Co-op Month 2018: “Co-ops See the Future”

This October, your Neighboring Food Co-ops here in the Northeast are joining over 40,000 co-ops and credit unions across the United States in celebrating Co-op Month. For 2018, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) has identified “Co-ops See the Future” as the theme for the month, inviting co-operatives and their members to dream big!  As we look to the future, how can we work together to build a more sustainable and inclusive economy for everyone?

For more information on how your Neighboring Food Co-ops are celebrating , visit  And for ideas on how your co-op can spread the word, see below.   The NFCA will be sending resources to Member Co-ops and organizing a special Co-op Month Contest!

Food Co-ops: Join the Celebration!

Below are some ideas on how your food co-op can celebrate Co-op Month and promote the difference that food co-ops make every day.  By working together with other co-ops and credit unions in your community, we can communicate the impact of the co-operative business model across the food system and economy.  However you decide to celebrate, let us know so we can spread the word!


  • Use the Theme.  Every year, NCBA CLUSA chooses a theme to unite co-ops and credit unions in celebrating Co-op Month.  Use the theme “Co-operatives See the Future” in your promotions and social media communications to help spread the word.
  • Tell Our Story.  Download our customizable Co-op Month Press Release / Newsletter Story for use in your food co-op’s newsletter, website or blog post, or as a press release promoting the shared impact of our food co-ops in the Northeast.  Check out these examples from Member Co-op newsletters:
  • Co-op Month Images. Include the NFCA’s Co-op Month Logo in your co-op’s advertising, newsletters, flyers and other materials during October.
  • Organize a Co-op Month Ad in Your Community. Invite other co-ops and credit unions in your community to pitch in on a shared ad in your local newspaper.  For an example from the Valley Co-operative Business Association, click HERE.
  • Social Media. Use the hashtag #CoopMonth in social media posts. Follow them with themes such as #community, #local, #sustainability, #goodjobs, and #fairtrade as you promote the #coopdifference.


  • Display the NFCA’s “Go Co-op” Rack Cards. Use the NFCA’s “Go Co-op” rack cards to promote Co-op Month to members and shoppers in your food co-op and at special events.  NFCA member co-ops receive a bundle of cards in September in preparation for Co-op Month, or you can request a bundle by e-mailing
  • Use “Go Co-op” Shelf Tags to Promote Co-op Products. Use the NFCA’s “Go Co-op” Shelf Talkers (photo above) to promote co-op suppliers in your food co-op.  Every September NFCA member co-ops receive printed copies to update their shelves. You can also download templates here to print on pre-perforated channel tag paper: Bulk, Grocery, Refrigerated & Wellness items, and Cheese & Dairy items.
  • Co-op Month Buttons for Staff, Board Members and Volunteers doing outreach. We will be mailing a set of buttons to member co-ops in time for Co-op Month. Let us know if you want to request a certain number.
  • Co-op Month Sales. Set up an end cap or special Co-op Month Specials on products from co-op suppliers.  Visit for a list of co-op suppliers.
  • Demo Co-op Products. Invite area co-ops to share their products with shoppers at your food co-op.  Some co-ops in our region that you may want to reach out to include:
  • Invite Other Co-ops to Table at Your Food Co-op or Event. Invite local farmer co-ops, worker co-ops, energy co-ops, credit unions, etc., to share information at a busy shopping day at your food co-op or at a speical Co-op Month event. For a map of co-ops in our region, visit
  • Fundraise for Co-op Development during Co-op Month. Set aside a day, week or the whole month to invite shoppers to round up at the register to raise funds for the Howard Bowers Fund (, the Cooperative Fund of New England (, Food Co-op Initiative ( NFCA start-up members that are seeking donations for development such as Amherst Community Co-op (MA) and Assabet Village Food Co-op (MA).


  • Co-op Month Membership Drive. Co-op Month is a great time to build your food co-op or start-up membership! Use this opportunity to help potential members understand what makes your co-op different and why they should join.
  • Co-op Month Talking Points. Your staff and members are your best ambassadors for your food co-op. Provide them with talking points on Co-op Month and how your food co-ops builds community every day. It could be as simple as:

“Did you know that October is National Co-op Month? We’re celebrating the many ways that our co-op is committed to our community, including [share any special events or promotions that your co-op has planned].”

Or more detailed:

“We’re excited to celebrate how our food co-op is committed to our community. Did you know that we’re locally owned by over ____ members, provide good jobs to ____ people, and purchase more that $____ from local producers every year?”

“And we’re not alone! The Neighboring Food Co-op Association includes more than 35 food co-ops and start-ups that are locally owned by more than 130,000 people across the Northeast, providing good jobs to 2,000 people, and purchasing more than $60 million from local producers every year.”

– “Bring a Friend to Your Co-op Day.” Offer some incentive for every member who brings in a friend who has never shopped in their Co-op or who brings in a friend to join, or…

– “Bring Your Co-op to Work Day.”  Create basic materials for how members can share about their Co-op at work (in staff meetings, bulletin board) or in community groups (book club, sports, etc.).


  • Co-op Month Proclamation. E-mail us for a template “Co-op Month Proclamation” to adapt and submit to your city or town for approval. Contact your local city or town government for information on how to submit a proclamation and remember to plan ahead as local governments may need time to consider your request. (Note that the NFCA is already filing proclamations with state governments in our region.)
  • Organize a Co-op Month Event. Work with other co-ops and credit unions in the community to organize a Co-op Month Cookout with information tables, or a Film Showing and discussion forum with a video that includes information on co-ops such as:

– The Visionaries PBS program (2016) celebrates NCBA CLUSA’s 100th anniversary and will be ready for release this fall — your food co-op can sign up to host a screening for Co-op Month!

– “Food for Change” (2014) is an 82-minute documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture.

– “Shift Change” features Spain’s Mondragón co-ops and worker co-ops here in the US.

  • Reach Out to Your Local School or Community Organization. Use the New England Farmers Union Curriculum, “Co-operatives: The Business of Teamwork” in education & outreach programs at your co-op, or share it with local schools and community organizations that do educational programs.  Curriculum includes content for grades 1 to adult.  Download a copy HERE or e-mail for more information on printed copies.
  • Start a Co-op Month Book Group on for members at your food co-op.  Some recent titles include:

– “Building Co-operative Power,” is the story of worker co-ops in western New England and the potential for cross sector collaboration in growing the Co-operative Economy.

– “Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital,” by John Restakis.  Available at your local bookstore or from New Society Press,

– “The Cooperative Solution,” by E.G. Nadeau.  This short book (109 pp) makes the case that co-ops across sectors are the solution to many of the major economic, social, and environmental problems in the United States today.

For more titles, visit

Don’t forget to tell us what your co-op is doing to celebrate Co-op Month.  Send your ideas and copies of your co-op’s ads, press releases, promotions, and newsletter articles to so we can share them with other co-ops in our community.