Looking to the Future: Amherst Food Co-op transitioning to new name, “Common Share Food Co-op”

Dear member-owners and co-op supporters,

We are excited to announce our new name: the Common Share Food Co-op!

I’d like to extend a thank you to all member-owners who submitted suggestions and voted on the top choices. As your community co-op, we are committed to upholding a fair democratic process in our decision-making and we value everyone’s opinion.

You may be wondering, “What was wrong with Amherst Food Co-op?”

It’s not at all unusual for co-op start-ups to adopt a new name as they progress towards opening a store*. While Amherst Food Co-op has served us well, we want a name that we can carry proudly into the next phases of development. We want to ensure that our name strongly aligns with our mission to create a grocery store owned by workers and consumers that draws together the diverse communities of the Amherst area in an inclusive space supporting food justice and local resilience.

As many of you know, Amherst is named for a discredited historical figure who committed racist acts and genocide against indigenous people**. While the name also represents a beloved town, we cannot ignore the history of oppression and colonization that the name symbolizes. We feel we cannot build a strong foundation for an inclusive space that supports food justice and local resilience using this name.

Additionally, we want a name that reflects the fact that our co-op community extends beyond the Amherst town limits. We want everyone in our greater community to feel welcome and have equal access to fresh local food, quality health and personal care products, beer and wine, and an inclusive community gathering space. Our new name honors our mission and guiding principles to ensure that everyone has a fair share in access to healthy food and co-op governance.

Thank you for your understanding during this transition. Please stay tuned as we embark on a rebranding campaign. We look forward to reaching our next milestones as the Common Share Food Co-op!

 

Thank you,

Emily Chiara
Community Engagement Coordinator

* The FCI Guide to Starting a Food Co-op https://www.fci.coop/sites/default/files/Startup%20guide-02.2017.pdf

**Jeffery Amherst and Smallpox Blankets
https://people.umass.edu/derrico/amherst/lord_jeff.html

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