Celebrate Co-op Month

From food co-ops to farmer co-ops, worker co-ops to credit unions, and housing co-ops to energy co-ops, co-operative enterprises help people to help themselves and build stronger, more resilient communities. Each October, Co-op Month provides an opportunity to educate the community about our co-ops, and promote the co-operative business model as tool for building a thriving regional economy.

The theme for 2013 was "Live Cooperatively!" and the 2014 theme is “The Co-op Connection. How does your Co-op connect?”  The theme is an invitation to our co-ops to promote the many ways that we work together, connect our members and collaborate with other organizations to build stronger, more sustainable communities.  We will update this page with new information as we get closer to October.  Below are some ideas on how food co-ops can celebrate Co-op Month and promote the difference that co-operative enterprise makes in our communities: 

Core Messaging

  • "Live Cooperatively!"  The theme for the National Cooperative Business Association's celebration this year is a simple and strong message, inviting people to learn more about co-ops and consider the role of co-operative enterprise across our economy.
  • Link Up.  Help spread the word about our collective imact and other NFCA member food co-ops by including our webpage address in materials, on your co-op’s website and in social media: http://nfca.coop/about.
  • Spread the Word.  Send out a press release to your community.  Download and customize a Co-op Month press release: Co-op Month Press Release 2013

In the Store

  • Use the NFCA’s “Go Co-op” Shelf Talkers (at right) to promote co-op suppliers in your food co-op.  Shelf talkers include a web address where shoppers can learn more about co-ops.  Download a template for channel tags HERE or e-mail us for copies.
  • Seek out Co-op Products to offer on your shelves.  Visit www.nfca.coop/co-opproducts for a list of co-op suppliers
  • Offer Monthly Specials on a product or products from co-op suppliers and include a short description of the co-op in promotional materials.
  • Organize End Caps of co-op products, and/or include co-op products in special seasonal promotions.
  • Invite co-ops to Demo Their Products in your food co-op.  Some co-ops in our region that you may want to contact include:
  • If your co-op sells Books, consider stocking recent titles that include content on co-ops, such as John Restakis’ “Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital” and Frances Moore Lappé’s “Eco-Mind”.  See our list of books in the "Book Group" section below.
  • Fundraise for Co-op Development during Co-op Month. Set aside a day, week or the whole month to fundraise for the Howard Bowers Fund (www.cdf.coop/howard-bowers-day/), the Cooperative Fund of New England (www.coopfund.coop). 
  • Join other Co-ops.  As a food co-op, join other food co-ops in our region that have organizational members (such as Old Creamery Co-op and River Valley Market), as well as co-ops such as FEDCO Seeds (www.fedcoseeds.com/members.htm).
  • Invest in Co-ops.  Set aside some of your food co-op’s resources to invest in the success of other co-ops in our region.  Some options include:
    • Making a social investment loan to the Cooperative Fund of New England (www.coopfund.coop).
    • Explore investing in co-ops that accept external investment (such as Equal Exchange or Organic Valley).
    • Making a loan to another NFCA member food co-op that is growing or expanding.

Promotions

  • Download a "Co-op Month" poster from the NCBA CLUSA at http://ncba.coop/coop-month.
  • Include Co-op Month core messaging in your co-op’s Advertising.  (For a copy of the logo, e-mail us.)
  • Do a special Press Release, on your co-op’s plans to celebrate Co-op Month. (E-mail info@nfca.coop for a template.)
  • Invite other co-ops and credit union in your community to do a shared ad for Co-op Month.  For an example from the Valley Co-operative Business Association, click HERE.
  • Include Stories about Co-ops in our region in your food co-op’s newsletter, e-newsletter or website.  (Visit http://nfca.coop/co-opprofiles for stories to reprint.)
  • Post a link on your website to the NFCA's Inspiring Videos page, or post the videos driectly on your co-op's webpage.
  • .Coop Domain.  Use the “.COOP” Domain for your co-op’s website and e-mail addresses, raising the profile of co-ops online.  Visit http://www.na.domains.coop/ for more information.

In the Community

  • Promote Other Co-ops in Your Area by inviting farmer co-ops, worker co-ops, energy co-ops, etc., to share information at your co-op or at a co-op event.  Invite your local credit union to have an informational table at your food co-op.  For a map of co-ops in our region, visit www.nfca.coop/co-opeconomy.
  • Use the New England Farmers Union Curriculum, "Co-operatives: The Business of Teamwork" in education & outreach programs at your co-op, or share it with local schools and community organizations that do educational programs.  Curriculum includes content for grades 1 to adult.  Download a copy HERE or e-mail info@nfca.coop for more information on printed copies.
  • GSCoopPatch.gifReach out to your local Girl Scouts with Cabot’s “Co-ops for Community” patch program that encourages girls to learn more about the value of co-ops, builds leadership skills and supports community connections for Girl Scout troops.
  • Hold a Video Showing and discussion forum with a film that includes information on co-ops such as:
    • "Civilizing the Economy: The Co-op Alternative" (Pt. 1: 27 min; Pt. 2: 25 min; compilation version: 25 min), dvd available on loan to member co-ops from the NFCA or for purchase from the British Columbia Co-operative Association (http://bcca.coop/content/publications).
    • Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” includes content on worker co-ops.
    • The Fish Belong to the People”, featuring fishery co-op Port Clyde Fresh Catch.
    • "Shift Change," featuring Spain's Mondragón co-ops and worker co-ops here in the US.
    • The Take,” a movie about worker co-ops in Argentina.
  • Help your members Share Your Co-op with others:
    • Bring a Friend to Your Co-op Day.” Offer some incentive for every member who brings in a friend who has never shopped in their Co-op or who brings in a friend to join, or…
    • Bring Your Co-op to Work Day.”  Create basic materials for how members can share about their Co-op at work (in staff meetings, bulletin board) or in community groups (book club, sports, etc.).

Don’t forget to tell us what your co-op is doing to celebrate Co-op Month.  Send your ideas and copies of your co-op’s ads, press releases, promotions, and newsletter articles to info@nfca.coop so we can share them with other co-ops in our community.