The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is a co-operative federation bringing together more than 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 31 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
Despite the economic challenges of the pandemic and continued supply chain disruptions, our 2022 Annual Food Co-op Impact survey revealed that the collective impact of our 44 Member Co-ops and Start–ups was stronger than ever. For example, last year your Neighboring Food Co-ops:
- Were locally owned by nearly 173,000 people in communities across the Northeast;
- Generated Annual Revenue of over $425 million (up from $395 million in 2021);
- Contributed over $1.2 million to community organizations;
- Operated retail locations in 39 communities across the region;
- Employed 2,465 people (60% of whom are also member-owners of their co-ops), and
- Sold more than $112 million dollars in local products — or 25% of total sales!
As more people have rediscovered the important role of our food co-ops in building more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive communities, particularly during the pandemic, membership has continued to grow with more than 12,690 joining our food co-ops in 2022 alone.
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 healthy, just and sustainable food system. For example, in 2022 the NFCA was the first retail organization to join the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, working to sustain our region’s organic dairy farms.
Partnerships & Networks
The NFCA has collaborated with groups across the region such as the Northeast Organic Farming Association 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 Food Co-op Initiative and National Co+op Grocers, 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 in our region and beyond.