In the Autumn Pea Soup, we wrote about the National Co+op Grocers’ (NCG) contribution to Viroqua Food Co+op’s success through collective purchasing power, competitive pricing and professional development and training.
By being a member of NCG, along with 149 other co-ops across the United States, we also have a powerful advocacy voice on food co-op issues. Co-ops truly are stronger together!
Most food co-ops were formed by people committed to co-ops, as well as core values like a sustainable food system, the fair treatment of people and a healthy environment. These values continue to be important to NCG member co-ops and their shoppers and owners. Through NCG, co-ops like VFC have been able to make far greater progress towards these goals, at home and abroad, than could ever have been done alone.
NCG’s mission is to provide the vision, leadership and systems to combine the voices of independent food co-ops to a position of prominence in the natural foods industry. NCG recognizes three global areas as critical to achieving its mission: a sustainable food system, the fair treatment of people, and a healthy environment.
NCG strives to influence these areas directly and through its support of the work of others. Generally, NCG’s advocacy efforts are focused on policy reform at the federal level. NCG convenes an Advocacy Advisory Committee, consisting of appointed volunteer representatives from NCG co-ops. The committee’s role is to provide input and feedback on advocacy priorities.
“Working together, co-ops are writing the next chapter of our shared story,” says Robynn Shrader, NCG Chief Executive Officer. “We are making a positive impact on a national and global scale. We are stronger together and we are just getting started!”
In 2016, NCG contributed over $690,000, along with considerable staff time, to support advocacy work including:
- A renewed commitment to Food Co-op Initiative to support faster and more efficient start-ups
- Commitments to sustainable development and diversity through the Co-ops for 2030 campaign and the B Corp Inclusion Challenge
- Became a founding member of the Climate Collaborative, an initiative that recognizes and promotes natural product companies that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with Climate Collaborative Awards
- A major contributor to the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, impacting 14,000 students
- Awarded “Organic Champion” by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
- Facilitated $1 million in sales for La Riojana, a farmer owned co-op, and raised $80K for more for their organic certification
- Over half the items promoted in Co+op Deals were organic, which generated $47 million in sales
- Co+op Forest* (see caption below photo) is responsible for purchasing, growing and now caring for 1.4 million trees
*Co+op Forest is a carbon offset program that helps to slow climate change by working within our supply chain to offset carbon emissions associated with NCG business travel and utilities. To offset these emissions, NCG is growing a sustainable forest in a formerly-deforested region of the Peruvian Amazon in partnership with organic farming cooperatives and Pur Project.