Leveraging Our Shared Strength for Change
Food co-ops in our region have served as laboratories for new ways of thinking about food, from organic and fairly traded goods to systems for the distribution and retailing of bulk products. More recently, co-ops in the region have also served as important incubators for new local products. “We’re the kind of place local entrepreneurs bring their new products for test marketing,” Annie Gaillard of Buffalo Mountain Food Co-op says in a recent article for Cooperative Grocer.
As part of our effort to contribute to a healthy, just and sustainable food system, the NFCA has been working to identify products that are feasible to grow and process in our region but are currently unavailable or difficult to source on the regional level. The NFCA’s area of membership currently includes Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and we define “regional” as the New England states plus New York and adjacent areas of Canada.
Our immediate goal is to create pilot projects that will enable our food co-ops to demonstrate what is possible when we leverage our shared strength to create models for a more just, sustainable and co-operative regional food system. We currently focused on two such initiatives:
- Cave to Co-op, a collaboration with the distributor Provisions International and cheesemakers across our region to offer great artisan cheeses at an afforable price; and
- Farm to Freezer, a pilot of regionally grown and processed frozen fruits & vegetables available exclusively at our member food co-ops. This project has concluded after two seasons and we are now researching next steps. Stay tuned!
For more information on these projects, please click on the above links or visit one of your Neighboring Food Co-ops.