E-News // The Gift of Co-operation // December 2016

Stay in the loop on the latest innovations in New England’s co-op movement: www.nfca.coop/signup

This holiday season, give a gift of…

UPCOMING EVENTS:  NOFA Conferences, Food Co-op Certificate, NFCA’s Annual Meeting & more!


Visit Your Local Food Co-op for Gifts that Grow the Local Economy!

In December of 1844, a group of community activists established the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, opening a humble, community-owned grocery store in the North of England. While this food co-op seemed a modest effort on the surface, its success eventually changed the world, launching a global movement for economic democracy that today includes more than a billion members worldwide. Rooted in values such as democracy, equality and solidarity, co-ops empower people to meet the needs of their communities through democratically governed, community-owned enterprise.

As we gather to celebrate the holidays together, build on the legacy of the Rochdale Pioneers by giving the gift of co-operation. Your local food co-ops offer many products that not only make great gifts but also help build a more healthy, just and sustainable food system and a stronger local economy:

Localvore Gift Basket, Middlebury Food Co-op, 2016
Gift ideas from Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op


To find a food co-op near you, visit https://nfca.coop/members.

For more ideas on how you can give the gift of co-operation this holiday, check out the stories below.


Give the Gift of Local Artisan Cheese!

Looking for a great, local addition to your holiday cheese plate? Check out “Willoughby” from Jasper Hill Creamery in Greensboro, VT, December’s “Cave to Co-op” special local artisan cheese.

This succulent and buttery washed-rind cheese is made with pasteurized cow milk and has a thin, tender, rosy-orange rind, which adds earthy dimension to the texture and flavors of the gooey interior.

Pair with funky saison beer or raw floral honey or try out this recipe:  https://nfca.coop/CaveToCo-opDecember2016

Look for the “Cave to Co-op” sign in the cheese section of your local food co-op. The project 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 this program, visit: www.nfca.coop/CaveToCo-op.


Give the Gift of New Food Co-ops! 

It’s easy to give the gift of Co-operation this holiday season – by supporting communities across our region that are working to launch new food co-ops! In collaboration with our partners at the Cooperative Fund of New England, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association invites you to make special year-end tax deductible donation to support some of these efforts:

Young Supporter of the Assabet Village Co-op
Start-up, MA

Your contribution will help these projects get off the ground, building the local economy, community ownership and good, sustainable jobs. With your help, we are growing the co-operative economy, together.

You can also contribute to our partners at Food Co-op Initiativewho are working to support over 120 communities to organize their own food co-ops.

Your contribution will help these projects get off the ground, building the local economy, community ownership and good, sustainable jobs. With your help, we are growing the co-operative economy, together.



Give the Gift of Co-operative Education!

Ongoing education and training is a basic principle of the Co-operative Movement, calling on co-operators to ensure that they “provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives” and “inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.”

Students taking the midterm for “Introduction to
the Co-operative Movement” at UMASS Amherst

Our co-operative community has created many opportunities develop shared shared resources to help leaders of all ages to access the training and information they need to be effective members, board members and staff. You can help by making a special year-end charitable contribution to the following:

  • The Howard Bowers Fund offers grants for the training and education of food co-op staff, managers, and board members. You can make a special charitable donation in honor of recipients of the NFCA’s “Neighboring Co-operator” Award, including Alex Gyori, former General Manager at Brattleboro Food Co-op, and Terry Appleby, retiring General Manager at Co-op Food Stores / Hanover Consumer Co-operative Society.
  • The Ralph K. Morris Foundation provides resources to help emerging leaders expressing interest in applying and advancing the principles of co-operation, and in promoting farmland preservation, land stewardship and sustainability. Their support has enabled people to access educational opportunities and networking such as conferences.
  • The Co-operative Management Education program at Saint Mary’s University offers and online Master of Management program and in-person opportunities for co-operative professionals. You can support scholarship resources by giving online at http://www.smu.ca/giving/ways-to-give.html. Be sure to specify that your gift is for the “Leadership in Co-operative Management Education Bursary (Sobey School of Business)”.

Your support will help ensure that the next generation of leaders has the tools they need to grow the Co-operative Movement for the future.


