NOFA Summer Conference Co-op Track Presentations 2019

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) sponsored a special track on “Co-operatives in the Food System” at the annual NOFA Summer Conference, August 9-11, 2019 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

The Co-op Track workshops on Saturday, August 10, 2019 addressed a variety of ways co-operative enterprises contribute to more sustainable and just regional food systems through a range of topics.  From food safety rules for small producers and co-ops to practical steps for farmers interested in forming co-ops and business owners considering converting their enterprise to a co-operative, to strategies for using the co-op model to address food insecurity, the sessions were organized in collaboration with the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Franklin Community Co-op, Green Mountain Spinnery, New England Farmers Union, and the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops.

Special thanks to New England Farmers Union President and organic farmer Roger Noonan for presenting an Update on Food Safety Rules for Small Producers & Co-ops as part of our Co-op Track. The NFCA is a proud affiliate member of the Farmers Union, representing our commitment to partnership with our region’s family farmers and their co-operatives. Find out more:

How to Start or Convert to a Co-op Business 

This presentation was part the Co-op Track at the 2019 NOFA Summer Conference. Looking to start a business or for a business succession plan that retains jobs and builds economic sustainability? Co-ops root business in communities, strengthen buy-in, and build resilient and sustainable economy and food systems. Learn how co-ops work, the startup process, benefits of conversion, financing, and history. Presenters will shares stories of the process of converting businesses to the co-op model, starting worker co-ops, food co-ops and producer co-ops.

  • Larisa Demos, Worker/member-owner Green Mountain Spinnery, Board of Directors, Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives.
  • Suzette Snow-Cobb, Has been involved with co-ops since the ’80s, works for the Neighboring Food Co-op Association.

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Food Co-ops: Democratizing Human Health & Food Security 

This presentation was part the Co-op Track at the 2019 NOFA Summer Conference. What is the co-op model and how does it help make healthy, local food and community ownership more available to everyone? This presentation includes stories from co-op leaders about how they are working together to empower people to build more inclusive, healthy, and just food systems and economies.

  • Bonnie Hudspeth, Co-operative Development, Neighboring Food Co-op Association.
  • Ruth Garbus, Brattleboro Food Co-op
  • Sarah Kanabay, Outreach and Communications Manager, Franklin Community Co-op.


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