Film about Twin Cities Food Co-ops Receives International Honor

A new film about food co-ops in the Twin Cities will be shown to an international audience at United Nations headquarters in New York City on November 20, 2012. Produced by Massachusetts-based filmmaker Steve Alves, Food for Change: The Twin Cities Story showcases food cooperatives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota, an area with the greatest concentration of food co-ops in the country. “I wanted to explore what happens when food co-ops have a strong presence in a region and the effect that has on jobs, local food, and local economies. Big agribusinesses and giant grocery chains are changing our country’s food system. Food co-ops are one of the few entities that stand in opposition to them,” said Alves.

The Twin Cities Story is a chapter from the feature-length documentary that Alves is making, entitled Food For Change. To be released in 2013, the film explores the history of the cooperative movement in the U.S. and the current revival of food co-ops occurring across the country. Alves’ 15-minute film about Twin Cities co-ops will be shown along with six others films from around the world as part of the closing ceremony at the UN designated International Year of Cooperatives.

Both films are funded by 92 Co-ops in 28 states; including Mississippi Market, Seward Co-op, Linden Hills Co-op, Wedge Community Co-op, Eastside Food Co-operative, and. “We’re so glad that Mr. Alves has committed himself to telling our story, the story of American Cooperation”, said Gail Graham, General Manager of Mississippi Market.

Graham has been involved in the Twin Cities co-operative movement for over 30 years, having served as General Manager of the Wedge Community Co-op (1979-86) and Seward Co-op Grocery & Deli (1986-1999) prior to being Mississippi Market’s current GM. She presently serves on two industry board – United Natural Foods, Inc. and the Organic Field School. Alves interviewed Graham along with other GMs of Twin Cities food co-ops for his film. Graham will join Alves to watch the screening of Food For Change: The Twin Cities Story at the UN on November 20th.

In declaring 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that “Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.” For Alves the high-minded approach has kept him going for the several years it’s taken to make the film, “Accolades are great although the much more urgent need is to raise the remaining funds needed to finish the feature-film to the best of my ability and then get it out there.”