National Co+op Grocers and Natural/Organic Industry Partners Raise $77,000 for National Farm to School Network

Jul 16, 2019

Iowa City, Iowa – National Co+op Grocers (NCG) and partners within the natural/organic foods industry have made a $77,350 contribution to the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) to help increase kids’ access to healthy, local food across the United States.

NCG led the fundraising effort as part of its annual grocery and wellness conference and tradeshow, Co+nvergence, held on June 26 in St. Paul, Minn. More than 350 retail food co-op grocery and wellness buyers attended, joined by nearly 300 representatives from natural and organic grocery and wellness companies.

A leader in U.S. farm to school movement since 2007, NFSN enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by enhancing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings. The money raised at Co+nvergence will be used to fund NFSN’s new equity learning lab, a project aimed at advancing equity within the farm to school movement.

“Food co-ops believe that everyone should have access to good, healthy food and we are excited to support NFSN’s work to impact food access by advancing diversity and inclusion within farm to school programs,” said C.E. Pugh, CEO of NCG. “It is an honor to support this important grassroots work.”

"NCG and its partners’ generous donation will have a big impact at an especially critical time,” said Helen Dombalis, Executive Director of NFSN. “Advancing equity has been a core value of NFSN since our founding. In recent years, on a strategic level, our partners and staff have identified advancing racial and social equity as a key priority for the next phase of our organization. This donation will help us train farm to school leaders from across the country to increase their knowledge of equity principles and strategies and to ensure we maximize impact towards addressing inequities and injustices in our food system."

Industry partners joining NCG in the fundraising initiative include United Natural Foods (UNFI), which contributed $15,000 and Alter Eco, maker of fair trade and organic chocolate sold by NCG co-ops nationwide, which also contributed generously to the effort.

“Alter Eco is proud to partner with values driven organizations like NCG in supporting National Farm to School Network,” said Mike Forbes, CEO at Alter Eco. “It’s critical that our kids understand where their food comes from and why it matters!” 

Donating partners include:

  • Alter Eco
  • Farmer Direct Organics 
  • Hu Products
  • Impact Group
  • Inesscents Aromatic Botanicals
  • Natural Specialty Sales
  • New Hope Network
  • Perfect Bar
  • Presence/Dynamic Presence Marketing
  • The Perfect Bite
  • United Natural Foods (UNFI)


About NCG

National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. NCG helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. Our 145 member and associate co-ops operate more than 200 storefronts in 37 states with combined annual sales of nearly $2.1 billion. NCG is a winner of the dotCoop Global Awards for Cooperative Excellence and a certified B Corp. Find a map of NCG member and associate co-ops. To learn more about co-ops, visit

About NFSN

National Farm to School Network is the leading voice for the U.S. farm to school and farm to early care and education movement, working as an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities to bring local food sourcing, gardens, and food and agriculture education into schools and early care and education settings. National Farm to School Network works at the local, state and national levels to expand and sustain the number, quality and impact of farm to school and farm to early care and education initiatives across the country. Learn more at


Media inquiries may be directed to Eric Davis (; 612-424-7545)