Co-op E-News & Updates: New Year, New Co-op Momentum / January, 2018 Neighboring Food Co-ops: 

Locally Owned by More Than

100,000 People Like You!

In this Month’s E-News, check out:

Let’s Grow Co-ops in 2018!

As we charge forward into 2018, it’s exciting to look back and celebrate some of the exciting successes of our Member Food Co-ops. As more people across the Northeast become interested in local, democratic ownership and more inclusive economies, we’re seeing existing food co-ops grow and start-ups open their doors.

During this past year, we saw some exciting examples of people working together to grow their co-ops, serve more local farmers and producers, provide good jobs, and build the co-operative economy:

  • Just in time for Thanksgiving, City Market, Onion River Co-op in Vermont opened their second location in the South End of Burlington and is now owned by more than 13,000 member-owners;
  • Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op (VT) expanded their store, doubling their retail floor space
  • Littleton Food Co-op in New Hampshire expanded its store by 9,500 square feet, enabling the co-op to serve its members better; and
  • Morrisville Food Co-op in Vermont became our latest start-up member to open its doors, growing our community of food co-ops across the Northeast.

And in 2018, there’s lots to celebrate on the horizon:

  • Among the anniversaries to celebrate in 2018, Fiddleheads Food Co-op in Connecticut and River Valley Co-op in Massachusetts will both celebrate 10 years since opening their doors; and City Market, Onion River Co-op (VT) turns 45!
  • Monadnock Food Co-op in New Hampshire, our first start-up member to open its doors back in 2013, is already planning an expansion;
  • Putney Food Co-op (VT) is expanding their store to better meet the needs of their member-owners with more seating, kitchen space, grab & go options and improved flow
  • River Valley Co-op (MA) is planning to open a second store; and
  • Urban Greens Food Co-op, a member start-up in Providence, RI, plans to open their doors this year!

Here’s to a Co-operative New Year in 2018!

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

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

Meet NFCA’s New Staff

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is excited to start off the year with a NEW position and NEW staff member! We are excited to share that Suzette Snow-Cobb has joined our staff as Sourcing Coordinator.

Suzette has been involved with food co-ops since the mid 80’s, and worked with Franklin Community Co-op for 20 years.She also served as NFCA’s Board President from 2016 to 2018, and currently serves on the board of the Valley Co-operative Business Association and as Stakeholder Director for Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops Board of Directors. She holds a Master of Management: Co-operatives & Credit Unions from Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia.

Suzette will focus her efforts on our Farm to Freezer and Cave to Co-op programs; we are thrilled to be growing our capacity in this important part of our work!

“I’m excited to work with our members and NFCA staff to grow these programs and continue to expand and promote innovative sourcing projects to come,” says Suzette.

Welcome, Suzette!

Welcome Our Newest Member Co-op!

High Falls Food Co-op, New York     

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is proud to welcome High Falls Food Co-op in High Falls, NY, as its newest member co-op!

Since 1976, the High Falls Food Co-op has provided their community with healthy food at the lowest prices possible.

Started by a few hungry people seeking good organic produce, the Co-op is now a flourishing community hub with 1,400 members and growing every season. For more than 40 years, the High Falls Food Co-op has served its members, vendors, and their wider community. They provide fresh produce to customers from over 100 local growers and vendors in the Hudson Valley.

The Co-op is a group of local people working together, committed to an economic model that puts ownership in the hands of the member/owner community.

The Co-op’s priorities are simple:

  • To Serve the Common Good by working together to provide a sustainable economic model that follows fair trade practices and supports the community as a whole.
  • To Stay Local by buying from suppliers, growers, and vendors regionally whenever possible.
  • To Provide the Best by offering a wide range of healthy and/or organic products in addition to those produced locally or regionally in order to best serve the needs of our members.
  • To be an Educational Resource for our Owner/Members and the community on nutrition, wellness, and issues that impact the environment.

Please visit our website for more information on High Falls Food Co-op and all of our Member Co-ops!

Honoring J. Kevin Crocker

In Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA)’s November newsletter we announced the launch of the J. Kevin Crocker Scholarship Fund for Education in Co-operative Enterprise. This new fund was established to honor J. Kevin Crocker, a senior lecturer in the UMass Department of Economics, for his service, dedication and contribution to co-op education, and particularly to the development of the Certificate in Applied Research on Co-operative Enterprises at the University. Resources from the Fund will support internships with the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, as part of this unique certificate program though the Department of Economics.

We are saddened to share that J. Kevin Crocker, 65, died peacefully at his home on January 8th, surrounded by his devoted family. In addition to serving as a senior lecturer since 2012, Kevin was the department’s chief undergraduate advisor and honors program director. He joined the department in 2005 as lecturer, and served as academic advisor beginning in 2007. Kevin was both an optimist and a realist, as well as a practitioner whose job experience included membership with a worker co-op auto repair shop. He was also a colleague who was always ready to provide feedback and support as I learned the ropes as an adjunct lecturer at UMass, and a friend as I wrestled with my own health issues over the past year. It is important to remember that we do not do our work alone, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know Kevin over the past few years and to be part of the effort to honor his memory.

