Policy Advocacy

We’re working together to strengthen our democracy and influence the policies that affect us all.

Congressman Jim McGovern of the 2nd District of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, delivering the keynote speech at the NFCA’s 12th Annual Meeting in 2023.

Our co-ops are working in collaboration with partners including the New England Farmers Union on initiatives such as the Fairness for Farmers campaign and co-operative law, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund to advocate on policy issues affecting Black farmers and land access, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) to defend the Co-operative Identity in state law, support co-op friendly legislation, and grow the Congressional Co-operative Business Caucus, and CoBank to support policies that strengthen family farmers and our rural economies. We also work with the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) to protect and promote the Co-operative Identity in business law and regulations.

In 2011, we worked with partners to successfully challenge changes to Vermont law that would have undermined the basic definition of a co-operative as being owned, controlled, and benefitting its member-users as opposed to investors. We reiterated our position and that of other co-operative organizations in a resolution on the Co-operative Legal Identity in 2014. And in 2019, we worked with our Connecticut Member Co-ops and partners including credit unions and NCBA CLUSA to update state statutes, making it easier to form a co-operative. We continue to work closely with the ICA to support the Co-operative Identity as recognized in international law.

We work with regional food system organizations to support policies impacting farmers, food security, and sustainability. From our early years, we have been affiliate members of the New England Farmers Union, reflecting our commitment to strengthening the voices of our region’s family farmers and consumers before policymakers, build stronger rural communities, and grow co-operative enterprise. In 2024, we partnered with the Farmers Union and CoBank to launch a Policy Advocacy Initiative to educate, engage, and empower our members to be more effective advocates for food system and co-operative policy.

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.