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.

Squash Toasts with Ricotta & Cider Vinegar

Rutland Area Food Co-op Members vote to adopt Patronage Refund System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 7th, 2018
Contact: Zach Stevens, General Manager
management@rutlandcoop.com
(802) 773-0737

Rutland Area Food Co-op Members vote to adopt Patronage Refund System

RUTLAND, Vermont- June 7th, 2018 – On Wednesday night, between 130-150 Rutland Area Food Co-op members, staff and their families attended the 24th Annual Member Meeting & Celebration, held on the lawn abutting the Co-op. Three local vendors, whose products are available at the Co-op, joined the Meeting, sampling their locally made products; TreTap of Fairfax, VT; One:29 Living Foods of Salem, NY; and The Vermont Spätzle Company of Arlington, VT. Miss Guided Angels supplied the musical accompaniment, while Olivia’s Market, catered with fantastic meat, veggie, and gluten-free lasagnas, along with the Co-op Kitchen who prepared salads. Members brought along potluck desserts to round out the dinner.
Chris Littler, Treasurer of the Co-op Board; Hannah Abrams, Facilitator of the Co-op Board; and Zach Stevens, General Manager, spoke to the members and staff on the health of the business, plans for expansion, and the introduction of a Member Loan program to be rolled out in September 2018.
The Rutland Co-op has over 2100 members, adding an additional 351 during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Sales for the 2017-2018 fiscal year were $2,149,242.22, down $5,674.83, but due to better management of product purchasing and intense budget watching, the Co-op is estimating profits of $50,000, $5,000 more than the 2016-2017 fiscal year. This continues a trend of increasing profits and lower operational costs for the Co-op.
Mr. Littler remarked, “Last year when I gave an estimate for our profits, I said we would be making a fiscally conservative estimate between $25,000 to $30,000 in profits. We ended up making $44,787.66. This year we have, from a very conservative estimate, close to $50,000 in profits.”
Ms. Abrams mentioned her thanks to Mark Foley, the Co-op’s landlord, for his consistent support of the Co-op and with his help in planning the expansion. She also remarked that the Co-op has hired a Cooperative consultant to help prepare a financial pro-forma in relation to the future, as well as hiring a project manager to help identify issues, possibilities, and cost analysis as part of the renovation. Ms. Abrams also announced that the board would be starting a Member Loan program to raise funds needed for the expansion/renovation of the store, setting a goal of raising $400,000.
Mr. Stevens thanked the staff members of the Co-op, stating, “The people that work here have an ability to adjust on they fly, stay positive, and are extremely resourceful, this is a driving factor in our successes.”
Co-op member and Mayor of Rutland, VT, David Allaire, was also in attendance, agreeing with a staff member that the Rutland Co-op is an important part of the Rutland community, employing 18-21 full time and part time staff.
Near the close of the meeting, Larry Gold, a founding Co-op member and the gracious M.C. for the event asked everyone to make sure they voted on the Patronage Refund System. This system, which allows the Co-op Board to allocate profits first to improvements and financial needs of the Co-op, and then pass dividends onto the members. This would replace the 2% up front member discount at the register. When the ballots were counted, the resolution passed, with a near unanimous 72-1 vote in favor of adopting the Patronage Refund System, which will be implemented at the start of the next fiscal year, April 1st, 2019.
Mr. Stevens wrapped his speech pointing out, “We are enthusiastic not only for our future but the future of all Downtown Rutland.”

New things in Tea and Bulk for March!

We have some new additions in the Tea and Bulk departments this month!

T E A

Memory Tea

Contains powerful memory enhancing herbs and anti-oxidants.  Fruity, clean tat.  Ginkgo leaf, hibiscus flower, eleuthero root, gotu kola herb, parsley flakes, alfalfa leaf, bilberry leaf, and ginger root.

Chrysanthemum tea

Organic white chrysanthemum flowers.  Mildly sweet, refreshing taste.  It is cooling so very nice in the summer.  Steep 3-5 flowers at 90°-95°C (194°-203°F) in 250ml of water for 2-4 minutes.

H E R B S

Meadowsweet

Filipendula ulmaria (aka meadowsweet) is high in salicylic acid which relieves pain, especially of the stagnant type (in a fixed location, possible pounding sensation, heat Symptoms, etc.).  It is also anti-inflammatory.  Some people find it helpful for stomach aches, acid reflux, headaches, and arthritis pain.

CAUTIONS FOR THE FOLLOWING USERS:

  • Children under 16 years old who have flu or chickenpox symptoms (due to the possibility of a rare, but serious condition names Reye’s syndrome)
  • People with asthma (may stimulate bronchial spasms)
  • People allergic to aspirin

Disclaimer: WE ARE NOT MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS. 

