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In this edition:
Happy International Co-ops Day!
On July 1, Co-operators around the world are celebrating the International Day of Co-ops and the contribution of the co-operative movement to a more sustainable future for everyone!
Celebrated by the International Cooperative Alliance since 1923, the annual International Day of Cooperatives was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1995 and has served as an opportunity to celebrate the role of co-ops in building a better world ever since.
To learn more about how co-operative enterprise make a difference every day, check out our article in Green Energy Times, stop by your local food co-op, or visit https://nfca.coop/co-opsday.
Suzette Snow-Cobb (NFCA), Ed King (General Manager, Littleton Food Co-op), & Erbin Crowell (NFCA)
NFCA Member Littleton Food Co-op was honored with the “Cooperative Excellence” award as co-operators from across the country gathered in Sacramento, CA, for CCMA 2023!
It was great to gather with friends and colleagues in Sacramento, CA, in June for CCMA, the national conference for food co-ops. Organized by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and co-sponsored by the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), sessions brought together food co-op managers, directors, staff, and partner organizations for workshops, dialogs, and tours designed to support success, innovation and development of the food co-op movement.
The conference was also an opportunity for celebration, and we were particularly excited to join NFCA member Littleton Food Co-op (NH) as they received the award for ‘Cooperative Excellence.’
“I have to give thanks to the over 100 employees that we have,” said Ed King, General Manager and former NFCA Vice President. “That I get to work with that group of people every day is truly a blessing and makes my job so tremendously much easier.” Also representing Littleton were Board President, Deb Rosetti, and Community Outreach Coordinator, Becky Colpitts.
NFCA Start-Up members were also recognized during the festivities, including Assabet Co-op Market in Maynard, MA, which celebrated its grand opening last month, and Dorchester Food Co-op, also in Massachusetts, which is scheduled to open its doors in July.
More than 35 people attended the NFCA’s workshop on “Advocacy & Identity,” which included presentations by Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund, Erbin Crowell, Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association, and Joanne Todd, Board of Directors, Willimantic Food Co-op, and focused on efforts to protect the Co-operative Identity, update outdated laws that made it difficult to form a co-op, and establish legal statutes in states that do not recognize the co-operative business model to empower communities. “Amazing!” said one attendee. The session “provided big picture information. How the laws of the state limit co-ops is something we all need to be aware of.”
Finally, mark your calendars now for CCMA 2024 as the conference returns to the Northeast next year, hosted by NFCA member Portland Food Co-op in Portland, ME!
For more information on CCMA 2024, visit https://ccma.coop.
Co-ops in the News
Green Energy Times
Green Energy Times
Flatbush Food Co-op
Has your co-op been in the news recently? Send your item to email@example.com.
CUNA Mutual is TruStage
Company unifies under one brand that represents its full range of offerings. TruStage will deliver insurance, investments, and technology solutions in a simplified, improved experience.
CUNA Mutual Group announced it has unified its enterprise, business-to-business and consumer brands under the single brand, TruStage. The change will enable the organization to evolve with the demands of the market.
“TruStage was born out of the credit union movement 88 years ago and built on the belief that a brighter financial future should be accessible to everyone. Today, this purpose remains the same, and through a single brand, our ability to deliver on that purpose is stronger than ever,” said Robert N. Trunzo, chief executive officer at TruStage. “We are excited to launch as TruStage to maximize the value we provide to our business partners, their customers, members and clients and to help more people confidently make financial decisions at every stage of their life.”
TruStage offers a range of insurance, investment and technology solutions. During the past year, the organization conducted a thoughtful process to begin developing one seamless end-to-end, easy-to-use user experience. The goal is to provide customers and partners with a fast and effective way to access TruStage’s wide range of financial solutions, whether they want to protect and grow their assets or identify the commercial or personal insurance protection that fits their unique needs. The website, digital marketing materials and collateral have been refreshed to the new brand, and over time, all enterprises, business-to-business and consumer brands will unify under TruStage.
TruStage is a financially strong insurance, investment and technology provider, built on the philosophy of people helping people. We believe a brighter financial future should be accessible to everyone, and our products and solutions help people confidently make financial decisions that work for them at every stage of life. With a culture rooted and focused on creating a more equitable society and financial system, we are deeply committed to giving back to our communities to improve the lives of those we serve.
The Neighboring Food Co-op Association partners with organizations like TruStage to increase awareness of the wider co-operative movement and how we can work together to build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable economy. To learn more, visit http://www.trustage.com.
Over 150 people turned out on May 31st for the ribbon cutting for NFCA member start-up Assabet Co-op Market in Maynard, MA. Grand opening celebrations continue on Saturday, June 3rd, for our newest Neighboring Food Co-op!
