Co-op Month & Co-op IMPACT // NFCA News, September 2020

Your Neighboring Food Co-ops

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150,000 People Like You!

In this Month’s E-News, check out:

Get Ready for Co-op Month!

October is National Co-op Month, and your Neighboring Food Co-ops are joining with other co-operatives and credit unions across the United States in celebrating.

Celebrated nationally since 1964, Co-op Month is an opportunity for food co-ops and their members to spread the word about the contributions they make to their communities every day, and challenge ourselves to do more as we work to build a more healthy, just and sustainable food system and economy.

This year’s theme, “Co-ops Commit: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,” was chosen by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) to highlight how co-ops are building diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces and boards, and how co-ops can better empower their communities to meet their needs, together.

For more information on Co-op Month, and resources to help your co-op celebrate, please visit:

Radically Rural Summit to Feature Co-op Panel

Radically Rural virtual event on September 24 will feature panel on how rural communities can use co-ops to help rebuild from the pandemic.

In the years past, Radically Rural conferences served as a physical gathering place for rural leaders to make connections necessary to improve their rural communities.

This year’s edition of Radically Rural Summit, Radically Rural: Remote, will be held online on September 24th for a national audience at $59 for registration. The event has room for 600 participants, with 60 speakers encompassing 20 sessions. The event will be held online using webinar software with the opportunity for attendees from across the country to watch and join through a chat function.

This year, the conference will host a workshop on co-ops, entitled “Rebuild Your Community Co-operatively,” moderated by Erbin Crowell, executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association and chair of the NCBA CLUSA Board of Directors.

“From farmer co-ops to credit unions to utility co-ops, the co-operative business model has played a key role in rural America,” said Crowell. “And as our communities work to rebuild from the pandemic, co-ops can help us rebuild on a foundation that is more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. I’m particularly excited for my co-presenters to share their work and hopefully inspire people to explore how they can use the co-operative model be used in new and innovative ways.”

Panelists for the session include:

  • Paul Bradley, President of ROC USA, LLC and NCBA CLUSA board member.
  • Rob Brown, Program Director of the Cooperative Development Institute.
  • Lori Capouch, Rural Development Director of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.
  • Terence Courtney, Director of Cooperative Development & Strategic Initiatives at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives.
  • Carl Woodruff, Founder, Co-Owner, and Manager of Oxbow Design Build Cooperative.

Radically Rural Remote will feature six programming tracks focusing on key sectors of importance to rural America: main streets, entrepreneurship, community journalism, arts and culture, land and communities, and clean energy.

For more information and to register, visit

Member-centric Governance and Management Course, Oct 5-6

Executive Education session at Co-op IMPACT conference to focus on Excellence in Member-centric Governance and Management

This engaging course on Excellence in Member-centric Governance and Management is designed for seasoned decision-makers and emerging leaders from any sector or type of co-operative. Offered by the International Centre for Co-operative Management (Saint Mary’s University) and hosted in conjunction with the IMPACT Conference, this participatory education experience focuses on enhancing your knowledge and building your network. Discuss and debate the many facets of the membership aspect of co-operatives, including: people-centred management, ownership and control, and network governance. Grapple with the unique challenges inherent in leading and managing co-operatives while including voice, representation, participation, and engagement of people at the core.

Join the virtual short course on October 5 and 6, 2020 from 10am-3pm EDT each day (with a break for the Cooperative IMPACT Conference keynote sessions). We encourage everyone to register for both the course and the conference (see next story).

Registration is open to anyone, anywhere. You will receive a discount on the course when you register for the conference:

Join Us for Co-op Impact, Oct 5-9

Join us for the only national cross-sector conference for co-ops and credit unions!

NCBA CLUSA’s Co-op IMPACT Conference provides an unparalleled platform to reenergize the co-operative movement and galvanize its champions around building the next economy.


This year’s conference will amplify how cooperatives are addressing their obligations to create diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces and boards, and how co-ops can better meet the needs of communities that have been excluded from economic participation and advancement. Register today to join hundreds of co-op developers, financiers, community and city leaders, innovators, economists and policymakers in October!

