A coalition of regional co-ops has launched a yearlong awareness campaign on the role co-ops play in local communities.
The United Nations has declared 2012 to be the International Year of Cooperatives.
Co-op members in Bellingham can pick up free red and orange signs to display in their yards.
The signs are available at both Community Food Co-op locations, Industrial Credit Union at 1100 N. State St., and GaPac Community Federal Credit Union at 2501 James St.
The co-op coalition is made up of Whatcom County cooperatives including the Community Food Co-op, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, Industrial Credit Union, GaPAC Community Federal Credit Union, REI, Whatcom Farmers Coop, Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative, Farm Implement Co-op and Bellingham Bay Builders.
In addition, Skagit Valley Food Co-op in Mount Vernon, Sno-Isle Natural Foods Co-op in Everett, Central Co-op in Seattle and the Northwest Credit Union Association based in Federal Way are also part of the campaign.
The Community Food Co-op has a number of activities planned throughout the year, including a community party on July 29 at Boulevard Park in Bellingham.