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Scoop News: Looking Back to Look Forward

By Rebecca Angel, Managing Editor

1976: Our country’s bicentennial, full of celebrations, reflections, and hopes for the future. That same year, an entity came into the world with ideas to make a positive impact in the Capital District. 

No, I’m not talking about my own birthday in April of that year (although maybe that counts, too!). I’m talking about Honest Weight Food Coop, which formed that summer. 

Although I have no plans for my upcoming 50th, the Coop Scoop team is very excited to celebrate Honest Weight and the Coop Scoop’s landmark birthday in 2026. It’s still a few years away (phew!) but we are already looking back at the origins and changes through the past five decades of our publication.

The Coop Scoop was founded a month after the formation of Honest Weight. It began  as a simple newsletter, with membership meeting notes, articles, recipes, and even jokes (there were many published in the early years of the “dad” variety). To honor the founders of our publication, the team of our current Coop Scoop has begun the Coop Scoop Archive Project. Below is a vision statement crafted by Ruth Ann Smalley:

Coop Scoop Archive Project Vision Statement: 

Honest Weight Food Co-op’s newsletter has played a significant role throughout the history of the store, conveying information and soliciting community participation in every aspect of the store’s formation and development. Communicating facts and educating readers about store operations, products, and local and national issues (food/nutrition-related and beyond) has been a major focus. But the Scoop has also functioned as a space within which community members can engage with and express Honest Weight’s ongoing identity as a co-operative adventure.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Honest Weight Food Co-op, we are returning to the Scoop Archives to celebrate the evolving nature of the newsletter, rediscover how it creatively represented the people and processes that brought the store into being, and consider more deeply the changes—and continuities—it records in the history of this co-operative.

 The Archive project has at least 3 components at this time. 

  • One involves an ongoing process of “retrieval” of items of interest to our community. These retrievals may include interesting “time capsule” pieces that can be shared in a series called “From the Archives” in the Coop Scoop. Extracts or other early pieces, such as recipes, may be collected and republished together in some form. 

This may also lead to retrospective articles on various issues, or simply an improved ability to reference relevant material in earlier Scoop issues for use in current articles.

  • To aid in this, another component involves creating an index, for greater ease of locating material in the archives. This could be especially useful for anyone attempting to write a more in-depth history of Honest Weight.
  • The third component is the creation of a series of retrospective exhibits. These will consist of posters with curated excerpts and graphics from the newsletter. Thematically as well as chronologically arranged, these will be presented along with brief commentary when necessary. The first of these will cover the years 1976-1980.

I’m certainly not slowing down once I turn 50, and I know the community at Honest Weight is just getting going! Despite the many changes and transitions the store has undergone, Coop Scoop, along with the newer publication Honest Slate, continues to educate, inform, and inspire, just as our predecessors did. As we bring their words and stories back into the spotlight, we look forward to sharing your voices and visions into the future. 

Rebecca Angel has been a part of Honest Weight for twenty years and is Managing Editor of the Coop Scoop. When not at the co-op, Rebecca is a teacher, musician, and writer, currently working on a memoir about her experience with Cushing’s Syndrome.

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