In Solidarity with Black Lives // NFCA News, June 2020

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We Stand in Solidarity With Black Lives

The protests across our country grew out of the anger and despair at the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But this tragedy was not an isolated event. 

These calls for justice are also a response to the systemic racism that persists in our society, demonstrated by the continuing violence perpetrated against Black people. They also challenge historic economic injustice, exposed most recently by the way that communities of color and low-income communities have been disproportionately exposed to and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We stand firmly with people calling for positive change in our society. We join with other movements and organizations working to overcome the legacy of racism and inequality in our nation and its institutions. And we challenge ourselves as co-operators to live up to the values that guide us, including democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. We recognize that this is no easy task and involves listening, challenging our own privileges and prejudices, and constantly working to address our shortcomings as we work together to transform ourselves, our co-operatives, and our communities.

As we work to build a more just and inclusive food system and economy, we recommit ourselves to challenging the systemic racism that has caused so much suffering, anguish, and injustice. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives.

The Board of Directors & Staff of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, June 2020


Building Community Power: NFCA’s 5th Annual Startup Day

Communities across the Northeast are Building Community Power, Organizing Food Co-ops to Meet Mutual Needs.

On May 16, 2020, community members from across the Northeast gathered remotely for the Neighboring Food Co-op Association’s (NFCA) Fifth Annual Startup Day. Organized with Food Co-op Initiative around the theme “The Future is Co-operative!” the training brought together 35 representatives from more than 11 startup food co-ops and partner organizations for peer learning.

The theme and focus for the training emphasized how startups can use community organizing techniques to develop skills, capacity, and power in their communities, and included discussion of how to build vision, leadership, participation, and solutions generated by and reflective of the community.

“It’s important to shout out that our startup food co-op organizers are doing more than just building community-owned grocery stores. They are organizing to build up local skills, capacity, and, ultimately, a movement to meet mutual needs and create solutions together,” said Bonnie Hudspeth, who leads Co-operative Development for the NFCA. “And as we consider how to rebuild after this crisis, now is the time to support and grow our food co-ops, build on our collective power, and strengthen community resilience.”

Food co-ops are continuing to see growth across the Northeast. For example, more than 12,000 people joined their local food co-ops last year, including 4,700 new founding members of startups. And just last summer, Urban Greens Co-op Market opened its doors in Providence, RI, and is already stepping up to serve its community during the pandemic.

Jacqueline Hannah, Assistant Director of Food Co-op Initiative, teamed up with Bonnie Hudspeth of NFCA to share “Building Our Co-ops,” an overview of how to approach food co-op organizing through a community organizing lens in this new normal. “This was a very exciting day for me, to get lay out something that had become clear to us at FCI since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis – that growing ownership and developing the business of your future grocery store won’t lead to a successful co-op without applying a community organizing lens to this work,” said Hannah. “We see it over and over in the most successful startup food co-ops across the country – they applied strong community organizing principles, even if they didn’t know that was what they were doing.”

Hannah continued, “For this NFCA Startup Day, we outlined what it means to bring a community organizing lens to the work and made sure all co-operators went home with both tools to do the work and an assignment they can implement and then share the results of with their peers in future startup peer calls. Having a process to both learn and then implement with peers is something Bonnie and NFCA innovated for these Startup training events, and it’s incredibly effective.”

Thanks to our friends at Cabot Creamery Co-operativeCooperative Development FoundationFood Co-op Initiative, and Monadnock Food Co-op for supporting the next generation of food co-ops building community power in the Northeast. Three cheers for y’all, the Startup Food Co-op organizers who are working hard to build power and more healthy, just, and sustainable communities!


Co-ops Day is Coming!Co-ops Day 2020

Co-ops for Climate Action!

On Saturday, July 4th, your Neighboring Food Co-ops will join with co-operatives and credit unions around the world in celebrating International Co-ops Day. This year’s theme, “Co-ops for Climate Action,” highlights the role of co-operatives as a more sustainable way of doing business as we work to address the challenges of climate change.

For more information and resources to help your co-op join in the celebration, visit:

https://www.nfca.coop/co-opsday


Meet Our New Board Members

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is excited to introduce you to our newest Board Members!

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association is pleased to welcome two new board members this year: Kathleen Krider from Willimantic Food Co-op in Willimantic, CT, and Mary Mullally from Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, VT.

