding, executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and CDF board member, testified on March 25 at a historic hearing by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee to review the state of Black farmers in the U.S. The hearing detailed decades of systemic racism and discrimination faced by Black farmers.

"The Black farmer story is a story of perseverance. It is about time for this story to be told. It is about time for this kind of hearing. It is about time for our country to support those that have given so much, but received so little in exchange," said Cornelius Blanding.

Read Cornelius' full testimony to the House Agriculture Committee here.

Fredericksburg, VA opens Food Co-op

In September 2015, a group of volunteers came together to start planning for a community-owned grocery store focused on locally grown and locally sourced products. Now with over 2,000 owners, the Fredericksburg Food Co-op opened its doors to the public on April 1.

The $4.1 million project includes a 10,000 square foot full-service store. In June 2020, the coop received a $1.4 million loan from the National Cooperative Bank guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. The loan was the first ever given to a food cooperative under the SBA (7)(a) program.

“From the beginning, our Co-op has been committed to four core values: (1) Local: to buy from local producers as much as possible; (2) Environmental: to center environmental sustainability in all of our decisions; (3) Community: to bring people together around the link between food and health; and (4) Financial: to operate a financially successful community-owned business," said Rich Larochelle, founding board member of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op and CDF board chair.

“The dream opening of our food co-op is now a wonderful reality for our community. This wouldn’t have happened without the support of so many, including the thousands in our community who have enthusiastically embraced our Co-op and the national co-op support organizations that provided us with invaluable assistance, including the Food Co-op Initiative, Columinate, the National Co-op Bank, NCG, Dorsey Whitney and so many more.”

The co-op will be hosting its 3rd annual Co-op 5K on May 8. Proceeds from the race will go towards the co-op's Food for All program which gives additional discounts on purchases to customers shopping with SNAP benefits. Show your support by registering here.

Georgia Allen featured in Washington Post Childcare Co-op Article

Georgia Allen of Soaring Independence Cooperative, a homecare cooperative in Madison, WI, was featured in a recent Washington Post article about her efforts to develop a round-the-clock, in-home childcare network. The network’s home-based care sites will be supported by a central location that, along with offering care, will also train providers, prepare meals for the in-home satellites, and handle back-office tasks.

Georgia's work was informed by the challenges she experienced as a single mother and homecare worker struggling to find safe, affordable childcare that met the nontraditional hours of homecare providers. The Madison Cooperative Development Coalition awarded the project a $30,000 seed grant in 2020 to explore the model. Business planning support has been provided by Madison's Northside Planning Council.

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