How to Start a Food Co-op manual
updated October 2010
CGIN has updated our original “How to” manual with new case studies, information on converting existing privately held grocery stores to cooperatives, the directors new role after the hiring of a General Manager, and other new areas. This information will be a great help to anyone interested in what it takes to start a food co-op. It is available in two forms:
You can also download the original How to Start a Food Co-op. You’ll also need a copy of Acrobat Reader to view this version.
Thanks for your interest in starting a food co-op. Here are some suggestions of resources that may prove useful to you and your group as you work through the start-up process.
California Center for Cooperative Development
Promotes cooperatives as a vibrant business model to address the economic and social needs of California’s communities. View a extensive list of other resource organizations on California Center for Cooperative Development website
Food Co-op Initiative
Food Co-op Initiative is a non-profit foundation created to provide resources and support for communities that want to start new food co-ops. The program seeks to help new potential co-op groups understand the program and develop questions to reach out for additional assistance through funding, tools, resources, mentors, and other project assistance.
Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network
CGIN is a tax-exempt non-profit association formed by U.S. retail food co-ops to help them share information and resources. CGIN’s purpose is to strengthen retail food cooperatives by providing a vehicle that facilitates the sharing of resources among members. CGIN hosts a general listserve open to anyone interested in participating (see www.cgin.coop/listserves/basic). In order to be eligible to join CGIN, a co-op must be incorporated and join the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) or National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).
National Cooperative Business Association
NCBA is the lead national membership association for all co-ops in all sectors of the economy. Our mission is to develop, advance and protect cooperative enterprise.
Cooperative Grocer magazine
The Cooperative Grocer is a bi-monthly magazine produced for the managers and directors of all food cooperatives across the United States and Canada. It is the natural food co-ops’ only national trade magazine and is committed to addressing their needs by providing a venue through which our best “retailers and cooperators” can share ideas and practices on operations, governance, and strategy.
CDS Consulting Co-op
CDS Consulting Co-op is dedicated to building and strengthening cooperative businesses by providing consulting, training and development services. CDS is a network of independent consulting professionals experienced in developing food cooperatives. CDS consultants specialize in working with food cooperatives to achieve growth, increase profitability, improve board leadership, strengthen management, and fully serve their members and community.
Existing food co-ops have much to offer new start-up groups and are often eager to help. To find a local co-op online, check www.cooperativegrocer.coop/coops/ or www.localharvest.org/food-coops/
Also, view a extensive list of other resource organizations on California Center for Cooperative Development website