Mary Mullally shared, “I am super excited to be joining the NFCA board and offering my assistance in support of all of the great work that NFCA does! I want to express my gratitude for being elected and am looking forward to working with and being a part of such a great team.”

Mary is Hunger Mountain Co-op’s Storekeeping Manager. She wrote “I am interested in serving on the Neighboring Food Co-op Association’s Board of Directors because I value working collaboratively to strengthen our co-operative economy and sustainable local food systems. It is clear that NFCA is contributing to the continued advancement of this within our region. I would be proud to serve NFCA, which builds collaborative partnerships to make healthy food more broadly available while simultaneously supporting our local producers. I am a person who believes the more we invest in our community, the stronger and more resilient we become. I see that exemplified in NFCA’s Farm to Freezer program. I would love to see this expanded or similar programs implemented and would be happy to work very hard to make it happen.

I am strongly committed to the Hunger Mountain Co-op and have worked there for 15 years. In my current position, I am a senior manager, overseeing Receiving, Facilities, the Managers on Duty, safety and security. My time there has provided me with a sound natural food/cooperative retail background and also offered me the opportunity to further develop my project management and leadership skills. I would welcome the chance to bring NFCA initiatives to Hunger Mountain Co-op and Hunger Mountain Co-op experience to NFCA. Serving on the Board would be a great opportunity to be of assistance, while also a chance to learn, grow and develop my Board experience.”

Thank you, Mary. We are thrilled to have you join the board with your experience and passion!

“NFCA is a leading edge organization supporting the work of Co-ops. I’m really looking forward to being a part of that leading edge; learning, and contributing to something for the greater good.” says Kathleen Krider.

Kathleen is Chair of the Board of the Willimantic Food Co-op and shared with us her candidate statement for the NFCA Board elections. “Any opportunity to step into leadership can be fueled by an amount of ego. In my case, the evolution of my ego is the very reason I choose to take on leadership roles. I have progressed from the naïve, sophomoric identity of “I have something to say and I think I can change things“ to, “I want to listen to those wiser than me and the idea of change excites me”. I take my leadership of the Willi Food Co-op seriously, that doesn’t always mean I know what I’m doing but my collaborative mindset, my desire to build collations, create partnerships, the work of my “day job”, have gone hand-in-hand with the work of my Co-op.  The NFCA BOD is the next step on this path of leadership. With NFCA members and the excellent staff there is an opportunity to create real change in how our neck-of-the-woods cooperates to bring message, mission, and money into communities. I live the meaning of what a co-op can bring to a community, I see the difference a co-op makes to a neighborhood, and I have benefitted from what it means to be a member of a co-op. I’d love to share all this great experience and get more of the same with NFCA.”

Thank you Kathleen for your enthusiasm, understanding and reflections!

Please join us in welcoming Mary and Kathleen on our Board of Directors!


Farm to Freezer: Building a Healthy Regional Food System

“Food is the single most powerful lever for addressing climate health and personal health.” says Frances Moore Lappé in her keynote address at the Slow Living Summit, June 2020. 

How is this connected to The Neighboring Food Co-op Association’s Frozen Fruits and Vegetable program? We are striving for ways to collectively support our regional farmers and bring quality fruits and vegetables to shoppers through our co-operatives. A healthy, regional food system matters. Having access to healthy foods matters.

By working together, food co-ops across our region are making regionally grown produce available to our shoppers year ‘round. Last year our NFCA co-ops sold nearly $94 million in local products overall. Local sales comprised an average of 30% of total revenue for our food co-ops compared with the national grocery store average of just 1.8%. NFCA frozen fruits and veggies are a small part of those sales, nevertheless, their contribution makes steps toward the vision of a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system.

Look for our Northeast Grown Frozen Fruits and Vegetables in the freezer section. They’re easy to find because they’re packed in a clear package so you can see what’s inside. Check out NFCA’s collection of recipes for easy, nutritious dishes and desserts using Farm to Freezer products.

For more Farm to Freezer information and recipes visit: www.nfca.coop/farmtofreezer


June’s Cave to Co-op Cheese Special

Maddy Rose from Boston Post Dairy, Enosburg Falls, VT

Maddy Rose is a new addition to the Boston Post Dairy lineup of cheese. Made with 100% farmstead pasteurized goat milk, Maddy Rose is a Vermont version of Spain’s Drunken Goat. The cheese wheels are soaked in red wine until the rind becomes a rosy fruity red and the flavor becomes sweet and grapey. This is a wonderful cheese to eat out of hand and both adults and children will love its creamy accessible flavor. Try Maddy Rose for a twist in your grilled cheese or mac and cheese recipe.