As always, we give you this information as a starting point, but we encourage you to talk with your medical professional before using any herbal remedies to treat any symptoms and/or conditions.  They are best able to consult with you about the benefits and possible side effects/harmful interactions that can occur and are best able to guide you with effective treatments.

CBD at the Co-op

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, nor do I practice law.  The effects and benefits of CBD infused foods, oils, and other products are still being researched in the scientific community  and so the information in this post may not be relevant at a future date.  Before using CBD products, you should talk to your medical professional, especially if you have further concerns or more in-depth questions.  Also know that there may be trace amounts of THC present in the products that we sell, which are all tested to be in line with Federal Guidelines for legal CBD sales.  

So, to start, what is CBD?  

CBD (short for cannabidiol) refers to the non-psycho active chemicals contained in the cannabis plant.  THC, the other major group of chemicals in cannabis, is the more famous one here and the most active ingredient in marijuana.  So let’s talk about THC first.

Marijuana and Hemp are two members of the cannabis family, with marijuana being cultivated over time for its mind-altering properties (increasing the amount of THC present in the plant), while hemp has, for the most part, stayed the same.  THC is responsible for affecting your movement and coordination, as well as thought processes, appetite and emotions.

Whereas, CBD positively affects pain relief, has anti-inflammatory properties and is not psychoactive.  There is research where CBD is being evaluated in its effectiveness in treating epilepsy, cancer, anxiety and Type 1 Diabetes.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) CBD is not harmful, has health benefits, and does not have abuse potential.  CBD naturally occurs in our bodies while also found in broccoli and kale and other vegetables.  The Huffington Post wrote that “the biggest selling point for the surging popularity of CBD is that it is non-euphoric.”  This means that CBD-infused products do not have the “high” that comes with marijuana, because of its near non-existent amount of THC.  Now this comes of course with the caveat that everyone’s bodies are different, and so people can react differently.  If you have any concerns about how CBD-infused products will affect you, please reach out your medical professional.

Our CBD products come in the form of honey, roll on pain relief sticks, essential oil, candy, lip balm, dietary supplements, edible salves, massage oils, bath salts, and even deodorant!!

Is it legal?

YES!  At the time of this writing, for CBD to be legal in the eyes of the Federal Government, it must contain levels of THC at or lower than .3%.  All the products we sell meet or are lower than this .3% threshold and are tested by independent third-party companies to meet this standard.

What CBD products do you sell? 

We sell products from these companies:

Elmore Mountain Therapeutics

Green Mountain CBD

Green Mountain Hemp Company

Luce Farm Vermont 

Nutty Steph’s

Sources:

Medical News Today

WebMD

Luce Farm Vermont 

Elmore Mountain Therapeutics

Huffington Post

Introducing the Patronage Refund System

Dear Co-op Members,

Since 1995 the Rutland Area Food Co-op has served as the leading food cooperative of the greater Rutland region. Over the years, we’ve supported our local farmers and food producers, our community organizations and given back to our beloved member-owners.

However, along the way we haven’t always prioritized reinvestment back into our co-op. Often, this makes it difficult for us to carry out basic store needs such as purchasing new equipment, making store repairs, and preparing for the future.

In order for us to remain stable and continue to grow, we’ve recognized the need to do things differently. We need a smart approach for reinvesting our profits while still rewarding faithful members for their support.

That’s why most food co-ops today – nearly all in Vermont, actually – have adopted what’s called the patronage refund system. With this approach, a return of excess profits are distributed back to members each year. But first, the co-op reinvests a portion of the profits back into the business. That way, we’re helping to ensure that the co-op is financially sound and can carry out what needs to be done to meet member needs, whether it be installing a new floor, purchasing a properly working freezer, or expanding the business to offer a greater selection of products.

After the co-op’s needs are accounted for, the remaining profits are distributed back to you, our members, in the form of a check. Each year, the board sets what percentage of profits are to be returned to members. This money is then divvied up among the members based on their patronage at the co-op throughout the year. In other words, the more members shops at the co-op, the more they will get back.

Of course, the co-op must first have a profitable year in order for this to happen. If we’re not doing well, we simply cannot afford to give a discount. Some years, when our needs are high, we might have to reinvest all of the profits back into the business. Though in other years, when our needs are less, more profits can go back to members.

Unfortunately, like most co-ops when they first started, we prioritized giving back over profitability. And we’ve done this through a discount on every member purchase since our very first days. Although this is just a two percent discount, over the course of a year, this adds up to thousands of dollars. Since 1995, this has no doubt added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the switch to the patronage system, this discount would go away and instead, refund checks would be issued in its place. We would continue to offer our member only sales.