International Track (available free of charge!)

Once again, IMPACT 2020 will explore the intersection of domestic and international cooperative development, highlighting lessons and insights from practitioners and partners and amplifying examples of cooperative organizations that work globally to impact the lives of tens of millions of producers, consumers and workers. This year’s dedicated international programming is available for free to development practitioners. During registration, choose “International Sessions Only” on the Registration Type dropdown.

Saint Mary’s University Pre-Conference Course

Designed for seasoned decision-makers and emerging leaders alike from all co-op sectors, “Excellence in Member-Centric Governance and Management” is offered by the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University and hosted in conjunction with IMPACT 2020. During this session, you’ll discuss and debate the many facets of the membership aspect of cooperatives, including: people-centered management, ownership and control, and network governance. You’ll also grapple with the unique challenges inherent in leading and managing cooperatives while including voice, representation, participation and engagement of people at the core.

Cooperative Leaders and Scholars Institute

The Cooperative Leaders and Scholars Institute (CLSI) is your opportunity to develop and engage young professionals (ages 18-35) and post-secondary students of any age with participation in a national cooperative conference and exposure to co-op industry and thought leaders, policymakers, and other key stakeholders. Attendees receive a full scholarship to attend IMPACT 2020, the virtual Cooperative Hall of Fame, virtual Co-op 5K, Saint Mary’s University Pre-Conference Course and exclusive programming. Learn more.

Get more information and register:

Farm to Freezer: Change it Up with Corn & Blueberries

The days, we are all about adapting, adjusting, and learning new things.

Seasonally, September is a month in the Northeast that reminds us that change is ever constant. Cool nights and mornings move into warm afternoons temping us to stay outside as long as possible. We’re hanging onto the warmth of summer as we prepare for the winter season.

Farmers everywhere are working hard to harvest and process the seasons bounty and your local food co-op works hard to support local farmers and offer healthy ingredients for your family. Last year our Neighboring Food Co-ops together sold over 93 million dollars-worth of local products. That’s millions of dollars being kept in our region for farmers and producers contributing to keeping our regional food system running even in these challenging times.

By working together, food co-ops across our region are making regionally grown produce available to our shoppers year ‘round. Eat healthy, contribute to regional economics, and embrace the change. Who knew our grocery list could have such impact! When you choose NFCA’s Northeast Grown Frozen Fruits and Vegetables, you are helping to keep local farmers thriving. They’re easy to find because they’re packed in a clear package so you can see what’s inside.

Fall days are shortening and that sunlit time is precious. Salads that combine grains and vegetables make for hearty side dishes or lunches that can be prepared ahead, ready for the last picnics or easy evening meals. Try this adaptable quinoa, blueberry and corn recipe using NFCA frozen corn and blueberries.

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 using frozen corn, peas, edamame, or blueberries — visit:

Quinoa, Corn & Blueberry Salad

This recipe is easily adapted to use rice in place of quinoa, fresh corn or blueberries and sweetener of your choice.


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (or rice)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ½ cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsps honey or maple syrup
  • pinch salt


  • Prepare the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sweetener and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine quinoa, corn, onion, almonds, and basil. Pour the dressing over top then toss until everything is evenly coated. Add blueberries and gently mix.

September’s Cave to Co-op Special

Extra Sharp Cheddar, Neighborly Farms, Randolph Center, VT

Neighborly Farm’s Extra Sharp Cheddar a is made with organic, raw farmstead cow milk by cheesemakers Rob and Linda Dimmick.

Nestled in the rolling hills of Randolph Center, Vermont, Neighborly Farms decorates the countryside with its red barn and white post and beam farmhouse built in the 1800s. The Dimmicks operate on 168 acres with cropland and grazing fields to support the dairy, and a sugarhouse for producing pure Vermont maple syrup. Established as an operating dairy farm in the 1920’s, Rob and Linda are continuing this tradition of family farming with their 70 Holsteins—the black and white cows that have come to symbolize rural living in Vermont.

