The Adamant Cooperative Store, which claims to be the country’s oldest continuously operating food cooperative, is celebrating its 80th birthday.
The Adamant Co-op is a general store, post office and all-around community hub located between Calais and East Montpelier. Like many Vermont general stores, it has struggled to remain relevant in recent years. Perhaps its resilience can be attributed its founding during the Great Depression.
According to a press announcement marking the anniversary, "The Adamant Cooperative was formed on August 1, 1935, when thirty-nine residents purchased $5 shares in the venture. The original storefront is the same building where the Adamant Co-op is housed today. The store thrived in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and its success inspired community members to take up similar social/economic ventures. They formed the Washington Electric Cooperative (which now serves over 10,000 members) in 1939, and the Adamant Credit Union in 1942."
While many ventures bear its name, Adamant is an undefined and unincorporated village. "There is no true boundary to define the village, and therefore there is debate as to what constitutes residence," the press release says. "This is, however, purely theoretical. The general wisdom is that 'Adamant is a state of mind.'"
Co-op leaders credit the store's longevity to "creative fund-raising activities carried out by the staff and a bevy of community volunteers, including the annual 'Black Fly Festival' in May and the chocolate-laden 'Decadent Desserts and Wine Tasting' around Valentine’s Day."
The co-op is marking its 80th birthday with some similarly creative fundraisers, including sales of the new Adamant Co-op Cookbook. Here's how the co-op describes its new cooperative creation:
The 136-page publication is a love letter to the rural community that has supported the operation of the Co-op since the Great Depression. The book includes recipes from community dinners, poems and vignettes of life in a small Vermont village, and the original artwork of central Vermont artist Janet MacLeod, who has her studio above the store.
The cookbook is being sold at the co-op and online. As part of the anniversary celebration, MacLeod’s original artwork for the book will be auctioned live at a book launch and dinner party October 24, at the Adamant Community Club. Bidding is also available online.