RAFC

We’re Hiring!

We’re hiring full and part-time cashiers!

Cashier/Front-End

The Rutland Area Food Co-op is a community-owned grocery and wellness market situated in downtown Rutland, Vermont. As a food cooperative, we are owned by a membership base of around 2,000 members. We aim to provide our owners and the greater Rutland region with affordable access to high-quality, local, organic and sustainable foods and goods. At the same time, as a mission-driven, community-oriented business, we proudly strengthen our region by carrying products of more than 180 local businesses.

The Rutland Co-op’s front-end staff are responsible for accurately processing customer transactions, providing prompt, friendly, helpful customer service, and supporting the coop in achieving its goals. He/she will work under the guidance of the front-end manager and will report to the General Manager.

Responsibilities – include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Check out customer purchases in a friendly, accurate, and timely manner using correct prices, departments, and codes.
  • Provide excellent customer service.
  • Ensure maintenance, cleanliness, and organization of all work areas, storage, and equipment.
  • Perform other duties as assigned
  • Call for backup with check out as needed so that customers wait as little as possible.
  • Receive payment in full for purchases, carefully giving change and receipts.
  • Follow cash handling security procedures according to established guidelines.
  • Help prevent shoplifting by observing customer traffic.
  • Keep Front End in a clean, orderly condition, organize carts and baskets. Maintain shopper and register supplies.
  • Preparation and stocking/maintenance of the coffee and kombucha stations.
  • Comply with all Co-op policies and procedures that ensure compliance with Vermont Department of Liquor Control guidelines and prevent alcohol sales to minors or intoxicated customers.
  • Become familiar with Co-op policies and products to answer customer questions; refer unresolved questions or problems to appropriate staff.

Qualifications

  • Cash-handling experience; ability to run register with speed and accuracy
  • Proficient math skills.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Highly organized with great attention to detail.
  • Some experience or knowledge of the cooperative business structure and values as well as local, organic, and sustainable foods.
  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule including mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays.
  • You must be punctual, dependable, and show the ability to apply judgment, interpret and follow directions, solve problems and seek guidance when appropriate.

Environmental Conditions

  • Works in a fast-paced environment with a focus on customer service
  • May work in environments of extreme cold and extreme heat for short periods of time

Physical Demands

  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Must be able to bend, reach, stoop, kneel, and squat
  • Must be able to push, pull, and maneuver heavy loads
  • Ability to stand for long periods

Compensation and benefits to be further discussed upon interview. Please send your completed application and resume to management@rutlandcoop.com or drop it off in-store.

Virtual Wine Tasting!

Dutchess Farm Visit Oct. 19, 2020

It was one of those weird, warm mid-October days that are becoming more the norm than a rarity. Rumbling into the driveway of one of Dutchess Farm’s plots, I pulled up beside a big, white, mud splattered van.

“Perfect timing!” says Stephen Chamberlain as he jumps out of the cab. Stephen is the owner of Dutchess Farm, producers of everything from greens and squash to the one of the world’s spiciest peppers, the Carolina Reaper. Dutchess Farm has been with the Co-op since our founding back in 1995, , and Stephen has graciously offered to take time out of his morning to show me around his Poultney, VT location. We started at one of the 9 tunnels, arched structures with translucent covers stretched over the ribs, which allow Stephen and his workers to grow all year long and start their spring planting 4-6 weeks earlier. Stephen recalled that he moved to year-round growing about six years ago, wanting to forego the need for temporary winter jobs in favor of dedicating his full time to the farm. When I visited, I expected a last stage of harvesting situation, but Stephen quickly corrected me on that idea. “October is our busiest month,” he said, “it’s like harvest and spring combined.” This became truly apparent after following Stephen across the road to his main growing fields.

During my visit I saw Stephen and his team harvesting spinach, carrots, Brussel sprouts, and of course all of the hot peppers. You couldn’t mistake their near Day-Glo bright oranges and reds as anything but a strong warning from nature: Picker Beware. At the same time beds were being prepared for greens and chard and beets, his main over-winter crops.

Over his 40+ years of farming, Stephen mused that, “farming is something you never stop learning,” requiring constant adaptation, reinvention, and a willingness to realize what produce is and isn’t worth the cultivation. “I realized after growing blueberries for a few years, that I should just stick to herbs and veggies.”

Dutchess Farm is one of our oldest farming partners, and for a while at the beginning, our only, farming partner. “The Co-op has become so steady,” Stephen said. “It is dependable and we have a great give and take relationship. Helping each other to make it through tough times. The Co-op is so important to us.” Covid-19 has certainly been one of those tough times, but it has been our local suppliers and local farmers like Stephen and Dutchess Farm that we have had to lean on during these last few months. When big, national, suppliers were ambiguous at best as to what we could get, or when it would get there, we were able to utilize our local partners to get the food, toilet paper, and PPE supplies so we could continue to serve our customers and Member-Owners. They stepped up and we will be forever grateful to them.

On working with other organizations and businesses like Spring Lake Ranch Therapeutic Community, the Rutland Community Cupboard, Taps Tavern, 47 Main, and others, Stephen said that “having these long-term relationships is great!” Our relationship with Dutchess has been equally wonderful over these past 26+ years, and we know it will continue for years to come.

The 26th Annual Meeting and Celebration!

The 26th Rutland Co-op Annual Meeting and Celebration took place on September 16th, 2020! We heard from Hannah Abrams, Board Facilitator; Chris Littler, Board Treasurer; and TJ Allen, General Manager. There was also a question and answer section that delved into proposed relocation spaces, the state of our suppliers during COVID-19 and other topics.