Rob and Linda continue the family farming tradition because they have a passion for the land and animals. They are a totally organic farm. This means the farm is run in complete harmony with the land and the animals; no antibiotics, no hormones, and no commercial fertilizers. They use techniques that keep the cows healthy, happy, and the dairy products wholesome and chemical-free. This means that the all the cheese produced at Neighborly Farms; Cheddars, Feta, Colby, and Monterey Jack, are high quality, organic cheeses that taste great too!

September is a perfect time to check out this months’ Cave to Co-op highlighted cheese—Neighborly Farm’s extra sharp cheddar and use in your favorite dish or try one of the recipes on our September Cave to Co-op page.

In these times and with the challenges in our food supply, now it is as important as ever to strengthen our local and regional farmers and producers and support artisanal cheesemakers. 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. Since the program’s inception, ten years ago, 26 tons of local cheese have been sold through the Cave to Co-op program. That is a lot of delicious cheese!

For more information, visit

New England Farmers Union Fly-in

More than 400 farmers, ranchers, and rural residents are gathering online this week to speak directly with their elected representatives as part of National Farmers Union’s fall legislative fly-in.

“Between low commodity prices, corporate control of the food industry, chronic overproduction, global trade disputes, underfunded infrastructure, and inadequate access to broadband internet, family farmers and rural communities have had a tough go of it for the last several years. Now, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change-related disasters have made many of those problems worse while also creating new ones,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “But Farmers Union members won’t just be highlighting the challenges they’re confronting; they’re also proposing sensible legislative solutions to build a better, more equitable, and more resilient food system for everyone.”

Advocates from across the country will campaign for policies that support pandemic recovery, reduce chronic overproduction, restore competition to agricultural markets, strengthen rural healthcare, improve access to broadband internet, ensure the success of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), help farmers and ranchers implement climate-smart practices, and expand the market for homegrown biofuels.

Joining the New England Farmers Union (NEFU) delegation this year are Roger Noonan, President and organic farmer from New Boston, NH; Mary Castonguay, NEFU Board Member and organic dairy farmer from Maine; Eric Scheffer of Scheffer’s Grassland Dairy In Hoosick Falls, NY; Erbin Crowell, NEFU Board Member and Executive Director for the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA); Suzette Snow-Cobb, NFCA Sourcing Coordinator; Allan Reetz and Rebecca White from Co-op Food Stores; and Faye Mack of Hunger Free Vermont.

Fly-in participants will be building on National Farmers Union’s long history of grassroots advocacy; since 1909, the organization’s members have traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with their lawmakers about the issues that matter most to them. In a first, this year’s event will be held completely online in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of attendees.

“There’s nothing I look forward to more than seeing Farmers Union members every year at fly-in,” Larew noted. “We will really miss having everyone here in person, but thanks to modern technology, they will still have this crucial opportunity to shape stronger agricultural policy from the ground up.”

The week-long event begins today with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) briefing featuring Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand. The fly-in will continue tomorrow with a Congressional briefing with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture Collin Peterson, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Jon Tester, and Representative Frank Lucas. Throughout the rest of the week, participants will join small-group meetings with congressional offices, a panel discussion on USPS, and a virtual social gathering.

Follow along with Fly-In participants using the hashtag #NFUFlyIn20. More information about the NFU Fall Legislative Fly-In can be found on the NFU website at

Our Local Farmers & Fishermen Need 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

Co-op Calendar

Co-op Calendar: Co-op Month, Co-op Impact

For More Co-op Events, Visit


September 22

National Voter Registration Day:


September 24

Radically Rural Conference (Online):

Featuring: “Rebuilding our Rural Communities, Co-operatively!



October 5-6

Excellence in Member-Centric Governance & Management (Online)

An Executive Education Course offered by the International Centre on Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University in conjunction with the NCBA CLUSA Co-op Impact Conference


October 7-9

NCBA CLUSA Co-op Impact Conference (Online):


October 8

Co-operative Hall of Fame (Online):


October 15

International Credit Union Day:


October 24

United Nations Day:



November 3

Election Day:



December 5

World Soil Day:


December 20

International Human Solidarity Day:


The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is a co-operative federation of 35 food co-ops and startup 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.