It’s always nice to hear from your friends and neighbors. Learn more about why The Androscoggin Food Co-op’s member-owners and Board of Directors are so passionate about opening a community-owned food co-op grocery store in the Berlin / Gorham area.
The people of the Androscoggin Valley have had a long and storied history of pulling together toward a common goal when asked. This spirit of cooperation and community is being called on once again.
The Androscoggin Food Co-op is looking to harness that spirit and build a full service, cooperative grocery store in the valley that will be fully-owned by members of the community. Already over 300 households have become member-owners of the co-op, working toward the day we can all say, “We own it!”
Much of the timeline leading up to site selection and store buildout depends on people in the community first joining the co-op. So we always ask our new members,
“Why did YOU choose to join?”
Each year, prior to the Androscoggin Food Co-op Annual Meeting, all fully-paid Member-owners of the Co-op are invited to vote online for the AFC Board of Directors.
Our Directors are active co-op members, volunteering their time to grow the Androscoggin Food Co-op community.
Randolph, High School Science Teacher
Why a Co-op? Our co-op is important to me because, like many people, I am interested in bringing a strong, healthy food market to the Berlin-Gorham area. So many people I know, myself included, keep a cooler in the back of the car so they can shop at Co-ops and quality grocery stores as they head home from places other than here. This is so sad. There is no doubt that our residents and our guests would prefer to shop nearer to home.
Berlin, Retired Non-Profit Administrator
Why a Co-op? I joined the co-op because I see the direct relationship between food and health. I am excited to be part of a group committed to ensuring access for all to high quality, fresh food, locally and regionally sourced. I’m also delighted that our co-op’s vision is to work closely with farmers and producers, while offering fair wages and excellent working conditions to employees. Great basis for a business!
Berlin, Environmental Services Manager, Coos County Nursing Home for 30+ years
Why a co-op? It was important for me to join our co-op because I feel that there is a tremendous need for more access in our area to not only healthy food but other essential grocery items as well and the idea of building our own community owned and operated store seems to be the perfect way to fill that need.
Milan, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the City of Berlin
Why a co-op? The idea of a coop came to me while with a friend talking about the lack of options for groceries in our area and we had a lightbulb kind of moment where we each came to the same conclusion; in order to have a say in our options we needed a member owned food coop! We are lucky to have a lot of people who feel similarly and we are all working hard to bring this idea to reality. Local ownership and control over a store that will bring fresh and affordable food options is important in an area that does not have a lot of options – this is a project worth working hard to make happen. Strengthening our local supply chain by relying on local farmers and producers will help our local economy as well. There are so many reasons to invest in our region and ourselves, join us!
Randolph, Retired family physician, MD
Why a co-op? I dream of a commercial organization, comprised of owner-members, local vendors, quality products produced locally, shoppers and workers (frequently owner-members) all treated with respect and dignity, as fellow human beings. No shareholders or investors to dictate policy from afar, based exclusively on financial incentives, and the salary of the highest paid employee is keyed to that of the lowest paid worker. Wow! No winners and losers. Volunteers are treasured.
This is the America I dream of and the reason I want to be a small part of making this dream a reality where I live. I see the Androscoggin Food Co-op as a chance.
Why a co-op? During our lives, we realize the importance of a healthy diet. Here in the Androscoggin Valley, we find ourselves with limited access to affordable and nutritious food. We live in a “food desert.” The coronavirus pandemic made all of us aware of the fragility of our food supply system. The Androscoggin Food Co-op will provide quality, locally-sourced food for sale at a local business run by its member-owners.
Gorham, Web Designer & Photographer, Owner of Wild Roots
Why a co-op?! Access to local, healthy food options (produce, especially!) is a local issue worthy of our effort and attention. A co-op that provides affordable and nutritious food options year-round for our community would be an incredible step forward. I also believe it would serve to strengthen our sense of community overall in the Androscoggin Valley — our residents matter and we deserve better. Supporting local farmers is a real bonus too! I love this area and want to see it thrive and continue to attract people to live/work/play/stay here.