Week of Sept. 6– Sept. 12, 2009, Vol. 4, No. 31

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective*

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Openings  - Openings is a weekly feature of Co-op Circles. “We have a calling. We are the people who know what we need. What we need surrounds us. What we need is each other. And when we act together, we will find Our Way.” -  John McKnight http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=3849 Send your favourite quote about celebrating co-operatives, communities and a better world for all, to News1@nbnet.nb.ca  


This Week in Co-op Circles

§      From fresh garden produce to juicy steaks and sumptuous desserts, more than 4,300 Atlantic Canadians made September 4 a day to remember, as they followed through on the Eat Atlantic Challenge. Their pledge, made at www.eatatlantic.ca, was to eat only food from close to home for the entire day. Choosing Atlantic first helps strengthen our region’s environment, economy, and future. “With all the great food that we produce here in Atlantic Canada, it’s not surprising that so many people made this effort,” says John Harvie, CEO of Co-op Atlantic, which organized the event. “And there is no reason to stop at this one day. Eating Atlantic is a great choice every day.” This was the second year the region’s Co-op stores held the annual event. The event included a friendly competition among the Ministers of Agriculture for the four Atlantic provinces to see who would claim the most pledges. On a per capita basis, Prince Edward Island was the victor, with 644 Islanders pledging to eat Atlantic for the day. Nova Scotia had the most total pledges, with 2,098. In total, almost 4,500 Atlantic Canadians joined the Eat Atlantic Challenge. Co-op stores make it easy for people interested in where their food comes from, by tagging every Atlantic product on their shelves. As the enthusiasm for the Eat Atlantic Challenge shows, consumers are becoming more interested in where their food comes from, and it will be up to retailers to provide the products and information they need to act on their values, every day of the year.

§      The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is seeking 10 credit union professionals for a group technical assistance assignment in Ghana.  The group will participate in an orientation and travel to Africa together. The members of the team will all be well rounded and experienced credit union generalists, able to offer advice and assistance on all aspects of primary credit union management.  Candidates should be flexible, able to think on their feet, and have a broad range of experience to draw on.  Previous international experience is not necessary, but candidates should be in good health and able to travel under conditions that may be difficult.  This mission involves a commitment of three weeks (two in country) from mid to late January to February, 2010.  Some time will be required prior to the trip for vaccinations and other preparations.  Applicants are asked to consider this as a two year commitment. A follow up mission will take place the following year. Application deadline is Oct. 15. The bulk of the expenses for the mission will be borne by the Canadian Co-operative Association.  However, successful candidates will be expected to contribute $1,500 toward the cost of the mission.  Please visit www.coopscanada.coop for an application form and send it to Colleen Berrigan by email: colleen.berrigan@coopscanada.coop , by mail (address on application form) or fax: (613) 567-0658. CCA staff will review every application and select short-listed candidates for interviews. All interviewees will receive notification of acceptance/non acceptance by late October.

§      For the fifth year in a row, an independent survey of thousands of Canadians has shown that credit unions rank first in overall customer service excellence among all financial institutions. Credit unions also tied for first place across all financial institutions this year in the categories of Financial Planning and Advice, Recommend to Friends and Family, and Telephone Banking Excellence. The Synovate Customer Service Index (CSI) 2009 survey had almost 39,000 responses among a regionally and demographically representative sample of Canadians. The CSI survey has been conducted annually since 1987.  http://www.ns-credit-unions.com/default.asp?mn=

§      The Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie Literary Award has announced the 2009 winners for the Annual Award and the Richelieu Youth Award, during its 11th Award Ceremony.
The Annual Award was won by Germaine Comeau for her novel Laville, published by Éditions Perce-Neige. The winner received a certificate, a bronze metal plaque engraved with her name and a $4,000 grant. The Richelieu Youth Award was awarded to Pierre-André Doucet for his short story Kilométrage. The winner received a certificate along with a $1,000 grant. The award winners were revealed at the official award ceremony, which was held in August at the Édifice MARTIN-J.-LÉGÈRE of the Fédération des caisses populaires acadiennes, as part of the activities of the World Acadian Congress. Antonine Maillet, who lends her name to this award since its beginning, was present at the ceremony.

