Happy October! The leaves are at peak fall color, orange and red and brilliant above our heads and crunching underfoot. Every warm day we enjoy a little bit more than usual since it might be the last one for some time, and it's still been warm enough that we haven't had a hard frost - but we know it's coming. We're still getting used to all the rhythms of the new school year, but we're well on our way, and thinking about the holiday season doesn't seem quite as far away as it did a little while ago. There's a lot going on this month - and we're not talking about trick or treating! We're celebrating three month-long events and one very important day here at Harmony during the month of October.
October is Co-op Month around the world. Originally formed by people in your community who wanted access to healthy, delicious, eco-friendly foods, co-ops remain community-owned to this day. Co-ops – or cooperatives – are owned by the people they serve, democratically controlled by their members (usually through a board of directors elected by their members), and designed to allow people to work together to achieve the same goals (that is, to cooperate). We're all about cooperation here at Harmony! Becoming an owner lets you contribute to the direction of the co-op and participate in the decision-making process, through voting for the Board of Directors or by running for the board yourself.
October isn't just Co-op Month, though. It's also Fair Trade Month, and that's another concept that's very important to all of us here at Harmony. This year we'll be celebrating by running a month-long sale on Equal Exchange's Fair Trade Coffee from October 4th-October 31st! It's also Non-GMO Month during October. "Non-GMO" means "not genetically modified", and if you eat organic food you're already eating non-GMO food (it's one of the qualifications for organic certification).
The most important celebration here at Harmony in October is Indigenous People's Day, on October 9th. As a locally owned cooperative we celebrate the cultures that shape who we are as a community, particularly local food systems, ways of sustainable living, and respect for the land & water. We are offering a one-day-only sale for October 9th on some items in the store with historical importance to indigenous as well as settler communities.
Harmony Co-op recognizes that Bemidji sits within Ojibwe territory. The Ojibwe Language Project works alongside greater community endeavors to revitalize and maintain the Ojibwe language for future generations of Ojibwe people as well as raise awareness of language loss and revitalization efforts. In addition to labeling indigenous foods, Ojibwe Language can be found through store signage, community and staff education, and more.