Austin Miller Co-op Hero Awards
Here in the Pioneer Valley, it's easy to take our vibrant co-op community for granted. But it takes committed individuals and organizations to support people in need, champion a sustainable environment, and develop a strong food system that contributes to the local economy.
The Austin Miller Co-op Hero Awards strive to recognize those people and organizations that nurture and sustain our co-op and our community. Created in 2009 by River Valley Co-op, the Austin Miller Co-op Hero Awards recognize: 1) an individual, 2) a nonprofit organization, 3) a business and 4) a farm or food business in the Pioneer Valley that support and strengthen River Valley Co-op cooperative values and that embody the cooperative principle Support for Community.
Austin Miller was awarded the first annual Co-op Hero Award during our cooperative’s celebration of the first birthday of our store on April 30th, 2009, for extraordinary support from a co-op member-owner. Austin tirelessly and passionately championed the dreams of our membership for a locally grown food co-op in Northampton.
Austin was a founding co-op owner whose career was devoted to serving people in Western Massachusetts by supporting community development projects that provided low income housing, shelter for victims of domestic violence, and food for the hungry. Austin specialized in securing financing for projects that directly benefited people in need and strengthened our communities. Austin was the financial consultant who secured the financing agreements between River Valley Co-op and the banks that provided the mortgage for our co-op start-up project in Northampton.
Our community lost a good friend when Austin passed away on October 30th, 2009.
Individual and Business Award winners will receive $500. The non-profit award winner will receive $500 and the proceeds from food sales at our annual Strawberry Ice Cream Social.
INDIVIDUAL: Margaret Christie
NON-PROFIT: Hitchcock Center for the Environment
BUSINESS: Alternative Recycling
NON-PROFIT: Grow Food Northampton
FARM:Next Barn Over
INDIVIDUAL: Trevor the Games Man
NON-PROFIT: Franklin County CDC
BUSINESS: Wright Builders
FARM: Winter Moon Roots
INDIVIDUAL: STEVE ALVES
NON-PROFIT: NORTHAMPTON SURVIVAL CENTER
BUSINESS: The Northampton Radio Group: The River, WHMP and Hits
Individual: Andrea Ayvazian
Non-Profit: Gardening the Community
Business: Apex Orchards
Individual: Mary Shanley Koeber
Non-Profit: Common Capital
Business: Our Family Farms
Individual: Lynn Benander, Co-op Power
Non-profit: Seeds of Solidarity
Business: UMassFive College Federal CU
Individual: Elizabeth (Apple) Ahearn
Non-profit: Community Involved in
Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
Business: Pedal People
Individual: David Gowler
Non-profit: Western MA Food Bank
Business: Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives
Individual: Austin Miller
Non-profit: Greenfields Market
Business: Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream