- National Farmers Union (NFU) 2012 Youth and Adult Curriculum. NFU has produced an excellent curriculum called, Cooperation: The Business of Teamwork. This comprehensive workbook starts with Grades 1-2 with lesson plans on simple co-operative games and ends with collegiate and adult activities that focus on spreadsheets, legal terminology related to cooperative development, and sample budgets. It exists in DVD and hard copy formats. Other Farmers Union chapters around the US will be using this curriculum in 2012 in various ways.
- National Farmers Union College Conference on Co-operatives. NEFU is invited to send two college students to this NFU conference in Wisconsin in February.
- Regional Conferences. NEFU sponsors and presents content on co-operative enterprise at regional conferences.
NEFU and NFU played a key role in joining with the Neighboring Food Co-ops Association (NFCA) and the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops in opposing harmful legislation on co-ops that was introduced in the Vermont Senate in 2011.
- Advocating for co-op research and development funding in the 2012 Farm Bill, in collaboration with the NFCA and national organizations such as the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA).
- Supporting state legislation supporting co-op development (e.g. Farm to Plate in VT).
- Working with partners on state-based legislation that promotes and facilitates co-operative enterprise.
NEFU works with producers to promote use of the co-op business model in addressing contemporary challenges and opportunities, and in supporting collaboration among co-ops participating in the regional food system. For example, food co-ops are interested in sourcing more products regionally and from producer co-ops. Producers are looking for ways to aggregate production and reach scale without selling out.
- Promote the co-op business model to producers exploring new products, service and operations.
- Work to connect co-ops across sectors in areas of opportunity (e.g. linking food co-ops and producer co-ops in areas of product innovation)
NEFU promotes the contribution of producer and consumer co-ops to our regional food system in the press, advertising and regional food system gatherings.
- Uses the IYC logo on the NEFU website, materials and advertising.
- Profiles co-ops in our region on the NEFU website, articles and in materials (e.g. Profile a co-op – farmer co-ops, fishery co-op, financial co-op, food co-op – in our region in each newsletter.)
- Uses press releases linking the IYC with NEFU priorities and co-op members.
Finally, NEFU is developing its capacity to provide technical and other support to producer co-ops in our region.