|Bonnie Hudspeth, former Project Manager at Monadnock Food Co-op, now Membership & Outreach Coordinator with the Neighboring Food Co-op Association.|
"I support Food Co-op Initiative because they supported us." - Bonnie Hudspeth
Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, New Hampshire will open its doors in the first part of 2013, after a four-year-long journey. Food Co-op Initiative will have been with them every step of the way.
"At the very beginning, we were able to educate ourselves about the start-up process using the Food Co-op Initiative toolbox."
Food Co-op Initiative is focused on providing free services to start-ups, providing crucial early-stage professional expertise before new co-ops are able to raise money.
"It's very challenging at the beginning stages—which some folks may not make it out of—to get support without paying a boatload of money."
We write tutorials, record online webinars, and speak with start-ups by phone, email, and online video. We train start-up organizers at regional conferences and one-on-one. We provide a welcome to new organizers and introduce them to other critical sources of support in the food co-op community.
In 2011, Food Co-op Initiative awarded a $10,000 Seed Grant to Monadnock. The funds paid for interior design work, but the real benefit was in site visits and in-person consulting.
Since co-ops are not 501(c)3 non-profits, our Seed Grant program is one of the few grants most co-ops are eligible for. In 2011, 13 start-ups applied to Food Co-op Initiative for Seed Grant support. In 2012, 31 start-ups applied.
"It's crucial to have support and consulting that you don't have to pay for. Open co-ops need to know that."
Help us support the growing wave of new food co-op organizing.