2014 Austin Miller Co-op Hero Awards

Every year in June, we honor an individual, a non-profit, and a business that exemplify the cooperative principles with the Austin Miller Co-op Hero Award. 

Gardening the Community received the 2014 Austin Miller Co-op Hero Award in the non-profit category. Other winners included Andrea Ayvazian (individual) and Apex Orchards (business).

General Manager Rochelle Prunty, Produce Manager Henry Kryeski, and representatives from Apex Orchards

General Manager Rochelle Prunty, Produce Manager Henry Kryeski, and representatives from Apex Orchards

Andrea Ayvazian and Board Treasurer Jade Barker

Andrea Ayvazian and Board Treasurer Jade Barker

Representatives from Gardening the Community with Board Member Christine Dutton

Representatives from Gardening the Community with Board Member Christine Dutton

BACKGROUND

Austin Miller was awarded the first annual Co-op Hero Award during our cooperative’s celebration of the first birthday of our store on April 30th, 2009, for extraordinary support from a co-op member-owner. Austin tirelessly and passionately championed the dreams of our membership for a locally grown food co-op in Northampton.

Austin was a founding co-op member-owner whose career was devoted to serving people in Western Massachusetts by supporting community development projects that provided low income housing, shelter for victims of domestic violence, and food for the hungry. Austin specialized in securing financing for projects that directly benefited people in need and strengthened our communities. Austin was the financial consultant who secured the financing agreements between River Valley Market and the banks that provided the mortgage for our co-op start-up project in Northampton.

Our community lost a good friend when Austin passed away on October 30th, 2009.

2013 AWARD WINNERS

Individual: Mary Shanley Koeber, for her care for the community through her dedicated work for Mass Audubon's Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary

Non-Profit: Common Capital, for its commitment to local investment in economic development projects like River Valley Market

Business: Our Family Farms, for its support for local dairy farmers