Sister Coop – Delegation to Puerto Rico

Buffalo Mountain Co-op has established a Sister Co-op relationship with the Cooperativa Orgánica Madre Tierra in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, a cooperative of growers and producers. At the end of February, a delegation from Buffalo Mountain traveled to Puerto Rico to meet and assist members of Cooperativa Madre Tierra. The delegation included Annie Gaillard, Loui Pulver, Frank Sauer, Manuel O’Neill, and Sulien O’Neill.  You can read a report on the delegation’s visit and reflections in the Spring issue of Buffalo Mountain Co-op’s quarterly newsletter – The Bullsheet.

Sister Coop Delegation

Meet the Delegation

Annie Gaillard and Loui Pulver

Greetings.  We have been farming organically for over 35 years mostly growing vegetables for storage in a root cellar and selling throughout the winter. I also worked at Buffalo Mountain Food Cooperative for over 30 years. Currently I am only there one day a week because I am finishing up a Masters Degree program in Cooperative Management through St Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We love to do vacations where we can help out those in need. We have done house building in Ecuador and Madagascar. We have also gutted houses and a school in New Orleans after the hurricane there. We are looking forward to our trip to your co-op!

Frank Sauer

I have been a mechanic for most of my life. I’ve worked on cars, trucks and tractors but the majority of my working experience has been on aircraft. I’ve help built a couple of houses, done the wiring and plumbing on both of them and had a market garden for a few years. You might say I’m a jack of all trades but a master none. I have a class A CDL and for the last 4 years have been driving truck around the eastern part of the US.

Manuel O’Neill

Saludos, I am Manuel Francisco O’Neill, a Nuyorican from the Bronx.  My wife, Myrna Miranda, and I have lived in Vermont since 1976.  We own a 23-acre mini-farm where we grow and tend a variety of  vegetables, fruit trees, grapes, and berries on our 1 acre plus garden.  My mother and father’s families migrated to the US in the early 1900’s from Mayaguez, and San Juan, respectively, and in the US worked in the garment industry, and were one of New York’s first bodegueros.  I attended Catholic schools through  graduate studies, and obtained my master’s degree from Goddard College in Farm and Food Policy.  My graduate research studied the impact of industrial agriculture on the food supply, incidents of hunger, local economies, and democratic institutions and practices. I have also taught college courses on the global economy, US and world food policy, and Puerto Rico and Cuba.  Myrna, and I have been active in the Puerto Rico and Vieques solidarity movement for more than 40-years, as well as supporters of the Puerto Rico farm movement since the late 80s.  I enjoy taking afternoon naps, cutting the grass and brush cutting, thinking while working in the garden, and cuddling our 4 grandchildren. I am also working to establish a NGO, The Vermont-Puerto Rico Café con Leche Project, whose purpose is to facilitate cultural skill exchanges between dairy farmers in Vermont, and coffee and milk producers in Puerto Rico.

Sulien O’Neill

Hello,  I am Sulien.  I was raised in Vermont by two amazing parents (Myrna and Manuel). Shortly after college I moved to California, where I started my career in corporate aviation and started a family of my own.  My daughter Rafaela is an elite gymnast and my wonderful wife Zorina is an occupational therapist. I am fortunate enough to take a short hiatus from the corporate world to volunteer for a very worthy cause.

 

For those who would like to support this project there is a donation jar on the front counter at the Coop. The Coop is also able to “round-up” your purchases with the change going into a Sister Coop account. Donations by check should be addressed to Wheelock Mountain Farm/ Sister Co-op Project at 91 West Wheelock Road, Greensboro Bend, VT 05842.

 

To learn more about the context and background for this sister coop relationship, click here read this article by Manuel Francisco O’Neill.

For more information about the project, please email Myrna Miranda-O’Neill.