Co-op E-News & Updates: Honoring Our Roots, Tending Our Future / July, 2018

Your Neighboring Food Co-ops:


Locally Owned by More Than


100,000 People Like You!

In this month’s E-news, check out:

Historic Meeting of Co-ops in Alabama

In June, as co-ops and credit unions around the world prepared to celebrate International Co-ops Day, the boards of directors of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA (NCBA CLUSA) gathered for a historic meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.

The event was marked by shared experiences recognizing the significant contributions made by co-operatives in the fight for justice and equality during the U.S. Civil Rights movement, including presentations by the Federation of Southern Co-operatives. Dialogues served as a reminder of the historic role that co-ops have played in supporting positive change, and inspiration for continuing efforts to build a more inclusive economy and sustainable world for everyone.

At the conclusion of the joint meeting of the boards of directors, co-chaired by ICA President Ariel Guarco and NCBA CLUSA First Vice Chair Erbin Crowell, who also serves as executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), it was agreed that a joint declaration would be released as an expression of the commitment of the two organizations to continued collaboration. The statement recognized the opportunity presented by the International Day of Co-operatives for co-ops around the world to work together to communicate their difference and advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Celebrated on July 7th this year, International Co-ops Day focused on the slogan “Sustainable societies through co-operation,” with the goal of demonstrating that co-ops have sustainabilitymat their core, with concern for community as the 7th of the principles of the Co-operative Identity. These guiding principles provide a roadmap that empowers individuals and communities to continue on the path of economic and social change.

The statement recognized that co-ops by their very nature play multiple roles in the economy and their communities:

  • As economic actors, they create opportunities for jobs, livelihoods and income
  • As people-centered enterprises with social goals, they contribute to social equity and justice
  • As democratic institutions, they are controlled by their members, playing a leading role in society and local communities.

“Through our commitment to continued collaboration,” concluded the declaration, “we will lift the collective voices of the international co-operative movement in support of building more equitable, democratic and sustainable communities and champion the establishment of an economy that is inclusive of all peoples.”

Here in our region, the NFCA used the opportunity presented by International Co-ops Day to provide member food co-ops with resources to spread the word. For example, Brattleboro Food Co-op shared its efforts to engage the wider community though outreach, its Food For All program, which offers additional support to people who receive assistance from the government, and a discount program for members doing volunteer work in the community. Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op‘s recent expansion project not only enables the co-op to provide more quality jobs and serve more local producers and consumers, but includes many building improvements resulting in significant increases in our energy efficiency. And Springfield Food Co-op held a special open house for the community.

With over 1.2 billion members of co-ops and credit unions internationally and 110 million members in the United States alone, the co-operative movement empowers people to make a difference every day.

Go Co-op at the NOFA Summer Conference

NFCA Sponsors Track of Co-op Workshops

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is proud to sponsor a special track of workshops and presentations on “Co-operatives in the Food System” at the 44th Annual NOFA Summer Conference focused on “Honoring Our Roots, Tending Our Future,” August 10-12,2018 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. And, Members of NFCA Co-ops receive a 20% DISCOUNT with the code “NFCA20”!

This year’s conference program is woven with workshops and activities that will pay homage to the agricultural wisdom that has been instructive to us through the ages. We will celebrate the wisdom of the rich indigenous agricultural past that has provided the basis of the organic movement and the ecologically based practices we have used to be successful.

Keynote speakers, Rowen White and Eric Holt-Giménez, are two passionate, ambitious educators, both working diligently to share their knowledge and experience with small agricultural communities.

Co-op Track workshops, which will take place on Saturday, August 11, 2018 in ASH 222, address a variety of the ways co-operative enterprises are contributing to a more healthy, just and sustainable food system, including how food co-ops are strengthening food security and empowering people to build sustainable food systems, practical steps for small producers and co-ops to comply with new food safety rules, launching a new co-op or converting an existing business.

