Go Co-op!

Growing a Co-operative Economy — Together!

From food co-ops to farmer co-ops, worker co-ops to credit unions, and housing co-ops to energy co-ops, people-centered co-operative enterprises build a better world! And one of the best ways to grow the Co-operative Economy is to seek out and support co-ops in your community, when you shop and where you choose to invest. You can GO CO-OP every day by:


Special thanks to our partners at Cabot Creamery Co-operative, FEDCO Seeds, Organic Valley & Real Pickles for their support of our Go Co-op! program as we celebrate a Decade of Co-operation in 2021!

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JOIN YOUR LOCAL CO-OPS

Find Your Food Co-op!

The Neighboring Food Co-­op Association is a federation of more than 35 food co-ops across New England and New York State.  Together, we are building our vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system.  We invite you to join your local food co-ops (you can join more than one!).  For a map of food co-ops in our region, visit www.nfca.coop/members.

Join a Local Credit Union!

Credit unions are co-operatively organized, not-for-profit financial institutions with a proud history of helping people help themselves and each other, building more resilient local communities. Members of credit unions pool their resources that are then used to provide loans and other financial services to one other. Many food co-ops have relationships with local credit unions. For example, members of River Valley Market in Northampton, MA, are eligible for membership in the UMASSFive College Credit Union, while Willimantic Food Co-op in Connecticut has a similar relationship with Northeast Family Credit Union.

To join a credit union near you, visit the Credit Union National Association’s credit union finder.


PURCHASE FROM CO-OPS

We also invite you to look for co-op products when you shop at your local food co-op. “GO CO-OP” signs on our shelves identify items that have been supplied by co-ops. You may be surprised by some of the examples that you might find from our region, including:

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Cabot Creamery is owned by a co-operative of 1,200 family farmers in New England and New York. Look for their award-winning cheese, butter and other dairy products. http://www.cabotcheese.coop

Deep Root Organic Co-op includes 14 family farm members in Vermont and nearby Québec offering fresh organic produce and fermented vegetables. http://www.deeprootorganic.com

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Organic Valley is owned by its more than 1,600 farmer members. Look for their organic dairy products including milk — sourced from their 175 New England members — cheese, and butter, as well as soy milk and orange juice. http://www.organicvalley.coop

For a larger list of co-op products and services, visit www.nfca.coop/co-opproducts.


INVEST IN CO-OPERATION

You can also put your money to work by investing in co-ops and funds that help co-ops grow and serve their communities.  Examples include:

  • Shared Capital Cooperative (SCC) is a co-operative community development financial institution (CDFI) committed to fostering economic democracy by investing in co-operative enterprises. SCC currently serves more than 170 co-op members in 30 states, including natural food, consumer, producer, housing and worker-owned cooperatives, creating opportunities for co-ops and social investors to invest in the national co-operative movement.  For more information, visit their website at www.sharedcapital.coop.
  • The Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE) is a non-profit community development financial institution (CDFI) that serves as a bridge between socially responsible investors and co-operatives, community oriented non-profits, and worker-owned businesses in New England.  For more information, visit their website.
  • Other opportunities include food co-ops that accept external investment such as NFCA member start-up Dorchester Food Co-op, or other co-operatives in our region such as Artisan Beverage Co-operative, Equal Exchange and Organic Valley.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CO-OPS!

Looking for resources for education and outreach? Check out “Co-operatives: The Business of Teamwork,” an educational curriculum includes modules for all age groups from first grade to adult, developed by the Farmers Union and the NFCA:

Start a Study Group in your community using a book on the co-operative movement and co-op enterprise:

Take a Course on co-ops.  Opportunities in our region include:

  • The International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University offers rigorous and dynamic online degree programs for co-operative management professionals, as well as shorter training and education programs. Choose the 3-year Master of Management, Co-operatives and Credit Unions, the Graduate Diploma in Co-operative Management (20 months) or the Bilingual Certificate in Co-operative Management (10 months), or from a menu of trainings offered throughout the year.
  • The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, offers a number of courses on co-ops as well as a Certificate in Applied Economic Research in Co-operative Enterprise. The NFCA is a member of the UMASS Co-operative Enterprise Collaborative (UMACEC), which has helped to develop these programs in collaboration with the Economics Department.
  • Visit the NFCA’s Co-op Calendar for upcoming conferences, trainings, and other co-op and food system-related events.