Food System Development

As part of our effort to build a more healthy, just and sustainable food system, the NFCA develops projects that leverage our food co-ops’ shared purchasing power to create models for a more just, sustainable and inclusive food system. 

On average, more than 25% of sales at your Neighboring Food Co-ops are local products, reflecting our commitment to building a more vibrant, sustainable, and resilient local communities.  We also work together to increase our impact, collaborating with producers, co-ops, and other partners on projects that help grow our regional food system.

Around the world, co-operatives have been innovators in building more, healthy, just and sustainable food systems. Here in our region, food co-ops have served as laboratories for new ways of thinking about the way we eat, from healthy food to organic agriculture, and fairly traded goods to systems for the distribution and retailing of bulk products.  More recently, co-ops in the region have also served as important partners and incubators for local producers — a place where they can can test out new products and grow their businesses.

We  also work with other co-ops in the food system such as Cabot Creamery Co-op, Deep Root Organic Co-op, and Organic Valley, and organizations such as the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund and the New England Farmers Union to strengthen family farms and advocate for co-operative enterprise as a solution for small producers competing in a consolidated marketplace. 

As we continue to innovate, our goal is to create projects that enable our food co-ops to demonstrate what is possible when we leverage our shared purchasing power to build a better food system.  Click on the links below for more information on our work and partnerships, including:

Northeast Organic Family Farmers Partnership

The NFCA was the first organization of retailers to join the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, an educational project established in response to a crisis presented by more than 130 Northeast organic dairy farmers losing their contracts with major processors.

Cave to Co-op

Cave to Co-op is our partnership with the local distributor Provisions International to support our region’s artisan cheesemakers by offering a monthly special cheese at an affordable price.

Farm To Freezer

Farm to Freezer was an innovative initiative launched by the NFCA to support our regional farmers by offering Northeast grown and processed frozen fruits & vegetables.  After a number of years in operation — and tons of produce sold — this successful project was wound down.

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Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

Our partnership with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund is focused on building equitable marketing relationships, co-operative development, policy advocacy, and working together to build racial and economic justice.

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New England Farmers Union

The NFCA is an affiliate member of the New England Farmers Union, representing our commitment to working with our region’s family farmers to strengthen the voices of our producers and consumers to policymakers in DC, build stronger rural communities, and grow co-operative enterprise.

Local Food Safety Collaborative

Food safety is a critical component of good farm management, and we work with the New England Famers Union and the Local Food Safety Collaborative to provide training, education, and technical assistance to local food producers and support compliance with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations.

These programs and activities are supported by the member co-ops of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), with the additional support of these partner organizations.