About the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA)
The NFCA is a co-operative federation of more than 40 established and start-up food co-ops across New England and New York State. Central to our work is the 6th Principle of the Co-operative Identity, which recognizes that “co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.” Regional secondary co-operatives like ours, in which the members are local co-ops, act as stewards of many types of work such as development, education, and advocacy, and act as a place for co-ops to share knowledge and resources as we contribute to shared impact and success. As the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) notes, “creating federations that leverage scarce resources whilst respecting the identity of smaller members is key to and the intention of this 6th Principle.”
As a second level co-operative of food co-ops, the NFCA is accountable to our Member Co-ops and depends on their participation and support to achieve our shared goals. Together, we are working to support the shared success of our Member Co-ops and advance our vision of a “thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable regional food system.”
The NFCA is a co-operative incorporated in that Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our members are Food Co-ops in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York State, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Membership is open to Food Co-ops in our region that are committed to shared success and the advancement of our vision, complete a membership agreement, contribute annual dues and other support, and attend member gatherings.
- Full Voting Membership (Food Co-ops): One-time purchase of a Member Share of $100, plus annual dues based on revenue.
- Associate Membership (Start-Up Initiatives): Annual dues of $100.
Benefits of Membership
The mission of the NFCA is to support growth, innovation, and shared success among our member co-ops through collaboration, education, and partnerships, including marketing and educational programs, regional sourcing initiatives, peer networking and mutual support. Benefits of Membership include:
- Democratic Governance of our association through election of and the opportunity to run for our Board of Directors.
- Promotion of Member Co-ops on the NFCA website and in regional advertising, press, printed materials, social media, and outreach at regional events.
- Free Registration for Staff and Directors at most NFCA member gatherings, which include speakers, presentations and peer networking opportunities to support your food co-op’s success.
- Peer Networking and support for Board Directors and Staff including Bulk Departments, HR, and Prepared Foods. Collaboration on topics such as strategic planning, lessons learned, effective community outreach, job descriptions, fundraising and loan campaigns, member engagement, etc.
- Communities of Practice focusing on Healthy Food Access, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Climate Justice (“Slash your Trash”).
- Workshops & Trainings with peers and in collaboration with partners such as the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University.
- Food Policy Education & Advocacy through NFCA’s affiliate membership in the New England Farmers Union (NEFU) and partnerships with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund and the National Cooperative Business Association.
- Free Co-op Jobs Board for Member Co-ops.
- Access to Exclusive NFCA Sourcing Programs such as “Farm to Freezer,” our line of Northeast grown frozen fruits and vegetables, and “Cave to Co-op,” a monthly discount program for local artisan cheeses (where available), and collaboration with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund.
- Linkage with our Community of Co-ops through our E-News, member updates and social media.
- Promotional Resources on the Co-operative Business Model, food system, Co-op Month Resources, and special initiatives such as the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership.
- Educational Initiatives such as the Certificate in Applied Research on Co-operative Enterprises, in collaboration with the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops.
- Support for Startups including co-operative incorporation, governance, planning and peer networking for success; mentorship program; annual startup gathering, and partnership with Food Co-op Initiative.
Discounts & Services
- Discounts on online election services from Simply Voting.
- Discounts on Membership in the New England Farmers Union (Member Food Co-ops $100/year, reg $150; and your Co-op’s individual members, $15/year, reg $35), and the National Cooperative Business Association (10% off of regular membership dues for NFCA Food Co-ops).
- Cooperative Employer Health Plan Option & Fiduciary 401k Plan programs.
Requirements of Membership
As a co-operative of food co-ops, the NFCA depends on the participation and support of its Member Co-ops to accomplish our work together, including:
- Appointment of Staff & Board Representatives to the NFCA in keeping with our bylaws and other rules;
- Participation in Member Gatherings, including the presence of representatives of Management, Staff and Board of Directors at our Annual Meeting, Member Gatherings, and other activities;
- Promotion of the NFCA and our programs on your co-op’s website and in newsletters, e-news, and social media;
- Participation in NFCA activities including sourcing projects such as Cave to Co-op (where available), peer networking activities, and other collaborative projects; and
- Timely Payment of Member Dues to support our programs, activities and progress toward our vision in keeping with established dues structures.
For more information, e-mail info at nfca dot coop.