What the New Economy Means to Valley Green Feast

valley_green_feast_logoWe asked Valley Green Feast Collective to share their thoughts on the new economy and how it intersects with their work. Valley Green Feast is a local foods delivery service based in Western Massachusetts.

Here’s what they had to say.

By Ally Sterling

Valley Green Feast Collective is a worker-owned cooperative and we are committed to being apart of the new economy. To us building the new economy means creating and engaging with a system that is environmentally, socially, and economically just.

We recognize that capitalism is not the best option because it does not acknowledge the ecological challenges we are facing, and it favors profit and exploitation over people and our planet. We are in dire need of a system that addresses these issues and that fosters growth, learning, equality, adaptation and cooperation.

At Valley Green Feast, one of the ways we are creating and engaging with the new economy is by operating as a worker-owned cooperative. This means that we govern ourselves in a non-hierarchical, consensus-based fashion.

We are cultivating a food system that shifts the power balance from industrial control back to local and community control. We support local farms and producers that are part of our local food economy, and we work with them to offer seasonal fruits and vegetables to our customers. We also offer other organic, local, and fair trade products such as coffee, tea, chocolate, baked goods, meat, cheese, fermented goods, and so much more. valley_green_feast_veggies

By sourcing local farmers, using organic and fair trade products, and offering low-income discounts for our customers, we minimize environmental impacts and strengthen our new economy. As Mother Earth News outlined, the benefits of food delivery cannot be understated.

As part of our mission, we continue to envision environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives to our current food system. It is critical for the movement to acknowledge how the intersections of class and race inequalities permeate the food system, from production to distribution to consumption.

Our current economy embraces policies and structures that are systematically oppressive—from corrupt agricultural and land-use initiatives to the scarcity of sustainable local food systems in low-income communities of color. We must dismantle these inequalities in order to ensure food justice.

These are changes that need to happen in the food system at large to help up build a sustainable, equitable new economy.

Another aspect of the work we do to strengthen the new economy movement is our recent partnership and collaboration with two other worker-owned cooperatives. We have been collaborating with the farm cooperative Stone Soup based in Western Massachusetts, and Boston Collective Delivery, a bicycle courier cooperative in the city, to expand our service and the new economy into Boston. By doing so, we are not only reducing carbon emissions by delivering by bicycle, we have also created the first closed cooperative loop inside the United States (that we know of—we hope there are more!).

We are inspired by the inter-cooperative ethos of the Mondragon Cooperative in Spain, and we are excited to help the local food movement shift increasingly towards a new economy. The significance of continuing to develop this kind of system is fourfold. It embodies the imperative principles of the new economy: cooperation, participation, social and environmental responsibility, and innovation.

Valley Green Feast Collective’s mission is is to support local farms and producers, to help their products reach consumers, and to make local, healthy, delicious food as accessible as possible to a wide range of consumers. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Image credit: Rebekah Hanlon Photography

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