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Village Neighbors

Helping residents over age 60 in Shutesbury, Leverett, Wendell, and New Salem
stay connected and age independently at home.

413-345-6894, PO Box 501, Shutesbury, MA 01072

HomeCommunity Partners

Village Neighbors and the Leverett Village Coop Working Together In Community

The Boards of Village Neighbors and the Leverett Village Coop have signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" and mutual support. The thinking and rationale behind this agreement follows:

Village Neighbors understands the importance of maintaining and strengthening the fabric that knits and holds our community -- our four towns -- together. We think of it as our Village Neighborhood. A key element in this fabric is the locally owned and managed businesses and service providers that serve our residents, including our Village Neighbor members. These establishments are sensitive to the needs and values of our community. They provide the residents with access and choice and convenience in our day-to-day living. They promote resilience, self-reliance and quality of life within our Village Neighborhood. The benefits are mutual and reinforcing for our vibrant community.  


The Leverett Village Co-op (LVC) is a member-owned food cooperative that provides groceries, essentials and prepared foods for the general public. It provides a convenient, local option to more lengthy drives to area supermarkets and malls for many of the residents of Leverett, Shutesbury, Wendell and New Salem. The Co-op serves meals every day and pre-pandemic, hosted regular music, brunches and special dinners. The LVC also has outdoor recreational space including a play-yard for children as well as a small permaculture installation consisting of fruit trees. The Co-op serves as a launching/parking area for people hiking along the iconic Rattlesnake Gutter. 


The LVC exists as an alternative economic structure. It offers an opportunity for more democratic, participatory relationships in the marketplace among workers, consumers, and owners. The Co-op is owned by its members, and serves their interests, as well as the needs of the surrounding community. The Co-op provides basic necessities, healthy foods, educational events, and a gathering place for the four--town community. Recently the Co-op has become a member of the MA Solidarity Economy network and committed itself to economic justice, in particular finding ways to support lower-income community members. To that end we have established a Solidarity Membership Fund to distribute member shares to such members as we are able. 


Village Neighbors, Inc, (VN) values the presence of the Leverett Village Coop (LVC) in our Village Neighborhood. We appreciate LVC's long history of serving our communities, not just as a convenient place to buy things we need, but as a community gathering place, providing vital opportunity for social contact, sharing information, networking and building relationships. VN Members have already benefited in these ways. Especially in the challenging times of the pandemic, LVC has provided VN members with a place to call in orders and support volunteer pick-up, creating safe and convenient access for our community elders and VN volunteers.


LVC values the presence of VN in the community. The Co-op’s mission is, in part, to promote community by ensuring that residents have the ability to live, shop, and socialize within their own community. The mission of VN, to support elders within the community, is consistent with that of the LVC. Elders provide important value to the life of the greater community, through their sharing of knowledge, perspective, expertise, stories and wisdom. The Co-op benefits directly and indirectly from the continued presence and welfare of the elders in this area. The LVC commits to providing two Active LVC memberships per year to needy elders, through the LVC’s Solidarity Fund, so long as the Fund is able.


VN and LVC see many additional ways that the two entities can cooperate to create mutual benefit and maintain a vibrant Village Neighborhood. The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to acknowledge and delineate our symbiotic relationship