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In this edition:
See you at CCMA!
Co-operators from across the country are gathering in Sacramento, CA, for CCMA 2023 under the theme “Cooperative Vitality: Reconnection and Resilience.”
CCMA is the national annual conference for food co-op directors, management, staff, and sector allies. Co-sponsored by the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), the gathering is organized by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives with assistance from a planning committee comprised of co-op managers and board members, representatives from co-operative associations including the NFCA, development organizations, financial partners and other various allies.
As CCMA returns to Sacramento after nearly 30 years, we honor and reflect upon its nickname, “City of Trees.” Sacramento’s tree canopy is thick with elms, oaks, sycamores, and hundreds more species that together cover nearly a quarter of the urban landscape. Trees are critical to the health of our planet and an indispensable part of mitigating climate change and biodiversity collapse. Forest ecosystems are regenerative, and they work in harmony. Trees reach for the sun, harnessing solar energy. Below, the ground teems with unseen fungal networks, breaking down forest floor debris.
For the last century, the co-op movement has used the twin pines emblem to symbolize the power and promise of co-operation. The pine tree is an ancient symbol of endurance. The two trees together represent the strength in mutual co-operation—people helping people. Deeply rooted local institutions, such as our co-ops, are an essential element of thriving, diverse communities. CCMA 2023 will shed light on the many ways co-operatives, like forests, foster connection, regeneration, and community vitality.
In addition to being a cosponsor of the conference, the NFCA is proud to offer a workshop on “Advocacy & Identity.” In this session, 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Willimantic Food Co-op, will share diverse experiences on advocacy to protect the Co-operative Identity, update outdated laws that made it difficult to form a co-op, and establish legal statutes in states that do not recognize the co-operative business model to empower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 to have more control over their lives.
As we work to address the challenges of racial and economic inequality, climate change, and corporate influence over our lives and communities, co-operative Values and Principles are more important than ever. Together, we can build a more inclusive, sustainable, and democratic economy and society.
For more information on CCMA, visit https://ccma.coop.
It’s true: We do have a lot of Team Spirit!
In April, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) was one of 23 Teams from across the U.S. participating in the Co-op 5K, raising over $70,000 for the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), and winning the coveted award for “Most Team Spirit.” Other local teams included Hanover Co-op Food Stores and Flat Iron Cooperative, who joined in this fun, family-friendly event that brings together co-operators from all sectors each spring to raise awareness and support CDF’s mission of promoting self-help and mutual aid in community, economic, and social development through co-operatives.
For more about CDF and to view the awards video, check out https://www.cdf.coop/co-op-5k.
See you in 2024!
Happy Pride Month!
Everyone is Welcome at Your Neighboring Food Co-ops!
Partner Profile: Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, and one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States, was founded on co-operative principles by farmers with the Ohio Farm Bureau in 1926.
“People have within their own hands the tools and the power to fashion their own social and economic destinies,” said Lincoln in his book, Vice President in Charge of Revolution, “if they will only organize themselves to use them.”
Born on a family farm in Massachusetts and a graduate of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Lincoln also served as President of the National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International, and on the board of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).
Lincoln’s legacy and tradition of Nationwide’s support of co-operatives continues to this day. Devin Fuhrman, vice president of sponsor relations at Nationwide, stressed the importance of these connections to the company’s past and future:
“Lincoln was truly a visionary leader in the co-operative business model and Nationwide remains deeply supportive today of organizations like the Neighboring Food Co-op Association that are working to grow a more inclusive economy,” Fuhrman said. “We were particularly excited to support your Annual Meeting this year as you honored Cornelius Blanding, executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund, with your Neighboring Co-operator Award.”
Nationwide has two large agricultural co-operatives as sponsors – CHS, Inc. and Southern States Cooperatives, and has been a leader in workplace diversity, receiving a 100% rating from Corporate Equality Index every year since 2004.
