The U.N. Declares 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives

To honor cooperatives worldwide, The United Nations (UN) has declared 2012 the “International Year of Cooperatives”. The National Co-op Grocers Association (NCGA) and its 122 member & associate food co-ops are joining other cooperatives in marking the occasion.

Titled, “Cooperatives in Social Development,” UN’s resolution recognizes the diversity of the cooperative movement around the world, and the economic and social contributions cooperatives make.

The United Nations is giving co-ops a global platform to tell our stories, and we are eager to share the many benefits of cooperative grocers,” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer of NCGA. “This is a great opportunity for food co-ops to connect with each other, celebrate the dedication of our existing shoppers and owners, and help more people across the country discover that food co-ops are about fresh, delicious foods and so much more.

NCGA is planning a variety of activities throughout the year, including an online video series hosted by Kevin Gillespie, co-owner and executive chef at the Woodfire Grill Restaurant in Atlanta and sixth season finalist of the Bravo TV series, “Top Chef.” Gillespie will journey through farm fields and grocery aisles showing the unique role co-ops have in building local food systems and their impact in their communities. These videos will be made available for viewing throughout the year, beginning with a virtual premiere in mid-January 2012 at

NCGA’s member and associate food co-ops will also host a variety of special events and activities to promote co-ops and their importance to local and global communities.

“The International Year of Cooperatives calls attention to the transformational role co-ops play in our economy and our lives,” Shrader concluded. “We’re always incredibly proud to be a part of the cooperative community; even more so at this historic moment.”

Mississippi Market plans to celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives by collecting stories and memories from our member-owners to create a larger Mississippi Market narrative. If you would like to take part in this project contact Kari Binning at

For more information about the International Year of Cooperatives, visit