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The Case for Co-ops
The co-op structure is used across our economy to help people help themselves:

  • Credit unions provide their members with financial services.
  • Worker co-ops support better job security.
  • Housing co-ops provide shelter.
  • Energy co-ops provide heat and light.
  • Producer co-ops enable farmers, fishermen and other producers to process, market and distribute their products.

History shows that co-operative enterprise is a powerful means by which people — and particularly family farmers and other producers — can further their own well-being in our market economy. As member-owned enterprises, co-operatives are rooted in the communities they serve, creating economic infrastructure that reaches across generations.

Co-operative enterprise has played a vital role in agriculture, aquaculture and other aspects of our regional economy. And today the New England Farmers Union is working in collaboration with producers, co-ops and other partners to take advantage of new opportunities to use this business model to create a stronger, more resilient food system in New England.

Co-operative enterprise has been particularly important to helping family farmers and fishermen to address some of their enduring challenges as well as opportunities in the marketplace. A majority of our country’s two million food producers are members of about 3,000 producer co-ops. Co-operatives come in many shapes and sizes, enabling family farmers to aggregate and collectively market their goods, buy goods and services, access equipment and land, and add value to their crops. By working together, small producers can take advantage of the benefits of scale without giving up local ownership and control, empowering them to compete more effectively in the marketplace.

NEFU advocates for co-ops. See our Co-op Policy Priorities. And check out our policy book for a detailed description of our policy positions.

What is a Co-op?

Types of Co-ops

The Role of Co-operative Enterprise in a Resilient Food System

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