A Season for Solidarity // NFCA News, December 2020

Your Neighboring Food Co-ops

Locally Owned by More Than

150,000 People Like You!

In this Month’s E-News, check out:

A Season for Solidarity 

Looking back on a challenging year, we are more thankful than ever for the solidarity of our member co-ops and partners as we have worked to keep our communities healthy and safe, our local economies vibrant and resilient, and our food co-ops successful and growing.

Together, we can see a better future. Solidarity and cooperation is what has gotten us through the past year, and solidarity has sown the seeds of a better world. As the Neighboring Food Co-op Association looks forward to celebrating a Decade of Impact in 2021, we know that co-ops will be key to rebuilding our food system and economy in a way that is more just, inclusive, and sustainable and we look forward to working with you to build this future, together.

Here’s to a Co-operative New Year!

In Co-operation,

The Board of Directors & Staff of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association

Last Minute Gift? No Problem!

Consider gift giving and special foods that spread the love while helping to build a more

Putney Food Co-op entrance, VT

healthy, just, and sustainable food system and a stronger local economy!

Choosing your local food co-op for their offerings. There are many options, including:

However you choose to celebrate this season, you can find all of the ingredients you need for to bring joy to friends and family, whether near or far — and a more inclusive and sustainable community — at the co-op!

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

Welcome, Caledonia Food Co-op!

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is excited to introduce you to our newest Startup Member, the Caledonia Food Co-op in St. Johnsbury, VT.

The Caledonia Food Co-op will help the economic redevelopment of their region, providing a new market for local producers, expanded access to natural and organic products, and advocacy for healthy lifestyle choices. “Ultimately, we believe the member-owner structure of a food co-op will create lasting community resilience and wealth.”

A growing group of member-owners, driven by our mission, a dream and our love and appreciation of successful co-ops everywhere, is working hard to bring a modern food co-op to the community. After two years of organizing and feasibility studies, the Caledonia Food Co-op in St. Johnsbury Vermont is getting serious about sites and sources! Their momentum is reflected in their recent membership run up with over 150 new members joining since October!

“The Caledonia Food Co-op decided to joined the NFCA to support co-op advocacy and gain useful resources from NFCA staff, peers and national partner Food Co-op Initiative. The first NFCA peer call we attended featured a membership presentation by FCI staff that was amazing! It was the kind of thing we would have keynoted an annual meeting with or something, but here it was, delivered to us on a Monday evening. Strategic and Motivational,” said Caledonia Food Co-op President, Eric Skovsted. “Thank you, NFCA, for making connections and helping co-ops in our region focus on what matters most: their member-owners!”

Find out more and support the Caledonia Food Co-ophttps://www.caledoniafood.coop/about

The NFCA includes over 40 Food Co-ops and Startups across New England and New York State that are working together toward a vision a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. For a map of your Neighboring Food Co-ops, please visit https://nfca.coop/members 

Short Course in Co-op Governance & Management

Executive Education training addresses unique opportunities in leading and managing co-operatives while placing members at the core of business success.

Join your Neighboring Food Co-ops for an engaging online course on Excellence in Member-centric Governance and Management, offered by the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University. Designed for seasoned decision-makers and emerging leaders from any sector or type of co-operative, all will benefit from this knowledge-rich, two-day course.

Learn more and register now for upcoming sessions:

  • FEB 17 & 18, 2021 // 10:00am- 3:30pm EST

As part of December’s training, Cornelius Blanding, executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives was interviewed by Erbin Crowell, executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, on the role of co-ops in the struggle for Civil Rights in the South and the importance of co-operative associations working together to advance racial and economic justice today.

Food co-ops from the Northeast participating in past sessions of the training have included Belfast Food Co-op (ME), Buffalo Mountain Co-op (VT) Fiddleheads Food Co-op (CT), Honest Weight Food Co-op (NY), Hunger Mountain Co-op (VT), National Co+op Grocers, and Portland Food Co-op (ME).

“The Saint Mary’s Two Day Executive Course on Member-Centric Management was such an enlightening experience,” said Tim Wingate, CFO & Finance Manager at Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, VT, who participated in a training in October. “From the pre-course readings and case studies to several models, this session really helped to broaden my perspective of what it truly means to member-focused.”

Join us for this educational experience including presentations and discussions led by co-operative educators including:

  • Karen Miner, Managing Director, and Sonja Novkovic, Academic Director of the International Centre for Co-operative Management (ICCM), Saint Mary’s University
  • Key presentations by Fred Freundlich (LANKI, University of Mondragón, Spain) and Erbin Crowell (Neighboring Food Co-op Association and NCBA-CLUSA Board Chair, USA)
  • Featured speakers providing case studies and examples.

“Members are at the heart of the co-operative difference and our competitive advantage,” said Erbin Crowell, executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association and a presenter for the course. “These sessions offer a unique opportunity for co-op leaders to explore how a member-centric approach is essential to business success.”

Get more info and register:


Farm to Freezer: Kay’s Best Blueberry Pie

Holiday gatherings might look a little different this year, but creating special dishes highlighting local foods, like Kay’s Best Blueberry Pie, helps us build the future we want, together.

Pie: \ ˈpī \  a dessert consisting of a filling (as of fruit or custard) in a pastry shell or topped with pastry or both. Kay Litten, former member of the NFCA Board of Directors brought her blueberry pie to a board meeting a few years ago. Needless to say, there were no leftovers and Kay’s Blueberry Pie became a favorite and featured recipe using NFCA frozen blueberries.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants, a good source of fiber, manganese and vitamins C and K. Fresh or frozen, blueberries are a great choice of fruits. Yes, even in pie! Blueberries are native to North America and the NFCA frozen blueberries are grown by Northeast farmers.
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: www.nfca.coop/farmtofreezer.
We might just need more pie of all types in our vision as well and your co-op has the ingredients you need for making pies of all sorts! For holiday celebrations or every day, try Kay’s Best Blueberry Pie.

