With displays, activities and giveaways designed to amplify the economic impact, diversity and sustainability of the cooperative business model, the two-day event drew an estimated 20,000 people to the National Mall. Attendees enjoyed live music, sampled co-op food and, most importantly, learned how co-ops are building a better, more inclusive world.
Partners like Ocean Spray contributed to the educational tone, educating consumers that every time they pick up an Ocean Spray product, they are buying straight from 700 cooperative farmers.
“Co-ops are experiencing increased levels of success and have provided viable solutions to economic and environmental challenges throughout our nation’s history. Even now while the stock market and unemployment rates continue to fluctuate, the co-op business model is holding steady and, in many sectors, growing,” said Judy Ziewacz, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA.
“The incredible exhibitors at Co-op Festival demonstrated the reach and strength of the cooperative business model’s contributions, making the case that co-ops should no longer be an overlooked class of business,” she added.
The festival also provided a platform for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make its National Co-op Month Proclamation—an annual event since 1964. Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at USDA, delivered the agency’s proclamation from stage on October 1.
If you didn’t get a chance to come out to the National Mall September 30 or October 1, we hope you enjoy this photo album featuring some of our favorite moments from Co-op Festival.