Missed the meeting? Watch it in full below! Click below to see a transcript of the Chat that Member-Owners and staff conversed in during the meeting.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend, and we hope that next year we can return to a meeting celebrating the Co-op and our community in person!

Save the Date! the 26th Annual Meeting is nearly here!

SAVE THE DATE
The 26th Rutland Co-op Annual Meeting and Celebration has gone digital!  Save the date in your calendars for September 16th at 7:00pm for a virtual meeting via Zoom with messages from the Board of Directors, our GM, and others on the state of the Co-op.

Have questions about your Co-op? Get them ready! There will be a pre-submitted Q & A section of the meeting for you to get your answers!

More details to come!

Add to Calendar

2019-2020 Annual Report

Celebrating Juneteenth

Today marks the 155th Anniversary of the day former slaves in Galveston, Texas were informed by Union Troops that they were indeed free, and had, in fact, been free for two and half years. Consistently celebrated by the black community for over a century, it is now getting the national recognition that the date deserves. We at the Co-op are overjoyed in hearing that Governor Scott has officially recognized it as a state holiday.  

By educating ourselves about the history of our community members of color, by celebrating with joy while also speaking up against injustice, we hope we can continue to make our community, our state, and our country a more equitable place for everyone.

Curious as to how you can celebrate this great day?  Here are a few resources:

COOK: Claiming Joy: The Juneteenth Menu of My Momma’s Memories

LISTENHonor Juneteenth by listening to speeches by legendary Black activist Angela Davis on Spotify

CELEBRATEJuneteenth Black Family Reunion: The Music, The Moments, The Movement

EDUCATE: History of Juneteenth

SUPPORT: Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Juneteenth Fundraiser for NAACP

GM Update

June 10th, 2020

This weekend saw thousands of people descend upon Vermont town centers, both large and small, to use their collective voice to demand racial justice and plead for changes to systems long tilted away from equality. The Rutland Area Food Co-op is fundamentally a business but, at it’s heart, it is a member of the community it serves. Our Rutland area community is so immensely enriched by it’s diversity that we feel that we cannot stay silent.

My family and I were in attendance at the rally in Montpelier on Sunday and I would like to thank the members of our staff, our member/owner base, and our community that used their voice and their platform in search of justice, equality, and safety within our community and communities everywhere.

As a Co-op and as individuals, we are allies.
We will learn.
We will listen to those who experience things some of us are privileged enough to know nothing of.
We will grow from our missteps and our some times misplaced overzealousness.
We will approach every step of this with open minds and open hearts.

Together we can listen, together we can act, and together we can fight for racial equity.

TJ Allen
General Manager
Rutland Area Food Co-op
77 Wales St.
Rutland, VT 05701
802-773-0737

How is the Co-op doing during the first month of the COVID-19 Crisis?

Even in this crisis, the Rutland Co-op is not only thriving but surpassing projected sales due to our dedicated staff and wonderful community! It proves how essential small, community focused businesses are in challenging times.

We made up this timeline detailing how the Co-op was doing financially during the first few weeks of the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. Items in purple were actions that federal and local governments took that affected our business, and above in orange are the actions we took to better serve and protect our community.

March 2020 ended almost $30,000 higher in sales than in 2019. During this time of financial uncertainty this is amazing, especially considering that our management has allowed employees who weren’t comfortable working to stay home, giving them the opportunity to return when their situation allows. Those still working are powering through; constantly revising and adapting policies and procedures to reflect the State of Vermont and the CDC’s ever changing guidelines, and still giving you the best customer service possible. It hasn’t been easy, but it is our duty, as well as our honor, to continue to serve our community.

Thank you to our local distributors, farmers, and of course our Member-Owners, customers, and community members that allow us to help you each and every day.

We will get through this together!

Evening Song Trip, Jan. 2020

This past week TJ (GM), Melanie (Asst. GM), Kelly (Produce Manager), and Justin (Marketing Manager) had the pleasure of venturing up into the hills of Shrewsbury to visit Ryan and Kara of Evening Song Farm to see how they continue to give the Co-op fresh veggies, even in the depths of winter.
Evening Song Farm is perched on a hill looking down on the Mill River in Shrewsbury, where the original site of the farm was swept away in Hurricane Irene.  Since 2011, Evening Song has been able come back from the devestation of Irene to grow and expand their hillside farm, working towards and receiving Organic certification in 2018.

At the top of the dirt road you are met with a vista, bordered on the left with fields and the growing tunnels, and their barn/root cellar/CSA distribution/prep room on the right with a beautiful view of Mill River Valley.  In side the Prep Room is where Ryan and Kara, along with their dedicated staff, clean all of the produce.  Some goes to the Rutland Farmers Market, some to CSAs and some straight to our Produce cooler here at the Co-op.  

Each part of the farm has a piece of New England ingenuity, from a repurposed washing machine that spins greens, passive cooling in their root cellar – needing only the smallest amount of energy to keep things cool, even in the height of summer, to small fans directing air between the layers of plastic in the wind tunnels – ensuring necessary insulation to the ever growing greens housed there even to temperatures of -20 F; each part is well thought out, re-evalutated, and constantly improved.

This constant renewal was an interesting aspect of Organic Farming that we had not put our finger on before.  To be Certified Organic comes of course with guidelines and strict accounting of everything going into the plants being raised, but it also means that organic farmers must continue to innovate and look for more sustainable solutions.  Now that the farm has been successful for the past few years, Ryan is researching “no-till” farming, a soil-preservation process that he hopes to implement in the next 5 years.  Organic farming is not thinking solely about this growing season, but how to improve your processes over years, if not decades, of hard work.

It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to tour the farm, see the fresh greens growing in winter soil, and learn more about what it really means to be a Certified Organic farm in Vermont.  Thanks Ryan and Kara!

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