Kay’s Best Blueberry Pie

  • 4 cups frozen NFCA blueberries (4 packages)
  • •1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 baked pie shell or a prepared crumb crust

Crush 2 cups of berries and blend with the sugar and cornstarch (which have been mixed together).  Cook over direct heat, stirring frequently, until thick and smooth (8 to 10 minutes).   Add the lemon juice.  Cool.  Then fold the remaining berries into the mixture.

Sprinkle the sugar over the bottom of the pie shell and add the filling.  Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Top with the whip cream sweetened with the 1 tablespoon sugar.

December’s Cave to Co-op Special

West West Blue, Parish Hill Creamery, Westminster West, VT

Each month our Cave to Co-op partnership between Provisions International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) offers a delicious regional cheese featured at a great price. Strengthening our local and regional farmers and producers by supporting artisanal cheesemakers is a key goal of the Cave to Co-op program.

West West Blue is a traditional, two-curd Gorgonzola, made with whole, raw milk from Elm Lea Farm. The cheese is made in a multi-stage process, with curds held overnight mixed with warm, fresh curds the next day. The colder curds have a higher acidity, which is a very attractive space for the blue mold to grow. The edible rind surrounds a dense paste with streaks of blue mold, a creamy texture and a spicy, earthy flavor.

Parish Hill Creamery produces seasonal, hand made, raw milk cheeses inspired by the traditional cheeses of Italy. Peter Dixon brings over 30 years of cheesemaking experience and he is joined by his spouse Rachel Schaal and sister Alex Schall. The creamery is the culmination of Peter’s years making cheese, teaching classes, solving problems, and imagining possibilities. Peter, Rachel and Alex love making cheese. They make cheese traditionally, simply, as near to home as possible, and with the highest quality ingredients and results as can be had.

Parish Hill gets beautiful milk from Elm Lea Farm at the Putney School, just up the road from the creamery, and the milk is the result of healthy animals grazing lush pastures. Protein and fat are balanced ideally for the cheeses produced, and the cheese changes subtly throughout the season, reflecting the growth and maturation of various pasture plants.

Their starter cultures are made from the milk of four individual cows. Helga, Abigail, Clothilda, and Sonia were chosen for their health, their components, and their disposition. As a result, Parish Hill makes mother cultures that are truly an articulation of their milk and the resulting cheese is a revelation of that milk, the cows, the pastures, the water and the land.

For 10 years the Cave to Co-op program has featured a delicious artisan cheese every month and this month is no exception. You can see the past month’s featured cheeses on our website as well as recipes and more information about West West Blue see the December Cave to Co-op page.

Each month, our Cave to Co-op partnership between Provisions International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) offers a delicious regional cheese featured at a great price. Strengthening our local and regional farmers and producers by supporting artisanal cheesemakers is a key element of the Cave to Co-op program.

Join the New England Farmers Union!

We need your help to grow the movement for more resilient, sustainable & diverse family farms & fisheries in the Northeast.

As a new administration takes office in DC in the New Year, we want to ensure that we have the attention of legislators as they begin to make decisions about agriculture, rural policy, and pandemic relief. Your food co-op is committed to supporting local producers through your purchasing power, long-term partnerships, and collaboration.  We can also work together by joining our voices in calling for a more just, diverse and sustainable food system that works for everyone.

That’s why we hope you will join the New England Farmers Union!

Family Farmers and Fishers are the heart of the Farmers Union, and consumers are also invited to join as a “Friend of the Farmer.” Businesses or organizations can also join, and NFCA Member Co-ops can sign up at a special discounted rate.

Your support will help us build a better food and farm system in the Northeast, joining our voices with family farmers and fishers from across our region to lobby policy makers on a range of issues important to our region including:

  • Supporting Pandemic Recovery. As we work to help our communities rebuild, family farmers and co-operatives must be able to access the government support they need to survive and grow.
  • Strengthening Rural Communities. We need reinvestment in our rural hospitals and mental health resources, improved broadband connectivity in rural areas, and repairs to the damage done to our postal service.
  • Fighting Consolidation of our Food System. Our regional producers and processors need more direct access to markets, greater transparency from buyers, and more stable prices for dairy and other farm commodities.
  • Combatting Climate Change. Farmers need the resources, technology, and information necessary adapt to climate change — and a seat at the table and a strong voice in the development of climate policies and programs.

These efforts are vital for the future of our regional food system. But we need your help to grow the movement by helping us grow membership in the Farmers Union.

We hope you’ll consider joining the Farmers Union at this critical time!

For more information, please visit www.newenglandfarmersunion.org.

We know that the work of building a thriving regional food system requires partnership among producers and consumers. That’s why the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is an affiliate member of the Farmers Union. Together, we are supporting the success of our family farmers and fishers, growing co-operative business, and influencing the food and agriculture policies that affect us all.

Thank you for your support and collaboration as we work together for a stronger, more diverse and sustainable food system.

Our Local Farmers & Fishermen Need You!

Do you care about where your food comes from and want to support the people who produce it? Join the 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 www.newenglandfarmersunion.org.

Co-op Calendar

For More Co-op Events, Visit https://nfca.coop/calendar

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is a co-operative federation of 40 food co-ops and startup 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.