Give the Gift of Thriving Family Farms!

Dear Co-operators,

My name is Margaret Hathaway and, as a Maine dairy and poultry farmer and member of New England Farmers Union (NEFU), I am asking you to join me in supporting the important work they do by making a special year end tax-deductible donation to the New England Farmers Union Education Foundation.

Margaret, Karl, Joshua & Chansonetta (Photograph by Jose Azel, Aurora Photos)
Margaret, Karl, Joshua & Chansonetta
(Photograph by Jose Azel / Aurora Photos)

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the National Farmers Union Fly-In. My husband Karl and I had been cultivating Ten Apple Farm for a decade, but our diversified homestead in Southern Maine is just 18 acres. I worried that the scale on which we farm didn’t “count.” We were relatively new members of the Farmers Union and we had joined because we knew that NEFU gives voice to thosein our region who farm, fish, and care about the sources of their food.

Though our farm defines our lives, like so many in our position, it provides only a portion of our income. As I prepared to meet with legislators, I was convinced that the only voices that get any attention in Washington were the big guys, and that definitely was not us. At the Fly-In, I was paired with two other farmers, one of whom was a young woman from New Hampshire who had spent the past year participating in the NFU Beginning Farmer Institute. Imagine my amazement at the reception our trio got: Senators and Representatives from across the political spectrum made time to meet with us, to ask questions about how specific federal policies were affecting our farms, and to thank us for our stewardship of the land in their districts. They seemed genuinely committed to ensuring that their constituents had access to safe, sustainably produced local foods. I saw then the impact that the National Farmers Union has, and how, in its big tent, our dense corner of agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry is just as essential to the conversation as the broad swaths of farmland in the West.

As Karl and I have become more involved with NEFU, we’ve seen up close the important work that the organization does to educate decision makers, young farmers, and consumers about the sources of our food and the importance of supporting sustainable stewardship of our land. We’ve been impressed by the respect NEFU commands from both sides of the aisle, and the voice it gives to farmers and producers who are off the grid and out of the box.

In this year of divisive rhetoric and unpredictable politics, it has never been more important to make our voices heard. Looking forward, the direction that agricultural policy will take is unknown. What is abundantly clear is that we must stand together in supporting our fellow farmers and producers at all scales. We must continue to educate policy-makers and government officials about the concerns of our family farms, work to diversify NEFU membership and boost its benefits, nurture beginning farmers, support the fine work done by the Education Foundation, and foster co-operative development.

Please join me in supporting the New England Farmers Union Education Foundation. Your generous tax deductible donation will ensure that the diverse voices of New England’s farmers are heard.

You can also give the gift of New England Farmers Union Membership for that special someone on your list who wants to be more involved in our efforts to grow family agriculture in our region.

With warmest regards,

Margaret Hathaway, New England Farmers Union Member

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. NFCA Executive Director Erbin Crowell serves as Vice President of NEFU, and many of our Neighboring Food Co-ops are organizational members.  For more info on our partnership & how you can become a member: www.newenglandfarmersunion.org/co-operation.



For More Co-op & Food System Related Events, Visit:



January 10, 2017

Saint Mary’s University Co-op Management Education Programs Informational Webinar 

Register Online Here


January 14, 2017

Northeast Organic Food Association MASS Winter Conference

Worcester State University, Worcester, MA



January 28, 2017

Northeast Organic Food Association NH Winter Conference



February 18-20, 2017

35th Annual Northeast Organic Food Association VT Winter Conference

February 28, 2017 (8 week online course)

Food Co-op Development Professional Certificate, University of Vermont

Launching Your New Food Co-op 



March 1-3, 2017

Saint Mary’s University Co-operative Education Program

Intensive Executive Education Program, Guelph, ON

Click Here For More Information and to Register


March 18, 2017

Neighboring Food Co-op Association 6th Annual Meeting

For Member Co-ops & Start-Ups Only


May 11-13, 2017

2nd International Symposium on Accounting and Reporting

Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


Neighboring Food Co-op Association
PO Box 93, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
email: info@nfca.coop
website: www.nfca.coop
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/neighboring