Exciting Co-operation on the Horizon / January 2019 / 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:

Food Co-ops on the Grow!

As we celebrate the start of a new year, we’re excited to see so much growth and innovation among food co-ops across our region:

And as we grow the Co-operative Economy, we are also growing more good jobs, purchasing more from more local farmers and producers, and building more inclusive communities. Here’s to a Co-operative New Year in 2019!

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

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

Keynote Announced for NFCA’s Annual Meeting


The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) 8th Annual Meeting & Member Gathering is coming up on Saturday 23rd March 2019. This day-long training and networking event is a free event for up to four representatives of our Member Co-ops, including General Managers and Board Chairs, and other designated Staff and Board Members.

As we continue our dialog around the role of our food co-ops at the intersection of diversity, economic inclusion, food security, and climate change, we are excited to welcome as our keynote speaker Ruth Tyson, Coalitions Coordinator for the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Ruth facilitates the Good Food for All coalition, uniting grassroots and national organizations around a vision for a just, equitable and sustainable food system, and transforming the food system through policy advocacy.

Look for more information soon. In the meantime, please contact Bonnie Hudspeth for more information (bonnie@nfca.coop).

Co-ops Work to Fill The Gaps Left By Shutdown

As the partial federal government shutdown — now the longest in U.S. history — drags on, its negative impacts are rippling across the economy, sometimes in unanticipated ways. The news is full of stories of federal workers and contractors struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union is calling for an immediate end to the shutdown and impacts on family farmers and rural communities (see story below).

The impasse could affect people and their families in our communities who depend on SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps) because they are processed by federal employees of the Agriculture Department. Many of these workers have been furloughed, as detailed in this recent article in the Greenfield Recorder, “Shutdown Could Affect Food Stamp Benefits“.

Most SNAP recipients were able to receive their February benefits early, but the federal government’s shutdown mitigation plan does not have a contingency plan for March. This SNAP schedule change means families in our region and across the country will need to stretch a small amount of money over a longer period of time and not have enough food to feed their families.

Food co-ops are supporting their communities to address this gap in food security at this difficult time in a number of ways. Efforts include support in shopping on a budget, bulk buying options, and donations to local food banks. Many of our food co-ops also have need-based “Food for All” programs that offer an every day discount on healthy food for people who qualify for SNAP and other food assistance programs. These discount will continue to be available even if these benefits become unavailable from the federal government during the shutdown.

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) has been working in collaboration with partners including the Cooperative Fund of New EnglandHunger Free Vermont and the New England Farmers Union to strengthen food security in our region through the development of Healthy Food Access programs such as “Food for All,” “Co-op Basics,” “Pennywise Pantry,” and “Co-op Cares,” creating new approaches to making healthy food and community ownership of our food system and economy more accessible to everyone.

See examples of our Co-op’s work in Healthy Food Access: https://nfca.coop/healthyfoodaccessprograms/.

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

Farm to Freezer: Family Favorite, Risi e Bisi

One of our family’s favorite recipes is Risi e bisi, an Italian dish made with rice, parmesan cheese, and peas! We learned how to make this dish when our children were young from our friend and author, Norah Dooley. She includes the Risi e bisi recipe in her children’s book “Everybody Cooks Rice”. The story is set in a neighborhood at dinner time where in each home a meal is being prepared using rice. A variety of cultural dishes are introduced as the stories behind why they are family favorites are revealed. While the recipes have particular spices or vegetable and meat combinations all are pretty easy to prepare like Risi e Bisi!

Our co-ops have the ingredients needed to make simple, nutritious, creative, and family favorite meals. By including Northeast grown vegetables during these winter months, you can keep family farmers thriving all year and have quality ingredients for your favorite meal. Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) Blueberries, Organic Edamame, Organic Green Beans, non-GMO Sweet Corn and Green Peas are available year-round and easy to use in your favorite recipe and available only at your food co-op!

Great-Grandmother’s Risi e Bisi

From Everybody Cooks Rice recipes

  •  2 cubes vegetable or chicken bouillon
  •  4 cups water 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Use a pot with a tight cover.

  1. In a bowl, dissolve bouillon in 2 cups of water, then add the rest of the water. Set aside.
  2. Over medium heat, cook garlic and onion in olive oil until the onion is transparent. Don’t let the garlic turn brown.
  3. Turn off the heat right away and pour in the rice.
  4. Stir in the 4 cups of water and dissolved bouillon and cook on highest heat until the mixture boils. Lower heat and do not remove lid. Cook for 25 minutes.
  5. If using frozen peas, soak them in warm water. when the rice is cooked, add the peas, stir in Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle with nutmeg.

