Houriet, Robert (interviewee)
History of NOFA (part 2): (00:01:40) What happened to NOFA is like what happened to many Movement groups with a generational shift, the old guard withdrew or burned out and were naive about succession; Samuel gradually withdrew as he became involved with family and his own business, leaving Houriet to pick up things and "organize [himself] out of a job." (00:11:06) New England People's Cooperative was life NOFA in its early days as having a radical purpose; more than about good food, but worked with a central confederation of cooperatives (NetCoop), but when farmers' markets did not spin off growers and growers looked to other outlets, they reached out to the consumer coops, leading to development of local integrated food economy. (00:15:04) Beans and Greens Project, joint project between NetCoop and NOFA, doing a study of whether it was possible to grow, process, and distribute grains and beans in New England and develop a locally integrated food economy. (00:21:15) Cooperative Food Center, joint project between NetCoop and NOFA. (00:25:04) October League project by Progressive Labor Party to take over coops for the Movement, trying to coopt the coops, attempting to take over the Burlington Coop, which was the most political of all the coops. PL argued that coops were bourgeois and counterrevolutionary and that all NOFA farmers were capitalists; NOFA was voted out by the Burlington people and the Cooperative Food Center went down the drain. (00:29:02) Drift has developed between growers' cooperatives and consumer cooperatives so that there's real enmity between them as a result of "yuppification" of the consumer coops and the generational gap between the old guard and younger, the latter of whom are not committed to the ideals; result is that the coops become part of corporate organic business, which goes against the original idea of locally integrated food economy they had as a vision. (00:33:38) Problem made worse by fact that the state of Vermont Agriculture Department became something of an undertaker for dairy products and were not interested in anything more. In response, Houriet who was living in a commune at the time (1976-1979) worked to raise interest the Dept. of Agriculture, but could not move the state. (00:38:04) Best they could do was starting the Vermont Northern Growers Cooperative in East Hardwick, a NOFA spin-off growing root crops, mostly carrots, with a common processing, storage, and marketing, with some success; stimulated other interest that displaced the coop. (00:41:51) Another NOFA spinoff was Deep Root; Houriet became more obsessed with proving himself as a farmer than proving NOFA; NOFA tried to straddle the gap between farmers and homesteaders and was never quite successful, but about a conference in about 1980 at Pultney, Houriet realized that NOFA had to make a decision about its organization.