2013 Austin Miller Co-op Hero Awards

On June 20th, at our 4th Annual Strawberry Ice Cream Social, we recognized a few of the people who nuture and sustain our community with the Austin Miller Co-op Hero Awards. 

Created in 2009, River Valley Market's Austin Miller Co-op Hero Awards recognize: 1) an individual, 2) a non-profit organization and 3) a business in the Pioneer Valley that support and strengthen cooperative values and that embody the cooperative principal Support for Community.

This year's award winners are:

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

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.

Past winners:


Individual: Lynn Benander, Co-op Power

Non-profit: Seeds of Solidarity

Business: UMassFive College Federal CU


Individual: Elizabeth (Apple) Ahearn

Non-profit: Community Involved in
Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)

Business: Pedal People


Individual: David Gowler

Non-profit: Western MA Food Bank

Business: Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives


Individual: Austin Miller

Non-profit: Greenfields Market 

Business: Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream