Ontario Co-operative Association

Ontario Co-operative Association

October 11, 2013 10:39 ET

Local Food Activist to Be Recognized for Strengthening Co-op Network

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 11, 2013) - The public's attention has turned to local food security and Hannah Renglich of the Local Organic Food Co-ops (LOFC) Network is busy helping organize solutions, earning her provincial recognition for co-op development at the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) congress at the Milton, Ont. Teatro Conference & Event Centre on Oct. 16.

Since 2011 the recent graduate has worked directly with the LOFC Network, a project hosted by the organic food pioneer Ontario Natural Food Co-op.

Renglich's role in the LOFC Network is to connect co-ops to resources, each other, and other organizations and partners, as well as provide training and education on topics ranging from board governance and decision making to conflict transformation. Over the last two years, the network has grown from 18 to more than 50 co-ops including new businesses in communities that are only accessible by air and urgently requiring better food options. LOFC Network members also assisted Toronto's Karma Food Co-operative Inc. to stay in business by sharing their resources and expertise.

"The LOFC wouldn't be where it is without Hannah," says Peggy Baillie, managing director of Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative Inc., and chair of the network's elected steering committee. Baillie attests to Renglich's gift for collaboration and ability to make all local food stakeholders feel welcome in the network.

Renglich serves on the board of the West End Food Co-op and Carrot Cache Community Resources Inc. and she recently joined On Co-op's co-operative development committee. She co-authored an article with renowned social economy researchers Jennifer Sumner and J.J. McMurtry for the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development about co-operative food systems, using the LOFC Network experience as a case study. Additionally, Renglich is now organizing the fifth annual assembly of the LOFC Network for February 2014.

Renglich will be honored alongside government lobbyist Harvey Cooper of the Ontario Region of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, southwestern Ontario's Libro Financial Group, and the Ottawa Co-op Network, a joint venture of co-op organizations.

The "On Co-op Conference and Celebration: Sharing our Co-op Stories" is an evolution of an annual Co-op Week provincial meeting that started in 1999 in Toronto. This year's day-long program includes discussing a common brand for co-operative enterprises, effective advocacy and laws affecting co-ops, and youth engagement. The provincial co-op awards will be presented at noon.

WHAT IS ON CO-OP?

The Ontario Co-operative Association believes that co-operatives build a better world. We are the trade association that develops, engages, educates and advocates for Ontario's 1,300 co-operative businesses. On Co-op is an information and resources network with a mission to lead, cultivate and connect co-operatives.

WHAT WE DO FOR - AND WITH - OUR MEMBERS

The Ontario Co-operative Association provides its member-owners with programs, resources and networks that support their organizations and facilitate growth and opportunity. From the strong foundation provided by our membership, On Co-op builds co-op awareness and vitality, and unites the co-operative movement in Ontario.

WHAT IS A CO-OP?

Co-operatives are community-focussed businesses that balance people, planet and profit. Co-ops are democratic and value-based, formed to seize local opportunities and meet the needs of their member-owners. As a trusted place to do business, co- operatives are chosen by more than one in seven people worldwide. Twice as many co-ops remain in operation after ten years as other types of business enterprise.

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