Co-op E-News & Updates: Building an Inclusive Economy / April, 2018 Neighboring Food Co-ops: 


Locally Owned by More Than


100,000 People Like You!

In this month’s E-news, check out:

NFCA 7th Annual Meeting: “Building an Inclusive Economy”

On March 17, co-operators from across our region gathered at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, MA, for the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), “Building an Inclusive Economy: The Co-operative Difference.” The meeting brought together 140 representatives from more than 50 food co-ops, start-up initiatives, and partner organizations.

Keynote speaker for the day was Doug O’Brien, President and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA), who presented the organization’s vision for a more inclusive economy, inviting input from attendees on how co-ops can mobilize their shared strength to empower people in our own communities and around the world.

“People are looking for alternatives to improve their lives and communities,” said O’Brien. “And we believe that one of the best alternatives is this co-op business model.”

“As a regional cooperative of food co-ops, NFCA is focused on helping its members collaborate, innovate and succeed,” said Erbin Crowell, Executive Director and NCBA CLUSA board member. “A key priority is ensuring that everyone is welcome at our co-ops—that people not only have access to healthy food, but also to membership and economic participation. NCBA CLUSA’s vision of a more inclusive economy is an opportunity for us to communicate the cooperative difference in a powerful way.”

In addition to reports from the NFCA Board of Directors and Staff, networking opportunities provided space for peer-to-peer dialogues on healthy food access and inclusion, using technology to compete, board development, and communicating impact. Afternoon workshops shared successful strategies growth, creating strong, resilient boards, and tools for membership development.

O’Brien emphasized that today’s challenges are also opportunities for cooperatives to demonstrate the key strengths of the business model. He identified cooperators already working to impact their communities by meeting unmet needs, incorporating sustainability into their business practices, providing 21st century infrastructure and anchoring communities. Whether as credit unions, home care professionals, rural electric cooperatives or food co-ops, cooperatives continue the tradition of making communities stronger and more inclusive because of their uniquely member-focused business model.

Elections chair Joanne Todd (Board, Willimantic Food Co-op, CT), announced the election of David Durfee (Wild Oats Co-op, MA), Neomi Lauritsen (Springfield Food Co-op, VT), and Chris Whiton (Littleton Food Co-op, NH) to the NFCA Board of Directors. Continuing on the Board of Directors are Katharine Arnold (Buffalo Mountain Co-op, VT), Kari Bradley (Hunger Mountain Co-op, VT), Faye Conte (City Market/Onion River Co-op, VT), John Crane (Portland Food Co-op, ME), Sue Miller (Upper Valley Food Co-op, VT), and Michael Wells (Putney Food Co-op, VT).

Faye Conte, NFCA Board Chair and President of City Market/Onion River Co-op, thanked outgoing Board Members Suzette Snow-Cobb and Joanne Todd for their service and named Roger Noonan, President of the New England Farmers Union (NEFU) with the 4th Annual “Neighboring Co-operator” award, acknowledging his leadership and advocacy for our region’s farmers and producers in DC.

Individuals and organizations are invited to make a tax-deductible contribution in honor of Roger Noonan to the Bowers Fund, which supports training and education for food co-op staff, managers, and board members:

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association includes 40 food co-ops and start-ups across New England and New York, locally owned by over 130,000 people like you! For more information, visit:

Thanks to CoBank for their support of our Neighboring Food Co-ops

Farm to Freezer Sale: Keep It Local All Year Long

As we anticipate the new growing season in the Northeast, we can still enjoy the bounty of local vegetables for healthy family meals.

Your local food co-op has the ingredients you need for making soups, stir-fries, and special meals including our frozen fruits and vegetables to keep it local and easy to prepare. And during the month of May, our Northeast Grown frozen products will be on sale at participating food co-ops — a great time to try them if you haven’t already.