Boston Post Dairy is located on the Gervais Family Farm, a family run farm in northern Vermont owned and operated by Robert and Gisele Gervais and 12 of their 15 children. The Gervais family have been farming the property since 1962. Operated by the four Gervais daughters, Boston Post Dairy is named after the old road that runs through the property. The Dairy is home to 70 dairy goats and 80 dairy cows. They make cheeses from goat milk, cow milk, and a blend of goat and cow milk as well.

Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provisions International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers. Since the program’s incept, ten years ago, 26 tons of local cheese have been sold through the Cave to Co-op program. That is a lot of delicious cheese!

For more information on Cave to Co-op, visitwww.nfca.coop/CaveToCo-op


New England Farmers Union: Call for National Effort to Address Racism

Farmers Union Condemns Police Brutality, Calls for National Effort to Address Racism

WASHINGTON – The killing of Minnesota resident George Floyd – the latest instance in a long and disturbing history of police brutality towards people of color – underscores the urgent need for racial justice and equity in the United States, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).

An early supporter of the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements, NFU has fought for freedom and equal opportunity for people of all races, genders, ethnicities, ages, and sexual orientations since its establishment in 1902. Though significant progress has been made in the last 118 years, it is clear that racism is still a pervasive a force in American society. In a statement released today, NFU President Rob Larew condemned police brutality and called for a national effort to address individual, institutional, and structural racism.

“The killing of George Floyd was an abuse of power and a horrifying act of violence– but what is even more horrifying is that this is not a rare or isolated incident. People of color are far more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts; black Americans account for just 13 percent of the overall population, but 26 percent of fatal police shootings. But police brutality doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s just one of many examples of racism in our country – in criminal justice, financial services, health care, voting, education, and elsewhere.

“If we stand idly by while our friends and neighbors suffer – as too many of us have done for too long – we are complicit in their suffering. Now is the time to step up, to heal these wounds, to build a just and equal society. This will not be a quick or easy task – to overcome the terrible legacy of racism in this country, we all must reflect on our own privileges and prejudices, rethink our institutions, and demand structural change. The road ahead of us may be long and uncomfortable, but it is our moral obligation to traverse it.”

National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.

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The New England Farmers Union Needs You

If you care about where your food comes from and want to support the people who produce it, consider joining NEFU as a Friend of the Farmer for just $15. Your membership will help ensure that our region’s producers and consumers are heard by policy makers here at home and in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.newenglandfarmersunion.org.


Our Neighborhood Co-op Calendar

Climate Solutions Are Grown In Soil: July 20 — August 9

The NOFA Summer Conference is mooooving online! This online experience — co-sponsored by your Neighboring Food Co-ops — will be spread out over three weeks from July 20 – August 9, 2020.

For more information and to register, visit https://nofasummerconference.org/.

(Members of NFCA Food Co-ops receive 20% off registration with the code “COOP2020”.)


For More Co-op Events, Visit http://nfca.coop/calendar

 

JUNE 2020

June 19

Juneteenth

http://juneteenth.com/history.htm

 

June 15-24

Association of Co-operative Educators Institute – Now Online!

Institute

 

JULY 2020

July 4

International Co-ops Day: Co-ops for Climate Action!

https://nfca.coop/co-opsday/

July 20 – Aug 9

 

NOFA Summer Conference: Climate Solutions Are Grown In Soil – Now Online!

Co-Sponsored by your Neighboring Food Co-ops

(Members of NFCA Food Co-ops receive 20% off registration with the code “COOP2020”.)

https://nofasummerconference.org/

 

AUGUST 2020

August 13-15

Federation of Southern Co-operatives 52nd Annual Meeting

https://www.federation.coop/events

 

OCTOBER IS CO-OP MONTH!

October 7-9

NCBA CLUSA Co-op Impact Conference, Washington, DC

https://ncbaclusa.coop/2020-co-op-impact-conference/

 

October 8

Co-operative Hall of Fame, Washington, DC

https://www.heroes.coop

 

Saturday, October 17

Columinate Co-op Cafe (Co-Hosted by NFCA)


The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is a co-operative federation of 35 food co-ops and startup initiatives across New England, working together toward a shared vision of a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just, and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of  co-operative enterprise.