| Co-op Partnerships
In 2010, the Neighboring Food Co-operative Association (NFCA) joined NEFU as an affiliate member. This partnership promotes collaboration between consumers and producers in our regional food system. Affecting policy change requires not only the producer, but also the consumer voice be heard. This partnership is an effective way to educate and engage the consumer voice in agricultural policy. The partnership also reinforces each organization’s efforts to promote co-operatives.
The NEFU/NFCA partnership has afforded many opportunities for food co-op members to deepen their understanding of agricultural policy issues. Whether a dairy policy tour with NFU’s chief lobbyist or a farm bill workshop led by NFU’s president, educational opportunities from this partnership are helping food co-op members become more informed.
Educational materials, distributed to consumers through NFCA co-op members, also serve to educate consumers. These include a poster showing “Farmers’ Share of the Retail Food Dollar” and a flyer showcasing the “Co-operative Enterprise.” NEFU contributes regularly to the NFCA newsletter, ensuring that the readers are up to date on pressing agricultural policy issues. In 2012, NEFU and NFCA collaborated to develop a curriculum on co-ops. Click to download the New England-focused “Co-operatives: The Business of Teamwork.”
In turn, the co-op concerns are being heard in Washington, D.C. Several farmers that supply NFCA co-ops have attended the annual Legislative Fly-In in Washington, D.C., as has a food co-op member. Support for the fly-in comes from NEFU, as well as from NFCA members who are encouraged to contribute to the “Send a Farmer to Washington” campaign.
The partnership increases general awareness of co-operatives through outreach, publications, and educational materials. We provided curriculum content on co-operative enterprise to colleges and universities in our region. An article on the partnership was published in the national food co-op magazine, Co-operative Grocer.
As part of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association affiliation with NEFU, member food co-ops receive a discount on organizational membership ($100/year). Join us and add your name to the list of NFCA members who are also NEFU members!
Individual members of NFCA food co-op can also join NEFU at a discounted rate of $25/year. Download a membership form here to join.
Check out the many food co-ops that have joined NEFU!