Your local food co-op works hard to support our local farmers. And by working together, food co-ops across our region are making regionally grown produce available to our shoppers year ‘round. In 2017 alone, food co-op shoppers have purchased over 9,000 pounds of Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) Blueberries, Organic Broccoli, Organic Edamame, Organic Green Beans, and non-GMO Sweet Corn — all grown and packaged right here in the Northeast, and available only at your food co-op!

“We are pleased to have a sale on all NFCA frozen products during May. It’s a great time to try them and stock up before the fresh season’s harvest is available,” says Suzette Snow-Cobb, NFCA Sourcing Coordinator.

Eat healthy and support family farmers all year long with delicious produce from our region. Look for our Northeast Grown Frozen Fruits and Vegetables in the freezer section. They’re easy to find because they’re packed in a clear package so you can see what’s inside!

For more Farm to Freezer information and recipes — including a frittata recipe great for spring family celebrations using frozen corn, broccoli, or edamame — visit:


Thanks to Associated Buyers for their support of our Neighboring Food Co-ops

Co-op Takes Stand Against Proposed SNAP Cuts

The food co-op movement began in the 1800s as a way for people to work together to obtain pure, affordable food. In keeping with this legacy, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) has been focused on addressing food security in our own time through Healthy Food Access initiatives such as “Food for All,” which working to ensure that people in our communities with limited incomes have access to healthy food and membership in their local food co-ops.

Recently, the Board of Directors and General Manager of the Hanover Consumer Co-operative Society, which operates the Co-op Food Stores in New Hampshire and Vermont, took a stand against proposed federal budget cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (Better known as SNAP, or food stamps).

“Well-nourished communities are cultivated through cooperation,” wrote General Manager Ed Fox and Board President William Craig in a recent letter to the editor. “At our Co-op Food Stores, we see the positive impact of SNAP. Through SNAP, our neighbors have access to quality food. They can choose food that is nutritious and often locally grown, while selecting products that best meet their family’s needs.”

The letter also noted that Co-op Food Stores’ ‘Food for All’ program offers eligible shoppers an additional 10 percent more value for their SNAP dollars and, later this spring, will offer ‘Double-Up Bucks,’ enabling recipients to double the buying power of SNAP purchases for fresh, local produce.

In a resolution approved in March, the Board of Directors of Co-op formally stated its opposition to federal budget proposals to eliminate SNAP (Food Stamps) for the following reasons:

  • The budget proposal to replace roughly half of SNAP benefits with delivery of boxed food to eligible recipients is unfair and unhealthy.
  • The majority of people who benefit from SNAP are children and the elderly who cannot and should not be compelled to work in order to feed themselves.
  • With the minimum wage at $7.25, it is impossible for many workers to provide adequate nutrition for their families.
  • The change dramatically reduces the amount of fresh food recipients can receive by reducing their choice of foods.
  • The proposal does not accommodate people with special dietary needs. It takes away agency and disrespects poor Americans.
  • The proposal will increase food insecurity and food deserts and have a negative impact on local economies.
  • Mandating work requirements victimizes people who cannot find a job in this economy.
  • Around the nation, the current SNAP program bringsnutritional benefits to vulnerable people while spreading the economic impact of SNAP purchases among many retailers.

“We oppose any cuts to SNAP. More healthy food should be available and SNAP should not be privatized,” states the resolution. “We, the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society, Inc. Board of Directors are opposed to the current proposed federal budget and support restoration of and increase in the SNAP program.”

Read the Resolution:

This Month’s Local Artisan Cheese Special

Cabot Clothbound from Cabot Cooperative Creamery & Cellars at Jasper Hill

Looking for a great, local cheese to welcome Spring? Go Co-op and pick up Cabot Clothbound Cheddar cheese at your Neighboring Food Co-op.

In 1992, Cabot Co-operative joined forces with Agri-mark, a southern New England Co-op dating back to 1918. Today the combined cooperative includes more than 1,200 member farms in New England and upstate New York.

