The Gift of Co-operation / December, 2018 / Co-op E-News & Updates

Your Neighboring Food Co-ops


Locally Owned by More Than


100,000 People Like You!

In this month’s E-news check out: 

Go Co-op for the Holidays!

Nearly 175 years ago today, a group of community activists established the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers and opened a humble, member-owned grocery store in the North of England. Building on the efforts and ideals of people from diverse communities around the world, their goal was to create a different way of doing business, rooted in values including democracy, equality and solidarity. With shelves stocked with basic items such as candles and oats, their food co-op seemed a modest effort at first. But the principles they established contributed to a global movement for economic democracy that today includes more than a billion people worldwide.

As we gather to celebrate the holidays together, consider giving gifts that help build a more healthy, just, and sustainable food system and a stronger local economy! Your local food co-ops offer many options, including:

To find a food co-op near you, visit:

A Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

From our beginnings as a regional network of food co-ops, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association has been engaged in dialog and shared learning on how our co-operatives can better reflect our values, principles, and the diversity of our communities as we work to build a more just, sustainable, and inclusive economy.

Past gatherings of our Association have focused on sharing the experience of member co-ops, learning from the history of our movement, and listening to partners as we develop new strategies and approaches to building community empowerment. Many of the presentations from these events are available on our website as a resource for food co-ops and other organizations.

These dialogs have helped shape initiatives such as our Healthy Food Access program. Originally launched in partnership with the Cooperative Fund of New England, Hunger Free Vermont, and the New England Farmers Union, this effort has helped member co-ops share effective strategies for making healthy food and member-ownership more broadly available, and expanding community ownership and participation.

In response to more recent events, in 2017 the NFCA Board of Directors approved a resolution on Diversity, Inclusion & Democracy. “We believe that we are better when we are welcoming, when we lift one another up, and when we work together to make life better for everyone,” read the statement. “In this context, we reaffirm our commitment to being not just welcoming businesses, but empowering community enterprises. We seek to be positive resources and influences, presenting opportunities for constructive dialogs and collective actions for change.”

This Fall, we presented on some of our experiences in our workshop, Breaking Down Walls and Building Participation, at NCBA CLUSA’s 2nd Annual Co-op IMPACT Conference. This gathering, which drew more than 330 co-operators from close to 200 organizations to Arlington focused on our opportunity as a movement to work together to an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In September, Patrice Lockert Anthony, President of GreenStar Cooperative Market’s Board, led a workshop on ‘The Challenges and Rewards of Diversity and Inclusion (or Honoring Co-op Vision/Mission)’ to more than 55 representatives from food co-ops from across the Northeast at NFCA’s Board Peer Training.  And in November, 50 managers, board members and staff from a group of our member co-ops participated in a training on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

On a local level, we have begun to see food co-ops are increasingly described as effective partners in building food security and economic inclusion. For example, a recent column in the Recorder (MA) entitled, “Greenfield’s Food Co-op An Oasis for Access to Healthy Food” shares how food co-ops like Franklin Community Co-op are anchors for improving food security through Healthy Food Access programs that help address issues of the cost of healthy food, education and community engagement, and facilitating member ownership.

As we look forward to a New Year, we remain committed to the work of weaving diversity, equity and inclusion into our efforts to support the growth, impact, and shared success of our member food co-ops. Together, we are building a more healthy, just, and sustainable food system and economy.

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

Cool Weather, Warm Your Heart Veggies

It warms our heart to be able to offer Northeast grown vegetables even during the winter months. Our farmers have worked hard to bring us fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the season and with choosing Neighboring Food Co-op Association frozen vegetables, you can know you are supporting family farms in our region all year long.

Your co-op has the ingredients you need for making simple, nutritious, and creative meals for your family. Holiday celebrations or every day, keep warm with recipes like this Easy Polenta and Co-op Corn.

Easy Polenta with Co-op Corn!

Serves 4, 25 min prep


  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 cups frozen corn (1 pkg NFCA corn, 10 oz)
  • 1 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups water (or veggie or chicken stock)
  • 1 cup fine corn meal
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese (combination of parmesan, cheddar or your favorite hard cheese)
  • 1 tbs green chilis
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbs red sweet pepper, finely chopped (optional)


  1. In large sauce pan melt 1 tbs butter and add frozen corn, cilantro, and red pepper.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally until corn is warmed through (about 1 min).
  3. Add milk and water, bring to a boil. Attention so that it doesn’t boil over.
  4. Whisk in corn meal, stirring constantly until corn is thick and creamy (about 4 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and ad remaining butter, cheese, salt, pepper, and chilis.
  6. With addition of red pepper, you’ll have festive red and green Polenta.
  7. Serve immediately. Polenta can also be cooled in a glass baking dish to be later reheated.