The patronage refund system is a not a new concept. Food co-ops that have implemented this structure find themselves in good financial standing and are able to more easily grow to meet member needs and demands. The patronage system puts the needs of all co-op members first and helps safeguard the continued success of the business. As co-op members, we all benefit from this approach.

Over the course of the next few months keep an eye out as we provide additional information about the patronage refund system. Please let us know your questions and allow us to explain why we believe this change is in the best interest of the Rutland Area Food Co-op. In June, we will hold a vote on the matter at our annual meeting and we hope you will consider voting in support.

Interested in learning more? Stop by the Co-op on Wednesday, February 7th, between 3 and 5, to chat with board members Matt Poli and Steve Peters. More opportunities to talk with board members will come in the next few months. Keep an eye out in the newsletter for dates and times.

You can also send us your questions via email at board@rutlandcoop.com.

Sincerely,

The Rutland Area Food Coop’s Board of Directors

Vote yes for patronage!

October is Co-op Month

Rutland Area Food Co-op is Committed to Our Community

Join in the National Celebration of Co-op Month this October

This October, the Rutland Area Food Co-op is joining over 30,000 co-ops and credit unions across the United States in celebrating Co-op Month, observed nationally since 1964. This year, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International has chosen “Co-operatives Commit” as the theme for the month, highlighting the many ways that co-ops are committed to their communities.

Locally, the Rutland Area Food Co-op employs 19 individuals, 13 full-time and 6 part-time. In 2016 we paid $410,364.00 in wages and $6,980.35 in benefits. 35% of our spending in 2016 was made to local business, which totalled to be $484,195.00. We believe in giving back to organizations and events that align with our mission and in 2016, $4,130.00 was donated. This month, to spread our commitments, we are giving away a selection of local, fair trade, and sustainable products. Along with this, tasting events throughout the month will be held to build the awareness of some of our fair trade and local food products. Information on the giveaway and events can be found on Facebook.

“When you shop at your local food co-op, you’re getting more than good food for you and your family,” said Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA). “You are also joining with other people in the community to build local ownership, provide good jobs, support sustainability, and build stronger, more vibrant communities.”

For example, the NFCA includes more than 35 food co-ops and start-ups, locally owned by more than 130,000 people. Together, these co-ops employ over 2,000 people, generate revenues of more than $315 million, and purchase more than $60 million from local producers each year. In addition, a recent survey found that member co-ops demonstrate their commitment to their communities in a wide variety of ways including programs supporting local producers, food security, sustainability, education for young people, and collaboration with local community organizations.

From food co-ops to farmer co-ops, worker co-ops to credit unions, and housing co-ops to energy co-ops, co-operatives operate across our communities and the economy. Co-ops are also more common than you might think: Here in the United States, 1 in 3 people are members of at least one co-op or credit union. Nationwide, co-operatives create 2.1 million jobs and generate more than $650 billion in sales and other revenue annually. Because they are member-owned, co-ops enable people from all walks of life to work together to build a better world.

You may be surprised by how many cooperative made products we sell, including dairy products from Cabot Creamery Co-op and Organic Valley, fairly traded coffee, tea and chocolate from Equal Exchange, naturally fermented vegetables from Real Pickles, Northeast Grown frozen fruits and vegetables from your Neighboring Food Co-ops — and many others.

For more examples of how co-ops are committed to their communities, please visit www.nfca.coop.


About the Rutland Area Food Co-op

The Rutland Area Food Co-op is a member-owned community market. We prioritize local, whole, certified organic foods and healthy products for the home, body and earth. Since the Co-op was opened in 1995, we have upheld the same cooperative principles:voluntary and open membership, democratic, member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, cooperation among co-ops, and concern for community.

FLOWER ESSENCES-NEW PRODUCT FOR US AND MAYBE NEW TO YOU TOO

Flower essences are a product that are somewhat new to us at the co-op, and it hasn’t been all that uncommon to hear people ask, “What are flower essences?” So, here is a bit of information that we hope can help you understand and get to know these products better.

These products may often be confused with tinctures or essential oils, but although they come from plants, flower essences are a product of their own. With these products, the plant is not harvested or disturbed in the process of being made. Flower essences come from the flowering part of a plant. They are made by the flowers floating in container of pure water in the sun, then they are strained and used in a solution of water and brandy. The brandy is used as a preservative and to keep the essences stabilized.