In 2003, Cabot Creamery asked Jasper Hill Farm to age a special batch of English-style clothbound cheddar. This was the beginning of a revolutionary partnership.

Cabot Co-operative Clothbound Cheddar is best enjoyed on its own with a slice of crisp apple or pear. It has all the characteristic texture of an English-style bandaged cheddar; smooth and dense, slightly brittle, with the sweet caramel and milky flavors that set it apart from other clothbound varieties. It is simultaneously sweet, savory, nutty and tangy.

More info and recipes:

Cave to Co-op t is a partnership between Provisions International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers. Each month, a delicious local cheese is featured at a great price.

For more information on Cave to Co-op, visit:

New England Farmers Union President Honored as “Neighboring Co-operator”

At the Neighboring Food Co-op Association’s (NFCA) Seventh Annual Meeting in Greenfield, MA, Roger Noonan, President of the New England Farmers Union (NEFU), received the annual “Neighboring Co-operator” award in recognition of his leadership and advocacy for our region’s farmers and producers before policymakers in DC.

“It’s such an honor to receive this award,” said Noonan. “Food co-ops have demonstrated the impact we can have when consumers and producers work together to grow local agriculture. And by adding our voices, we can make sure that food system policy will support the next generation of family farmers in the Northeast.”

In addition to his role as President of NEFU, Roger Noonan is an organic farmer in New Boston, NH, where he operates Middle Branch Farm, a diversified family farm with operations ranging from maple syrup, greenhouse, and organic vegetable production to organic hay and forage crop production, livestock production and on-farm composting. He is a founding board member of Local Harvest CSA, a co-operative of eight organic farms. Roger has been an acknowledged national leader in helping family farmers navigate the new Farm Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Roger is a regular attender at NFCA annual meetings where he provides updates on legislative issues and opportunities for food co-ops and their members to partner with producers on policy issues. He also presents regularly at NFCA’s annual Co-op Track of workshops at the NOFA Summer Conference.

Individuals and organizations are invited to make a tax-deductible contribution in honor of Roger Noonan and other recipients of the Neighboring Co-operator Award to the Howard Bowers Fund, which supports training and education for food co-op staff, managers, and board

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The New England Farmers Union Needs You!

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is an affiliate member of the New England Farmers Union (NEFU), representing our commitment to collaboration among consumers and our region’s family farmers and fishermen to influence food system policy and build a more vibrant, resilient and co-operative food system in New England.

If you care about where your food comes from and and want to support the people who produce it, consider joining NEFU as a Friend of the Farmer. Your membership will help ensure that our region’s producers and consumers are heard by policy makers here at home and in Washington, DC — and individual members of NFCA Member Food Co-ops can join at a special discount. For more information, please visit:

Co-op Calendar

For More Co-op & Food System Related Events visit:


May 2, 2018

Co-op Hall of Fame

Washington, DC


May 5, 2018

NFCA Northeast Food Co-op Start-Up Training Day

Keene, NH


May 31 – June 2, 2018

CCMA National Food Co-op Conference

Portland, OR


July 7, 2018

International Day of Co-operatives


Aug 10-12, 2018

Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference

Amherst, MA


Sept 15, 2018

NFCA Board to Board Peer Network Training

Upper Valley Food Co-op, White River Junction, VT



Oct 3-5, 2018

NCBA CLUSA Co-op Impact Conference

Washington, DC


Oct 6, 2018

NCBA CLUSA Co-op Festival

Washington, DC


Oct 13, 2018

CDS Consulting Co-op’s “Co-op Cafe” (Co-Hosted by NFCA)

Keene, NH


Nov 1-3rd, 2018

Co-operative Business Training with Saint Mary’s University (For Staff & Board Members)

Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA


March 23, 2019

Neighboring Food Co-op Association 8th Annual Meeting

For NFCA Member Co-ops and Partner Organizations


The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is a co-operative federation of 35 food co-ops and start-up initiatives across New England, working together toward a shared vision of a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just, and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of  co-operative enterprise.