July Cave-to-Co-op Special
This month’s special cheese is Shepsog, Grafton Village Cheese Company, Grafton, Vermont
Made from raw sheep and cow’s milk and aged for 4-6 months, Shepsog has a dusty gray and white mottled rind, with a firm texture that echoes the curd structure of the cheese. Expect aromas of cultured butter and fresh buttermilk, alongside bright flavors that are lemony and sweet, with notes of caramel and a clean, nutty finish. The sheep milk comes from an Amish co-op two hours west of Grafton, where they still milk the sheep twice a day, by hand, year-round. The sheep are on clover grass-based pasture usually May through October, and spend the winter in barns while eating hay and a little grain grown by the co-op. The cheese is then matured in Grafton’s own cave aging facility. The rennet used is non GMO microbial rennet, suitable for vegetarians.
The Grafton Village Cheese Company was founded in 1892 as the Grafton Co-operative Cheese Company, to convert surplus milk from local dairy farmers into cheese. In 1912, the cheesemaking factory burned down and the community had no cheese facility until 1962, when the Windham Foundation restored the factory and brought cheesemaking back to the community. The profits from Grafton Village Cheese go back into the Foundation to further its dedication in promoting the rural communities of Vermont.
Image: Grafton Village Cheese Co.
- 4.5 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
- 6 cups kale – chopped, stems removed • 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 1⁄4 c half & half
- 1 cup shredded Shepsog, about 4 oz.
- salt & pepper to taste
- Scrub potatoes and cut into equal sized chunks. Boil in salted water until tender. Drain potatoes and set aside to cool slightly. Sauté chopped kale (stems removed) in 2 tbsp of butter for 5 minutes, or until wilted and tender. Add to potatoes.
- Add the other 2 tbsp of butter, and mash roughly with a potato masher.
- Add cheese and half and half and mash until well blended. Salt and Pepper to taste and serve.
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.
New England Farmers Union
2023 Farm Bill Priorities
Every five years, Congress passes legislation that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy, commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill”.
In May National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew appeared before the United States Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade for a hearing titled “Commodity Programs, Credit, and Crop Insurance – Part 1: Producer Perspectives on the Farm Safety Net”.
In his testimony, President Larew highlighted Farmers Union priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill including a strong safety net, along with fairer and more competitive markets for farmers and ranchers as well as the importance of nutrition assistance programs.
From Rob Larew’s testimony: ”Farmers Union members are committed to helping this subcommittee write the strongest 2023 Farm Bill possible. While this testimony centers on provisions related to family farm viability, NFU has policy positions related to the other titles of the farm bill, ranging from research to trade to energy to credit. We support a strong nutrition title that provides assistance to millions of food insecure Americans, and are mindful that nutrition programs can also help to spur the growth of new and diversified marketing opportunities in production agriculture. Most of all, we know that a farm bill coalition gains strength by bringing in additional allies and supporters, and that a farm bill coalition becomes weaker when it is divided.”
NFU supports increasing farm bill funding to ensure they comprehensively meet the needs of family farmers, ranchers, and our communities. Additional important priorities and reforms include:
• Maintain a strong farm bill nutrition title that supports food and nutrition security, reduces hunger in our communities, and expands access to locally and regionally produced farm products.
• Ensure beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers are supported by all farm programs.
• Expand and fund the Farm and Ranch Assistance Network (FRSAN) to support the mental and behavioral health of farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, and our communities.
• Expand and fund the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program.
• Address ongoing staffing shortages at USDA and require USDA to streamline program applications and procedures.
On Tuesday, June 13, NCBA CLUSA provided witness testimony at the House Committee on Agriculture Rural Development Subcommittee hearing called “Stakeholder Perspectives on USDA’s Rural Development Programs.” Cornelius Blanding, member of NCBA CLUSA’s Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, testified on behalf of cooperatives and shared NCBA CLUSA priorities, experience and guidance related to USDA Rural Development programs ahead of this year’s Farm Bill reauthorization.
In response to question from Congresswoman Crockett about how expanding community facilities loans could allow grocery store co-ops to bring food into food deserts, Mr. Blanding responded “One of the biggest options in terms of these food deserts is cooperatives giving people the ability to access resources to build their own grocery stores because what we know is that food deserts are not just food deserts, they’re also health deserts, they’re also educational deserts, they’re income deserts, they’re just deserts overall and making sure we connect all those issues together and again giving people the ability to build the solutions to those problems is what we talk about, we talk about investing in infrastructure”.
Read NCBA CLUSA’s full article on the testimony here.
NCBA CLUSA and NEFU continue to work to work for inclusion of priorities that build a resilient farm and food system and cooperative development.
Join the Farmers Union! The National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice. The Neighboring Food Co-op Association is an affiliate member of the New England Farmers Union chapter – and invites farmers, food co-ops, and consumers to join us! For more information, please visit www.newenglandfarmersunion.org.
NOFA Summer Conference
NOFA Summer Conference
The NOFA Summer Conference is the annual summer gathering of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), a non-profit organization of over 5,000 small-scale farmers, gardeners, consumers and food system reformers. For more information, visit https://www.nofamass.org/nofa-summer-conference.