Flower essences are used to help with a particular emotional, spiritual, or physical problem a person may have. They are the energy or vibration of the flower in liquid form. Flower essences  hold a pattern for harmonious living, and by taking the essences you can align with that pattern. Essences should be taken daily for results to be noticed and taking them more frequently throughout the day gives a stronger response, rather than taking more drops all at once. Suggested use is about four drops in a bit of water 2-4 times a day, or 10-12 drops in your water bottle that you sip throughout the day.

For any other questions that you may have, stop in and ask Julie or Helena!


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Spring Refresh. How to Restock Your Pantry For Success.

With spring upon us, its time to do a little cleaning out and restocking of the pantry. A well stocked pantry prevents last-minute trips to

the store or settling for takeout instead of cooking a healthy meal. When you have the basics, you’re ready to go with whatever fresh produce and proteins you pick up on your weekly shopping trip.

Make it a habit

Make it routine to have a thoughtful look through your pantry on a monthly basis. Set a reminder on your phone if you need to. Then post a list near your pantry with everything you have in stock. Note anything that may be missing. From there, circle items as you run out and add them to your shopping list right away. It may help to make your list on a small whiteboard or chalkboard to easily edit as needed. You could do the same for your fridge and freezer – especially the freezer. Despite our best intentions, it always seems to become a black hole.

Have a plan

Make a plan for anything you find yourself not using. Pick out a recipe to for that aging jar of apple butter or all of those wheat berries you thought were such a good idea to stock up on. If you don’t intend to use something in the near future, consider donating it to a local food shelf. At the front of the Co-op we have a bin where we collect items for the Community Cupboard. You’re more than welcome to drop off your unopened, non-perishable donations with us.

Keep things tidy

On the organizing end, there are a couple of methods that can help you keep track of your basics. Glass canning jars are awesome. You can always see what you have, and how much, without opening up and sorting through bags and boxes. Storing similar ingredients together also helps. For example, group baking supplies in one spot in the pantry; grains, beans and pasta together somewhere else; and oils and vinegar in their own area. You could even find use some inexpensive bins to separate the items by category.

What should you keep in your pantry? While this will depend on what it is you like to cook and eat, below are some basics we like to keep on hand. It’s neither a comprehensive list or one that is too expensive to acquire. But it’s a good start for a well equipped, ready-to-go pantry. Now’s the time to stock up and get organized!

Check out our Spring Pantry Refresh Sale
throughout the month of March

Download Your Own PDF Copy

 

fair trade banana

What Happens When You Choose Equal Exchange Bananas

Bananas are such a staple in our day to day diets that we’re likely to take them for granted. According to the USDA, Americans eat 26 pounds of bananas each year. Wow! While many of us recognize and value the goods produced from the small farms in our own community, how often do we stop to think about how such a ubiquitous food like the banana is grown?

Even though bananas may all look relatively similar, they’re not all produced equally. At the Rutland Co-op we’re proud to carry Equal Exchange’s Fair Trade organic bananas. March is Equal Exchange Banana Month and a great time to look at what sets these bananas apart from the masses.

 

Thirty years ago, Equal Exchange set out to create a better trade deal for small farmers in developing countries. Through Fair Trade practices, small farmers are able to gain collective power and financial stability. Now, thanks to their efforts, 1,150 small farms in Ecuador and Peru are producing 1,000 cases of fairly traded bananas each week. The bananas are exported by farmer cooperatives, allowed to ripen, and are then transported to 350 food coops and local grocery stores across the United States.

 

 

Mariana Cobos is one Ecuadorian banana farmer that struggled to run her business when traditional banana brokers didn’t pay her a fair wage. Yet they were her only option until joining the El Guabo Cooperative. El Guabo is one of Equal Exchange’s producer partners and today has more than 450 small scale banana farm members. Each is committed to improving their quality of life as well as that of their community. Since joining the co-op in 2008, Mariana was able to receive a fair price for her bananas and now grows more than 28 acres worth.

In 2016, over 15 million Equal Exchange bananas were sold, with more than two million dollars paid directly to the small farms that grew them Additional proceeds, part of a social premium, went back into the farm communities to help fund social programs such as health care, schools and infrastructure projects. Members of the farm cooperative have the ability to vote on how the Fair Trade premium is used.

Equal Exchange is radically changing the banana industry for the better and we hope you’ll consider purchasing their bananas and helping to support fair trade and economic development. Although we may be thousands of miles from these banana farms, your purchase still has the power to make a difference in the lives of real people.

In celebration of Equal Exchange Banana Month we’re offering bananas at 99¢ per pound all this month.

Learn more about Equal Exchange.

 

 

 

 

 

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