“People are looking for alternatives that enable them to work together to build more inclusive communities and a more resilient economy,” said Erbin Crowell, executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association. “And we’re always appreciative of Nationwide’s support and collaboration as we share how co-ops and mutuals can be part of the solution.”
For more information on Nationwide, please visit www.nationwide.com.
Co-ops in the News
New England Explorer
Springfield Food Co-op recognized in “Efficiency Vermont Best of the Best Awards” for Small Renovation, Commercial Building Design & Construction Category, 2023.
News Center Maine
Has your co-op been in the news recently? Send your item to email@example.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!
June Cave-to-Co-op Special
This month’s special cheese is Baby Swiss, Boggy Meadow Farm, Walpole, NH
Along the Connecticut River, Boggy Meadow Farm has been in the same family since 1812, and has been a dairy farm for most of that time. In the mid-1800’s and the early 1900’s daily shipments of milk, butter, eggs, and produce were loaded onto the Boston & Maine railroad, destined for customers in Boston.
Cheesemaking began in the mid 1950’s and continues today with the same 10,000 gallon cheese vat, which makes 1,000 pounds of cheese. On the days they’re not making cheese the fluid milk is sold to a local milk co-op. Boggy Meadow makes only three cheeses, Baby Swiss, Smoked Baby Swiss, and Fiddlehead Tomme. A few years ago the New Hampshire Chronicle produced a brief video about the farm you can view here.
The Boggy Meadow Baby Swiss is a moist, creamy, mild cheese that is unlike traditional Swiss in many ways. The curd is cooked at a lower temperature and the wheels are aged for a shorter period of time. The cheese has small eye formations, as well as the sweet nutty flavor associated with Swiss-style cheeses. See our website for recipes using Baby Swiss.
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
Microbes, pathogen transmission, safe handling methods and safety plans — it can be a confusing menu of items to understand when striving to keep the safety of food growing a priority.
Farmers have a lot on their plates and keeping the food safe and healthy for all of us is an important goal. Helping all growers understand and take action to reduce food safety risk on their farms is the meat (and vegetables) of these new podcast dishes.
Hosted by Kathryn Kavanagh, this series has been produced by The Local Food Safety Collaborative, an initiative established between the National Farmers Union Foundation and the FDA with the goal of providing training, education, and technical assistance to local food producers to ensure good food safety practices and compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act.
By partnering with numerous agriculture organizations, academic institutions, and state farmers’ unions, the Local Food Safety Collaborative’s mission is to build fundamental knowledge of food safety by providing training, education and technical assistance to food producers and support compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act regulations (known as FSMA) among all those involved with food production.
“With this podcast, I think our goal is partially to talk about food safety in a way that is accessible, that makes sense, and that doesn’t have too much technical, confusing language, you know, so that we that way we can reach people where they’re at and hopefully make an engaging conversation that between our guests on the podcast and then the people that are listening,” notes Kathryn Kavanagh
Episodes to date feature farmers and subject matter, expert voices on practical wisdom, advice, and how to incorporate good food safety practices into farm operations including: “Why Food Safety Matters”, “Covered vs. Exempt Under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule”, “Bac-to-Basics with Betsy Bihn” and “Forming a Food Safety Plan with Lorig Hawkins.” You can listen to them all here.
“No matter the size of your operation, food safety is a top priority,” says Roger Noonan, New Hampshire organic farmer and President of the New England Farmers Union (NEFU). “Learning how to integrate safe handling best practices is good for both business and consumers, making sure the food people receive is both tasty and safe.”
To learn more about the local food safety collaborative and available resources, check out https://nfu.org/local-food-safety-collaborative/
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.
Green River Festival
Green River Festival, June 23-25, 2023!
We’re spreading the word about the great work that our co-ops are doing at Green River Festival again this year in Greenfield, MA! Join us for some great music and look for our tent where we’ll have some fun activities and giveaways. For more information and tickets, visit https://GreenRiverFestival.com.