Co-op Track Workshops: Saturday, August 11th in Ash 222:

  • 8:00-9:30 am: “Update on Food Safety Rules for Small Producers & Co-ops” with Roger Noonan (NEFU) (New England Farmers Union) & Vicki Smith: Food Safety Specialist, New England Farmers Union (NEFU).
  • 10:00-11:30 am: “Economic Democracy: Building Co-operative Power” with Adam Trott (Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives & Shared Capital Cooperative) & Suzette Snow-Cobb (Sourcing Coordinator for the Neighboring Food Co-op Association)
  • 1:00-2:30 pm: “A Legacy of Food Security: History of Food Co-ops in the Northeast” with Bonnie Hudspeth (Membership Programs Manager, Neighboring Food Co-op Association) & Suzette Snow-Cobb (Sourcing Coordinator, Neighboring Food Co-op Association).

For workshop descriptions, visit


Members of NFCA Co-ops receive a 20% DISCOUNT with the code “NFCA20”!

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

Training: Enhancing Business Performance through Co-operative Management Practices

Co-operative Management Education Course: Enhancing Business Performance through Co-operative Management Practices: How to Strengthen Identity, Loyalty and Participation

Join Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) this November 1 – 3, 2018 (Greenfield, MA) for an interactive intensive professional development opportunity focused on leading thinking in co-operative management coupled with tangible examples of how to translate knowledge into action.

Who should come? We encourage CEOs/General Managers, senior managers, board members and keen employees to join us for this learning and networking event.


  • How to approach the management of a co-operative/credit union /mutual
  • Establishing a competitive advantage using the co-operative model
  • Co-operative economic trends

“The Saint Mary’s University Executive Sessions are among the most inspiring and thought-provoking events I have attended.  I attended two sessions and I would recommend them for anyone who is in a position of strategic leadership at their co-op. Côté covers an amazing breadth and depth of material, and the opportunity to connect and learn from other attendees adds even more value to the experience.” ~ Susanna Schultz, Marketing Director, Central Co-op.

Lead Instructor: Daniel Côté

Cost: $1,500 CAD/~ $1200 USD*

*NFCA Members receive a special rate of $1,000 USD (declare upon registration)

Find out more & Register:

In Memory of Ralph Paige

Our hearts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Ralph Paige, former Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/and Assistance Fund, who died on June 28th, 2018, at age 74. Mr. Paige began working for the Federation in 1969 and served the organization for 46 years, and as Executive Director for 30 years, from 1985 to 2015.

A native of LaGrange, Georgia, Mr. Paige was the seventh of twelve children. Ralph became a co-operative organizer with the Federation in west Georgia in 1969. He assisted the Harris County Farmers Co-op to grow and expand its scope and services to become the West Georgia Farmers Co-op. He later headed the Federation’s Business Development Office in LaGrange, Georgia giving advice and loan packaging services to cooperatives and small businesses in the area.

During his thirty years as Executive Director, he built the Federation into the premier organization representing Black farmers and low-income rural people in the South. He helped to organize 70

cooperatives and 18 community development credit unions during his tenure as Executive Director. He supported the development of the Federation’s unique Rural Training and Research Center in Epes,

Alabama, including an agroforestry component and forestry demonstrations.

Ralph served on many boards and received many honors in his lifetime. Among the Boards were: Nationwide Insurance Company, National Cooperative Business Association, Cooperative Development

Foundation, Cooperative Business International, the President’s (George Bush) Twenty-first Century Agriculture Commission, Rural Policy Advisory Committee to President Barack Obama and many more.

He received numerous awards including induction into the Co-op Hall of Fame in 2004, Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from SCLC, George Washington Carver Hall of Fame at Tuskegee, Congressional Black Caucus Leadership Award, NCBA Co-op Month Leadership Award and many others.

Ralph leaves to cherish his memory a wife of 51 years, Bernice, two children, Bernard and Kenyatta, five grandchildren and many relatives and friends.

For more information on Ralph Paige’s legacy and the work of the Federation of Southern Co-operatives, visit


This Month’s Local Artisan Cheese Special

Organic Sharp Cheddar from Neighborly Farms

Want local cheese made with organic, raw milk, produced with integrity, and a real cheddar bite? Try Neighborly Farms Organic Sharp Cheddar. 

