Co-op Month 2017: Co-ops Commit!

NFCA.Co-opMonth.2017.Tilt.pngThis October, your Neighboring Food Co-ops here in the Northeast are joining over 30,000 co-ops and credit unions across the United States in celebrating Co-op Month. For 2017, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International has identified “Co-operatives Commit” as the theme for the month.

“Across our region, food co-ops demonstrate their commitment to their communities every day,” said Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA). “From offering healthy, affordable food and providing good jobs, growing local ownership and participation, and supporting local producers and Fair Trade, co-ops enable people to work together to build a better world for everyone.”

The NFCA includes more than 35 food co-ops and start-up initiatives, locally owned by more than 130,000 people. Together, these co-ops employ over 2,000 people, generate revenues of more than $315 million, and purchase more than $60 million from local producers each year. A recent survey found that member food co-ops demonstrated their commitment to their communities in a wide variety of ways including programs supporting local producers, food security, sustainability, education for young people, and collaboration with local community organizations. (For a map of member co-ops, visit www.nfca.coop/members.)

Co-operatives are businesses that are owned and governed by their members, the people who use the products and services they provide. From food co-ops to farmer co-ops, worker co-ops to credit unions, and housing co-ops to energy co-ops, co-operatives make a difference in people’s lives every day. Co-ops are also more common than you might think: Here in the United States, 1 in 3 people are members of at least one co-op or credit union. Nationwide, co-operatives create 2.1 million jobs and generate more than $650 billion in sales and other revenue annually.

Learning more about some of the co-operatives in our food system is easy at your Neighboring Food Co-ops: Just look for the “Go Co-op” signs on our shelves. You may be surprised to find so many items made by local co-operatives, including dairy products Cabot Creamery Co-op and Organic Valley, fresh produce from Deep Root Organic Co-op, fairly traded coffee, tea and chocolate from Equal Exchange, beverages from Katalyst Kombucha and Green River Ambrosia, seeds and bulbs from FEDCO, naturally fermented vegetables from Real Pickles, Northeast Grown frozen fruits and vegetables from the Neighboring Food Co-op Association — and many others.

For more examples of how food co-ops empower people to build their communities, please visit www.nfca.coop.