Thank you to all that attended our annual meeting!

 We sold out tickets for the dinner up to the 200 person fire code maximum for the Garden House facility and we apologize to any co-op owners that couldn’t attend.  We are looking for alternatives in Northampton with a kitchen and dining facility that has a larger capacity and will allow us to bring our own food. Again, we apologize to anyone who wasn’t able to attend and we hope that you enjoy some of the highlights from the meeting below!

Our co-op band, the Queen Mary, was the band for the night and they rocked playing classic songs that we all love. The band consists of Tom Bradbury (operations manager) on guitar/bass/vocals, Dave Cook (deli department) on bass/guitar/vocals, Toni Maestas (deli manager) on guitar/bass/vocals, Mark Schilling (formerly of the deli department) on drums/vocals.

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Sandra Costello was there with The Foto-Fun Booth! 

We had the honor of having Janet Aalfs, poet laureate emeritus of Northampton, MA and community peace activist write a poem for us that she read at the event.
I wrote this poem in the week between Thanksgiving and the River Valley Co-op Membership Meeting, December 3, 2015. I had walked and talked with Dorian Gregory on the Smith Vocational Agricultural Farmland about the Co-op and how I might contribute to the event as a “found poet.” I'm continually inspired by so much history in the ground, in striving to understand the ways people have worked the land for thousands of years here in the Connecticut River Valley, in giving voice to that which has been silenced – roots from which we grow today.

IN WORKING HANDS

in the human voice
in this river land
in thousands of years
in working hands
in furrows of corn
in crows on the wind
in mounds of silence
    this poem begins

in footsteps and drums
in rhythms unknown
in moonlight on catalpa
in thyme and wintergreen
in love that dares to speak

in the shout for justice
in the summoning beat
    these lines proceed

in plenty and in need
in apple garnet rosemary
in the pointed leaf of memory
in stolen bones brought home
in the humble mountain
in the hidden gift
in the peace of deeper roots
    
these words pass through

in the listening
in the breathing
in the rain-soaked fields
beyond right and wrong
at the crossroad
in the voice of human kindness
     we begin this song      
                                     Copyright © 2015 by Janet E. Aalfs

Guest Speaker Pam Mehnert, General Manager of Outpost Natural Foods Co-op, Milwaukee, WI shared with us a video on Outpost's process in opening multiple stores.