Established as an operating dairy farm in the 1920’s, Rob and Linda Dimmick continue the tradition of family farming with cropland and grazing fields to support the dairy, home to 70 Holsteins.

Sharp Cheddar is just one of the Neighborly Farms raw milk cheeses. The Dimmicks produce feta, colby, and Monterey Jack too. All made from organic milk from their healthy and happy cows. The Dimmicks pride themselves in operating their organic farm in harmony with the land and the animals; no antibiotics, no hormones, and no commercial fertilizers. And produce great tasting cheese too!

The Sharp Cheddar is aged 12-18 months, has a creamy consistency and is great on its own as well as in your favorite recipe using a hard cheese.

More info and recipes

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.

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


Keep Co-op Cool with These Smoothies

Your local food co-op works hard to support our local farmers. And by working together, food co-ops across our region are making regionally grown produce available to our shoppers year ‘round. Over the last two years, food co-op shoppers have purchased over 11 tons of Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) Blueberries, Organic Broccoli, Organic Edamame, Organic Green Beans, and non-GMO Sweet Corn — all grown and packaged right here in the Northeast, and available only at your food co-op!

Keep cool with co-op smoothies! Our frozen blueberries are great for combining when making cool smoothies. Try this Blueberry Smoothie recipe combo using co-operatively sourced ingredients!

  • 1 bag NFCA Frozen Blueberries (10 oz)
  • 2/3 cup Cabot or Organic Valley Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Frontier Natural Products Co-op Hibiscus Tea (brewed and cooled)
  • 1/4 tsp Frontier Natural Products Co-op Vanilla
  • dash Frontier Natural Products Ground Cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

The vision of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is of a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. By choosing products from co-operative enterprises, you are helping people to help themselves, build stronger, more resilient communities, and strengthen local economies.

Eat healthy and contribute to community building! Look for our Northeast Grown Frozen Fruits and Vegetables in the freezer section. They’re easy to find because they’re packed in a clear package so you can see what’s inside.

For more Farm to Freezer information and recipes — including warm weather recipes great for summer meals using frozen corn, broccoli, or blueberries — visit:

New England Farmers Union Update

On June 28, the U.S. Senate voted 86-11 in favor of its bipartisan Farm Bill, Logo.NEFU.jpgalso known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors unanimously supported the Senate’s efforts when the bill was first introduced. Rob Larew, NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications, echoed those sentiments:

“We are appreciative of the Senate’s work on this bill and are pleased by its passage. At a time of great financial stress, family farmers and ranchers are in need of some economic certainty. The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill includes encouraging provisions that strengthen the farm safety net, promote farm sustainability, and ensure access to fair and diverse markets, all of which would provide essential security. As the bill moves forward to conference, we look forward to working with Congressional leadership to make additional improvements and investments.”

Moving forward, it remains important for food co-ops and their members to be engaged in the process, and to partner with our regions family farmers to ensure that our voices are heard.

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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.

Neighborhood Co-op Calendar

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


Aug 10-12, 2018

Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference

Members of NFCA Co-ops receive a 20% DISCOUNT with the code “NFCA20”!

Hampshire College, Amherst, MA


Sept 15, 2018

NFCA Board to Board Peer Network Training

Upper Valley Food Co-op, White River Junction, VT



Oct 3-5, 2018

NCBA CLUSA Co-op Impact Conference

Washington, DC


Oct 6, 2018

NCBA CLUSA Co-op Festival

Washington, DC


Oct 13, 2018

CDS Consulting Co-op’s “Co-op Cafe” (Co-Hosted by NFCA)

Keene, NH


Nov 1-3rd, 2018

Co-operative Business Training with Saint Mary’s University (For Staff & Board Members)

NFCA Member Co-ops Receive a Discount in Registration.

Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA


March 23, 2019

Neighboring Food Co-op Association 8th Annual Meeting

For NFCA Member Co-ops and Partner Organizations

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.