Co-op Impact

Food co-ops make a difference every day, empowering people from all walks of life to work together to improve access to healthy, affordable food, support local producers, and build stronger, more resilient and sustainable communities.

Many people are unaware of how many food co-ops there are in the Northeast and the impact they have in their communities every day. We’re working together to change that.

One of the first projects that the founding members of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association worked on together was a 2008 study that revealed the impressive and sometimes unexpected economic impact of our member co-ops across the region.  For example, food co-ops were revealed to be engines of the regional economy, purchasing more than $33 million in products from.  In addition, it was revealed that, taken together, our Vermont member co-ops were among the top 25 employers in the state.

Building on the success of this research, every year we conduct an Annual Impact Survey to help us measure, communicate, and increase the benefits our food co-ops provide to our communities.  In 2023, this study revealed that our more than Member Co-ops… 

…Were locally owned by more than 185,000 members in communities across the Northeast.
…Generated Annual Revenue of over $442 million.
…Contributed over $1.2 million to community organizations.
…Operated retail locations in 39 communities across the region.
…Employed 2,545 people (60% of whom are also members).
…Sold more than $121 million dollars in local products — or 25% of total sales!

This information helps co-operatives communicate the difference they make locally, and the collective impact we have across the Northeast.  It also helps us tell our story in the press, through regional advertising in publications such as The Natural Farmer and Green Energy Times, outreach at events such as the Green River Festival and Northeast Organic Farming Organization conferences, and before activists and policymakers.

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.