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

Written by Suzette Snow-Cobb, NFCA’s Sourcing Coordinator

January’s Cave to Co-op Special

January’s Cave to Co-op Cheese Special: Dorset by Consider Bardwell Farm, Pawlet, VT

Dorset, from Consider Bardwell in Pawlet, Vermont is a washed-rind, raw Jersey cow cheese with a rich, buttery texture and seasonally influenced pungency. Earthy and complex with a beautiful basket weave rind, Dorset is a savory, nutty and earthy delight that is perfect for a cheese plate or melted with vegetables or bread.

Spanning the rolling hills of Vermont’s Champlain Valley and easternmost Washington County, New York, 300-acre Consider Bardwell Farm was the first cheese-making co-op in Vermont, founded in 1864 by Consider Stebbins Bardwell himself. A century later, Angela Miller and Russell Glover are revitalizing the tradition with goat milk from their herd of Oberhaslis and cow milk from their two neighbor farm partners—the Brooks and the Browes. Rotational grazing on pesticide-free and fertilizer-free pastures produces the sweetest milk and the tastiest cheese. All cheeses are made by hand in small batches from whole, fresh milk that is antibiotic and hormone free. Dorset, an award-winning cheese is this month’s Cave to Co-op featured cheese.

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.

Maple Bread with Dorset

serves 8 as dessert or first course

  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 8 thin slices sourdough bread
  • mild vegetable oil, for oiling plate
  • 4 ounces Dorset, thinly sliced

Cook the maple bread in two batches: Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and, when hot, add ¼ cup of the maple syrup, 1 ½ tablespoons of the butter and a pinch of salt. Add 4 slices of the bread and immediately flip to coat in the buttery maple syrup. Cook, flipping often with a butter knife, until the bread is lacquered with the syrup and takes on a toasted look and the bottom of the pan is coated with just a dry film, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the maple bread to a lightly oiled plate to cool. (Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of bread.) Smear a slice or two of Dorset into the bread and serve immediately.

More info and recipes: https://nfca.coop/cave-to-co-op-january-2019/

For more information on Cave to Co-op, visit: www.nfca.coop/CaveToCo-op

Farmers Union: NFU Board Calls for Immediate End to Government Shutdown

As the partial shutdown of the federal government continues, now the longest in U.S. history, the livelihoods of farming families are at risk, along with the communities that depend on them. In response, the Board of Directors of the National Farmers Union (NFU) recently called for an immediate end to the shutdown.

WASHINGTON – The partial government shutdown—soon to Logo.NEFU.jpgenter its fifth week—is causing harm and exacerbating issues already facing American family farmers and ranchers as they look to sell their crops, acquire financing and prepare for the coming year. As such, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors today adopted a resolution calling for an immediate reopening of the federal government.

“Our nation’s family farmers and ranchers are facing a financial crisis,” said the NFU Board. “Net farm income declined nearly 50 percent since 2013, and a majority of farms—farms of all sizes—have been operating in the red over the past several years. President Donald Trump initiated and escalated trade wars with China and much of the rest of the world, further depressing commodity prices and damaging America’s reputation as a reliable trading partner. The government shutdown is making these matters worse.”

The NFU Board highlighted a host of issues facing Farmers Union members because of the shuttering of federal agency doors, particularly those in their communities.

“The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), designed to aid farmers through the administration’s trade wars, is frozen due to FSA office closures,” said the NFU Board. “This stems needed cash flow for farmers gearing up for the coming year. These closures also limit farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to access federally backed operating loans and microloans, and process payments that are tied to FSA loans.”

“Additionally, information, data, and reporting services provided by USDA have been discontinued, making it more difficult for producers to make informed planting and selling decisions,” it continued. “Important agricultural research efforts are being delayed or halted, and some have been lost.”

The NFU Board noted that the shutdown is also significantly delaying implementation of both the 2018 Farm Bill and summertime sales of E15.

“Farm bill programs and updates, signed into law just a day before the shutdown, are very important to family farmers and ranchers of all sizes and operation types,” said the NFU Board. “The E15 waiver is desperately needed this summer to cut into significant oversupply of corn. Its implementation will have important gains for the entire farm economy.”

“American family farmers and ranchers rely on these operations to support their livelihoods and ensure food security for the country. It is imperative that the President and Congress fund the federal government immediately,” it concluded.

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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 www.newenglandfarmersunion.org.

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

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



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


Oct 25-25

Saint Mary’s University Co-op Management Training, Greenfield, MA

Enhancing Business Performance through Co-operative Management Practices

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.