§      This summer Northumberland Co-op supported Western Valley Recreational Soccer in New Brunswick. The Western Valley Recreational Soccer league represents soccer teams from communities such as Plaster Rock, Perth-Andover, Bath, Florenceville-Bristol, Centreville, Hartland, Woodstock and Nackawic http://www.northumberlanddairy.ca/e/1000/Details.cfm?ID=59

§      OMISTA Credit Union in Moncton recently recognized staff member Susan Welling for her 25 years of service She has worked at the Mountain Road Branch since 2001 http://omista.com/

§      Social Enterprise Angels is inspired by the CBC television series, The Dragon’s Den, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to a panel of investors in hopes of securing funding for their venture. Social Enterprise Angels uses a similar model to demonstrate and promote the value of financial investment in social enterprise. The event will feature three of Canada's top social entrepreneurs, selected from among a pool of nation-wide applicants. These selected social entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their social enterprise to a panel of judges, or “Angels” in front of a live audience, in hopes of securing up to $30,000 for their projects.   For details, see:  www.enterprisingnonprofits.ca/enpupdate/social-enterprise-angels-anges-des-entreprises-sociales.


Trends - An article in this month’s Coopérateur Agricole (published by Coop Fédérée in Quebec) shed some light on something that both surprised me and then did not surprise me at all. Colette LeBel, director of co-operative affairs at Fédérée, writes about the increasing land speculation taking place throughout the world on arable land. It is not just the Chinese (who have 7% of the world’s agricultural land yet have to feed 20% of the population), but private and public investors who are buying up farmland on the sole motivation that the price will increase. We are not talking about Cavendish Farms buying land in PEI either. We are talking tens of thousands of hectares at a time, in countries like Sudan and Congo. LeBel raises many of the questions that are being asked: what happens to the locals who are on the land before it is sold? What happens if the land, used to feed locals, is suddenly sold to a multinational to produce biofuels...or food for export? What happens to the locals if proceeds from the sale go to a corrupt government? And of course, the speculators, who may hold on to land until the ‘right price’ is paid. Should landowners form co-operatives? Read here: http://www.lacoop.coop/cooperateur/chroniques/pause-pensee/2009/09_ENG.asp Ron Levesque


Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree - Registration for the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) Institute is currently open. Its annual Co-operative Training and Education Institute focuses on environmental issues this year, with the title “In Our Backyards: Defending the Environmental Commons.” Some subsidies are available for persons with financial restrictions. The conference takes place from November 6-8 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more and/or register at http://www.nasco.coop/institute/ - Erin Hancock


Co-op Ed 101 - With all the media coverage lately in Atlantic Canada around Eat Local, I was wondering about other Canadian co-operatives and their promotion of local food. Here, in Ontario, is one example http://www.niagaralocalfoodcoop.ca/ The Niagara Local Food Co-operative is an innovative marketing and distribution system for local farmers, agricultural producers, and consumers. Essentially, it is a virtual farmers’ market. Instead of driving to the market on specific days, or driving from farm to farm, you can order online at your convenience. Every second week, you can pick up the foods you selected in one convenient location. Items for sale include, but is not limited to, local vegetables, fruit, meats, home cured proscuitto, honey, nuts, artisan breads, and vinifera flour. All products are grown or produced by co-op members. –– Maureen MacLean


Co-op Community Bulletin Board

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§      Sept 24, 2009 - LUNCHBOX SPEAKERS’ SERIES - September Speakers’ Panel - Water Justice - noon – 1:30 pm, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Room 12-199. Speakers: Joe Cressy… is the Campaigns Coordinator for the Polaris Institute.  He will discuss the issue of bottled water and the need for public water infrastructure, both in Canada and internationally; Nancy Goucher... is the Program Coordinator for the Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW).  She will discuss efforts to protect our critical fresh water resources, emphasizing the necessity of having all levels of government work together as part of a Canada-wide strategy to effectively address current and emerging threats to fresh water security; Mark Cazavara… is the regional organizer (Ontario/Quebec) for The Council of Canadians, and he will talk about dumpsite 41 in Toronto as it relates to water source protection, scarcity and the human right to clean water. For more information, contact Lisa White at secspeaker@oise.utoronto.ca or visit http://socialeconomy.utoronto.ca This event will also be webcast live on the Internet.  Please see website for detailed instructions.

