Small Co-ops & Start-Ups

Running a Small Food Co-op or getting a new Start-Up off the ground is both rewarding and challenging.  It’s good to have the support of friends along the way!

Buffalo Mountain Co-op, Hardwick, VT, in the middle of their expansion in August of 2022

The 6th Principle of the Co-operative Identity recognizes that co-ops “serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.” Indeed, the most successful co-op movements in the world are rooted in associations that leverage the scale and experience of existing members to support the growth and success of smaller co-ops and new initiatives.

For example, small and rural food co-ops in our region face unique challenges as they work to serve their communities and support local producers. The NFCA works with partners such the Cooperative Development Foundation to better understand the needs of these co-ops, and provide technical assistance and opportunities for peer networking, shared learning, and collaboration.

Since our founding, NFCA member co-ops and our partners have leveraged their resources and experience to support the next wave of food co-ops, providing opportunities for peer networking, legal advice, and technical assistance. Our partnership with Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) offers support to Start-Up organizers across the country as they work to open their doors to a more healthy, just, and sustainable food system. Some examples of successful member Start-Ups in our region include Assabet Co-op Market (MA), Dorchester Food Co-op (MA), Morrisville Food Co-op (VT), Old Creamery Co-op (MA), and Urban Greens Co-op Market (RI).

Start Up Support

Starting a new Food Co-op is both rewarding and challenging.  It’s good to have the support of friends along the way!

Small Food Co-ops


Small Food Co-ops Resource Portal With a mission of supporting growth, innovation, and shared success among food co-ops in the Northeast, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) developed this program for rural food co-ops as part of a USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) in collaboration with the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF). The project included a survey of rural food co-ops and meetings with co-op managers and directors across the Northeast to better understand their needs and opportunities for collaboration to support shared success, and a set of core resources developed from this input which are being made available to participants in this process.

Peer Networking Groups

Peer Networking Groups: Rooted in the Principle of Co-operation among Co-operatives — the idea that the best way to meet our needs and goals is through association — our peer networking opportunities for Member Co-ops to support shared success. 

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.