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Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of...
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Food for Thought

Board Beet
By Your Board on December 12, 2013

This past October, a group of about 30 owners and employees had the good fortune to participate in a national screening of Food for Change, a film produced, written and directed by Steve Alves.                                                                   

The film was screened simultaneously across the country and was seen by a lot of folks interested in why the co-operative movement has been so involved in food production, distribution and stores.


Outpost was one of many co-sponsors of the film and the money given was used to finalize the production.  Thus, we do have a stake in this fascinating history of the first flowerings of the cooperative movement in the United States.  Archival footage was used extensively, as were interviews with current food co-operative employees and owners.  I love archival films and photos, as they force me to constantly compare people in communities just like our own, but in different times and places.


A major theme present in this history was the success of co-ops during the Depression, when people were destitute, starving and often unemployed. That success lasted until the beginning of World War II when the entire economy was up-ended by the need for wartime manufacturing. After the war, co-ops were tarnished by false allegations of communist collaboration, which of course served the purpose of crushing them as a competitive force in postwar America. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the co-operative movement in the food industry again began to crawl out of hibernation.


I would strongly recommend viewing this film, which gives a wonderful sense of historical perspective. Alves, who also has produced a film detailing the destruction of small, local economies by the destructive powers of chain and big-box stores, has an accurate finger on the pulse of what is wrong with American retail sectors. Food for Change also provides a strong motivation to each of us to affirm the need for co-operative affiliation and participation to help counter the overwhelming power of corporate interests which have no interest in you or me, or our health or economic security. This film has the potential to give each of us a small way to pull our local economy into a stronger place.


– Nancy Ettenheim, director


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