The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is a co-operative federation bringing together 40 Food Co-ops and Startup initiatives that are working together toward a shared vision of a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable regional food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise.
The NFCA includes 29 Food Co-ops and 11 Startups across the Northeast (click here for a map of member locations).
Our co-ops are member-owned and democratically governed community grocery stores ranging in size from large, multiple storefront retailers with thousands of members to smaller markets with just a few hundred. The average NFCA member co-op has been in operation for more than 30 years, with two founded more than 80 years ago. Despite the challenges of the current economy, many of our member co-ops are expanding and new stores have opened their doors in just the past few years.
Food co-ops continue to be leaders in the development of more sustainable food systems, emphasizing local products, organic agriculture, and Fair Trade.
Shared Economic Impact
The NFCA includes almost 40 Food Co-ops and Startups that…
- Are locally owned by more than 152,000 people like you,
- Operate 37 retail locations across our region,
- Generate annual revenue of over $347 million,
- Sell more than $93.5 million in local products, and
- Employ over 2,350 people, 65% of whom are also co-op members, sharing in the ownership of their community grocery store (2019).
In 2019, more than 12,000 people joined our member co-ops, reflecting growing interest in local foods, sustainability, and building a more inclusive economy.
An independent study found that in 2007, when the NFCA was comprised of just 17 co-ops, the association already had a dramatic impact on the regional economy, including:
Support of Local Economies…
- Median revenue for member co-ops was $3 million and the average was $9.5 million. The median growth rate over the previous three years was 14%.
- Purchases of more than $33 million in local products, including $10 million in fresh farm products, $18 million in locally-processed foods and $5 million in other products.
Stable Employment and Services…
- $28.6 million in employee wages, with the average wage being 18% higher than the average for
food and beverage stores in the same states.
- Co-ops had lower staff turnover (36%) when compared to supermarkets (59%) and more staff employed fulltime (62% compared to 43% in supermarkets).
- Taken together, member food co-ops in Vermont would be among the top 25 employers in the state.
Support of Local Government and Infrastructure…
- …including $7.3 million in sales, excise, and other taxes, $434,000 by employees, and $500,000 in property taxes.
What We’re Doing
The members of the NFCA are working together to support the shared success of our Food Co-ops through peer to peer collaboration and innovation, public engagement, regional sourcing, and partnership with likeminded organizations.
A focus of our work is to increase our regional impact and use our shared purchasing power to build a more. A central example is our “Farm to Freezer” program, a line of frozen frozen fruits and vegetables grown, processed and distributed here in the Northeast, and available only at our member food co-ops.
Partnerships & Networks
The NFCA has collaborated with groups across the region such as the Northeast Organic Farming Association, the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and Vermont’s Farm to Plate initiative. Our association is an affiliate member of the New England Farmers Union, reflecting our shared commitment to a healthy regional food system, family farming and co-operative enterprise as a tool for community ownership, sustainable agriculture and economic resilience.
The NFCA supports the success of our member co-ops in collaboration with partners including National Co+op Grocers and Food Co-op Initiative, and is an example of the principle of co-operation among co-ops, which recognizes that “co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.” In addition to working together as food co-ops, we partner with co-operative enterprises and associations such as Organic Valley, Cabot Creamery Co-op, Deep Root Organic Co-op, Real Pickles and the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops to grow the Co-operative Economy of our region.