§      Sept 25-26, 2009 – Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Co-operatives Annual General Meeting and Co-op Conference, Holiday Inn, St. John’s, NL As part of the event, NLFC is partnering with the Petty Harbour Fishermen’s Co-op which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary.  This year’s dinner and entertainment will take place in Petty Harbour- Maddox Cove on Saturday evening.    

§      Nov 19-21, 2009 Canadian Worker Co-op AGM and Conference, Moncton, NB


Contest of the WeekLast week’s contest: We had 2 interesting entries: Kathy Day, Just Us! Coffee Roasters, NS,  and Larraine Perry, NB Answer: Red the Leaf,  Brad the Nail, Patty the Hamburger, Sandy the Beach, Bill the Five-spot, Mark the Pen, Lori the truck (English word for truck is lorry), Carrie the Basket  and this slight variation: Rustle (Russell) the Leaf, Brad the Nail, Patty the Hamburger, Sandy the Beach, Buck the Five-spot, Mark the Pen, Lorry (Laurie) the Truck, Carry (Carrie) the Basket. This week’s contest: The following list of words can be arranged into four groups, with three words per group. Part of the teaser is to figure out why they can be grouped like this. BACK, DECO, FEAT, HAND, HERB, NESS, OVER, PING, RAIN, RATE, SLAP, SOME Hint: The three words in each group can be combined into one 12-letter word. Please keep those entries coming! Everyone who enters has their name placed in the contest can for the month end drawing. The Contest entry deadline each week is Tuesday, 12 noon. Send your entry to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca.


Co-op CookingNova Scotia blueberries are in every market at this time of year or you can stop at a favourite spot beside the road and pick enough to make dessert. There are many traditional recipes for these wonderful small, blue berries. Here is a recipe which gives a new twist to an old favourite called Blueberry Grunt. If you do not have fresh berries you can substitute frozen ones in most recipes, including this one. Originally a steamed dish, the recipe earned its name because the pot was said to give a soft “grunt” when the lid was lifted at the end of cooking.

Baked Blueberry Grunt

6 cups wild blueberries

3/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar, divided

1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp cold butter

1 cup milk

2 cups French Vanilla ice cream (optional)

In large saucepan, combine blueberries, 3/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, juice and spices. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Place in 8-cup baking dish. Combine flour, baking powder, remaining sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Stir in just enough milk to make a soft dough (about 1 cup). Divide dough into 8 equal portions and place on top of blueberry mixture. Bake at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes (until biscuits are firm and no longer doughy.) Blueberry mixture will thicken slightly during cooking. Place one biscuit in serving dish and spoon blueberry mixture over. Serve with ice cream if desired.- Glenna Weagle


Our Readers Write - Tell us what you think. Send news, events and information for the Co-op Community Bulletin Board. Suggest features you think might be beneficial to people reading Co-op Circles. We want this electronic newsletter to serve you (be sure to include your e-mail and phone number). Send your item(s), comments and suggestions to News1@nbnet.nb.ca

§      Mr Levesque said that ‘None of these actions help the end cause’ and in so many ways this is true, but if that’s all we have then at least the message is getting spread and there is an awakening to the facts of what is up and happening. So many people believe but do not think they can make a change. The Co-operative movement is a wonderful thing – it needs to be brought up to date  in order to survive but it is possible. But those in control, be it in big business or Co-operatives,  don’t see it and they act the same way - bottom line feeders. Sad but true. – SM, NB


Co-op Circles is part of Rising Tide Collective’s commitment to the Co-op Principles of Co-op Education and Concern for Community. This electronic newsletter is published every week. It is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in co-operative and community development in Atlantic Canada and around the world. We will be happy to put you on our Co-op Circles mailing list. We are proud that co-operators from Canada, the U.S, England, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand are part of our Circle. To subscribe: circles1@nbnet.nb.ca or to unsubscribe: circles2@nbnet.nb.ca  Tell your friends about it. Please e-mail us with your questions, suggestions and memories at News1@nbnet.nb.ca

Thanks to the Marie Michael Library, Coady International Institute, for archiving Co-op Circles. http://www.mystfx.ca/coady-library/coop_circles/index.htm Next Co-op Circles: Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009


Rising Tide Collective* - Erin Hancock, Ron Levesque, Brenda MacKinnon, Maureen MacLean, Glenna Weagle