The vision of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association is of a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. Bringing Northeast grown fruits and vegetables to you by your co-op is a part of this sustainable food system, supporting family farmers all year long.

For more Farm to Freezer information and recipes visit:

December’s Cave to Co-op Special

Twig Tomme by Twig Farm, West Cornwall, VT

Twig Farm is owned by Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman and has been in business since 2005. The twenty-acre farm is located in West Cornwall, Vermont, about 10 miles south of Middlebury. Michael manages the herd of around 50 goats and makes and ages the cheese. Emily manages the business and marketing.

Michael makes all Twig Farm cheese by hand using traditional techniques and equipment for small-scale artisan cheese production. The cheeses age in a cellar with a temperature and humidity-controlled environment. Michael has recently tweaked the cultures he uses, and the temperature of his cellars and the result is bright yet complex flavors and mottled natural rinds.

Tomme is the purest expression of Twig Farm’s goat’s milk as it changes from March to December. Don’t be fooled by its rustic exterior! Aged a minimum of 90 days, this semi-firm raw-milk cheese is delicately flavored with notes of roasted almond and lemon peel. Incredibly versatile for pairing: Loire Valley Chenin, off-dry cider, a mid-weight stout or a light red wine would make excellent partners for a little wedge of this goodness!

Cave to Co-op 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.

Perfect on its own, here is an appetizer recipe, excellent for a holiday party.

Crostini w/Twig Tomme, celery and Sichuan peppercorns

Makes 12

  • 12 thin slices baguette
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 2 celery hearts, very thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces Twig Tomme, very thinly sliced
  • 2 t Sichuan peppercorns, cracked and lightly crushed

Heat a broiler. Brush the bread on both sides with the olive oil. Broil until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Rub the garlic clove over each slice of bread. Top with slices of celery and Twig Tomme. Sprinkle with crushed peppercorns and serve.

More info and recipes:

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

Farmers Union: Give the Gift of Thriving Family Farms

This Holiday, Consider Giving the Gift of Thriving Family Farms

During the holiday season, we follow traditions that keep important celebrations alive. As we prepare meals and break bread with family and friends, we can also remember to thank the people who grow the abundant food for our tables, and support policies and programs that will help them to continue to increase their productivity.

In this country and around the world, the foundation of our food system is the family farm, a proven model for stability, sustainability and productivity. Because the family farm model represents 98% of all farming households worldwide, the key to feeding the global population is to provide a fair playing field for family farmers and ranchers. We can also advocate for policies that promote co-operative development, enabling producers to achieve the scale needed to meet growing global demand while supporting local ownership and control.

As you consider your year-end giving, we hope you will consider becoming a friend of our region’s farmers and fishermen by joining the New England Farmers Union, giving a gift membership, or making a special year-end charitable contribution to the NEFU Education Foundation.

A thriving regional food system needs the voice of our region’s family farmers and fishermen. For more information, please visit

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The New England Farmers Union Needs You!

If you care about where your food comes from and want to support the people who produce it, consider joining NEFU as a Friend of the Farmer for just $15. Your membership will help ensure that our region’s producers and consumers are heard by policy makers here at home and in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit

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 the Northeast.

Our Neighborhood Co-op Calendar


Jan 12, 2019

NOFA/MASS Winter Conference, Worcester, MA


Jan 18-20, 2019

NOFA New York Winter Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY



Feb 16-18, 2019

NOFA Vermont Winter Conference, Burlington, VT


MARCH 2019

March 1 – Mar 2, 2019

Up & Coming, Up & Running (For Start-Up Food Co-ops), Milwaukee, WI


March 23, 2019

Neighboring Food Co-op Association 8th Annual Meeting

For NFCA Member Co-ops and Partner Organizations


MAY 2019

May 8, 2019

Co-op Hall of Fame, National Press Club, Washington, DC

Join us in celebrating the induction of Terry Appleby, retired General Manager of Co-op Food Stores, Hanover Consumer Co-op, NFCA


May 18, 2019

NFCA 4th Annual Start-Up Food Co-op Gathering, Keene, NH


JUNE 2019

Jun 6-8, 2019

CCMA National Food Co-op Conference, Durham, NC



Aug 10-12

NOFA Summer Conference, Amherst, MA


Aug 16-18, 2019

Federation of Southern Co-operatives 52nd Annual Meeting





Oct 2-4

NCBA CLUSA Co-op Impact Conference


Oct 19

CDS Co-op Cafe, Keene, NH

Co-Hosted by the NFCA

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.