Kevin was the son of Almon and Mabel (Tardif) Crocker. After Mabel’s passing, he was raised by his sister Arleen (Crocker) DeFazio and her husband Enrico DeFazio. He is survived by his wife Gwen McClellan; his children Arlen, Declan and Liam; daughter-in-law Lauren; and siblings Donna Interlande, Sheldon Crocker and Sheila Newton. In lieu of flowers, his family has offered that contributions can be made to the J. Kevin Crocker Scholarship Fund to support his commitment to co-operatives and to undergraduate internships with co-operative enterprises through the Department of Economics.

Contributions can be made to NEFU Education Foundation at (indicate donation is in honor of “J. Kevin Crocker”) or by mail to NEFU Education Foundation (with “Crocker Fund” in the memo), 176 Avenue A, Suite 2, Turners Falls 01376.

Erbin Crowell

Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association

This Month’s Local Artisan Cheese

Shepsog from Grafton Village Cheese

Looking for a great, local cheese to kick off the year? There’s still time to grab some Shepsog from Grafton Village Cheese at your local food co-op.

The aromas of cultured butter and fresh buttermilk, alongside bright flavors that are lemony and sweet, with notes of caramel and a clean, nutty finish.

Shepsog is best served as a table cheese. Pair with toasted nuts and raw honey, shave over grilled asparagus, or enjoy with a handful of trail mix as you observe the view from your nearest mountaintop.

More info and recipes:

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 Cave to Co-op, visit:

Thanks to Dorsey & Whitney LLP for their support of our Neighboring Food Co-ops.

Farmers Union: Restore Organic Livestock Standard

Consistency Issues Threaten Viability of Organic Family Farmers

While bad actors in private industry pose consistent threats to the integrity of the organic food label, the federal government should not. Yet a recent decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule does just that, and it should be reversed immediately, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).

Currently, organic certifiers are inconsistently applying animal welfare standards to farming and ranching operations. This, in turn, endangers the organic label’s integrity and ultimately leads to consumer confusion over what practices the organic label represents. The OLPP rule would have helped mitigate these concerns by standardizing organic livestock and poultry practices that producers need to meet for the voluntary National Organic Program (NOP).

On January 17, the NFU Board of Directors approved a resolution urging USDA to make the OLPP rule effective immediately. The Board noted this action is vital for both the integrity of the organic label and the well-being of the family farmers who adhere to strict, voluntary organic standards. NFU also submitted public comments today in favor of putting the rule in place.

“Central to the success of the National Organic Program is integrity in the label,” said the NFU Board. “Despite stakeholder demands for consistency, certifiers have inconsistently applied animal husbandry standards across the industry. Consumer confusion threatens the continued success of the program and the significant investment family farmers have made.”

 The Organic Foods Production Act directed the National Organic Standards Board to provide direction on changes and modernization to the National Organic program. The program was always intended to represent continued improvement and modernization. The NOSB directed NOP to issue standards for organic livestock and poultry producers to maintain consistency across the program.

The Board noted that the OLPP rule enjoyed widespread industry support, which was reflected in the more than 47,000 public comments submitted in favor of the rule. “USDA withdrew the rule and blocked implementation of these standards, even though they have long been expected by the organic community and clearly reflect strong stakeholders input,” it wrote.

“The maintenance of high standards for the organic program is essential for the continuance of consumer confidence and the economic viability of the program for family farmers,” said the Board. “We urge USDA to make the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule effective immediately.”

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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:

Feb 2-3, 2018

35th Annual New Hampshire Farm & Forest Expo

Manchester, NH


Feb 17-19, 2018

Northeast Organic Farming Association Vermont Chapter Winter Conference

Burlington, VT


March 3-6, 2018

National Farmers Union 116th Annual Convention

Kansas City, MO


Saturday 17, March 2018

Neighboring Food Co-op Association 7th Annual Meeting

For NFCA Member Co-ops and Partner Organizations


March 18, 2018

Northeast Organic Farming Association New Hampshire Chapter Winter Conference

Concord, NH


April 4, 2018 (Wed)

Associated Buyers Table Top Show

Portland, ME


May 2, 2018

Co-op Hall of Fame

Washington, DC


May 5, 2018

NFCA Food Co-op Start-Up Training

Keene, NH


May 31 – June 2, 2018

CCMA National Food Co-op Conference

Portland, OR


July 7, 2018

International Day of Co-operatives


August 10-12, 2018

Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference

Amherst, MA



Oct 3-5, 2018


NCBA CLUSA Co-op Impact Conference

Washington, DC

Oct 6, 2018


NCBA CLUSA Co-op Festival

Washington, DC

October 13, 2018


CDS Consulting Co-op’s “Co-op Cafe”

Greenfield, MA

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.