What's New

  • December 4, 2012

    The mayor spoke at the co-op’s ribbon cutting, and it seemed like the whole town turned out to celebrate. The local paper wrote excitedly about the new grocery store. The future seemed bright. 

    Nine months later, the fledgling store was begging members for additional cash infusions. Before its second anniversary, the co-op closed its doors. 

    This story is a familiar one, and we all know the unfortunate reality. Even with the resilient foundation of community ownership, not every new food co-op will survive. As we enjoy unprecedented growth in startup efforts, it is important that we understand why some co-ops fail so that others can avoid their mistakes. 


    Read the full story in Cooperative Grocer Magazine, on Cooperative Grocer Network, or download a PDF version to share with your organizing group.

  • September 10, 2012

    Today Food Co-op Initiative announced grants to ten new cooperative grocery stores. An additional four co-ops will receive scholarships for board and organizer training. All fourteen awardees will bring a focus on local economy, community building, and healthy food options to their communities.

    Food Co-op Initiative is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping communities make their co-op vision into reality. They are the only national organization dedicated exclusively to helping startup food co-ops. Their grants, free consultations, and extensive library of educational resources have helped dozens of co-ops get their start since Food Co-op Initiative’s inception in 2010.

    Among those receiving funding is Capital City Food Co-op in Juneau, Alaska. Juneau residents began organizing in May, 2012 to bring a co-op to their remote northern city, which is accessible only by boat or airplane. “People are individualistic here,” says organizer Evelyn Rousso, “But the frontier sense of looking out for one’s neighbors is also a strong bond. Not many people could identify the Rochdale Principles, but, openness to all, democracy, honest business practices, benefits to those who participate, cooperation with others, and the good of the community are all things that really do resonate here, and are reflected in many, many ways in the daily life of our city.”

    Another grantee is Dorchester Community Food Co-op, located in one of Boston, Massachusetts’s largest and most diverse neighborhoods. More than just a grocery store, in the words of organizer Jenny Silverman, “Dorchester will be a community and worker-owned market and food hub that provides economic opportunity, healthy affordable food access, and education around healthy food choices.” The Dorchester Community Food Co-op hopes to be part of an network of social enterprises that reinvigorates their inner-city commercial district.

    This is the second round of grants distributed by Food Co-op Initiative. In 2011, $50,000 was awarded to eight co-ops. This year, nearly $100,000 will be distributed. However, Food Co-op Initiative Executive Director Stuart Reid says the financial support is only part of the package. “More important is the one-on-one mentoring we give our grantees. Along with regular contact through email and telephone, Food Co-op Initiative development specialists will make personal visits to each startup to provide educational workshops and organizational support.”

    Food Co-op Initiatives grants are funded in part by USDA Rural Development and Blooming Prairie Foundation.


    Stuart Reid


    Complete list of 2012 grantees:

    Capital City Market Co-op, Juneau, AK

    Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, Detroit, MI

    Dorchester Community Food Co-op, Boston, MA

    Fuquay-Varina Community Market, Fuquay-Varina, NC

    Gateway Food Cooperative, St. Paul, MN

    Granite City Co-op, Barre, VT

    Green Top Grocery, Bloomington, IL

    Hub City Co-op, Spartanburg, SC

    Many Hands Food Cooperative, Binghamton, NY

    Wasatch Cooperative Market, Salt Lake City, UT


    Scholarship recipients:

    Deerfield Community Co-op, Deerfield, WI

    Ellensburg Food Co-op, Ellensburg, WA

    Hudson Grocery Cooperative, Hudson, WI

  • June 29, 2012

    When in the organizing process is it time to start creating and using financial documents? Right away! Find out why and how in this workshop with Stuart Reid.

    Stuart discusses how to create a realistic development budget for starting a food cooperative, using the Sources and Uses Budget tool developed by Bill Gessner. 

    You may wish to download the related Sources and Uses Budget that Stuart will be referring to in the workshop.


    Thank you to JJ Noire, indepent filmaker, for capturing this workshop. If you are considering a worker-owned co-op, you might take a look at her other work, including This Way Out: A Guide To Starting A Worker Cooperative.

  • May 11, 2012
    Stuart at White HouseStuart Reid and friends at the White House

    "The U.S. cooperative model is alive and well, creating jobs and strengthening communities each and every day around the country." This message was one that Stuart Reid, FCI Executive Director, along with 150 cooperative leaders from around the U.S., took to a recent White House briefing. It was a momentous opportunity to educate senior officials from the Obama Administration about the co-op model.

    There are currently 29,000 cooperatives across the U.S.. These organizations generate two million jobs annually and account for more than $3 trillion in assets, over $500 billion in total revenue, and $25 billion in wages and benefits. The cooperative model can be found across numerous industries—including agriculture, childcare, energy, financial services, food distribution, health care, housing, retail, telecommunications and more.

  • October 18, 2011

    It's up on YouTube - the long-awaited video of Mari Gallagher's "kick in the seat" talk to food co-ops about addressing the challenge of food deserts! Enjoy and share this great talk, and let us know what you think


  • June 3, 2010

    Founding Member Owners are invited to come preview our store before we open to the public. Celebrate good times! Explore the store and plan your cart route! Share in Wine, Bread and Cheese, and Fruits of the Harvest! Words of gratitude and anticipation at 7 pm. Last call for FMOs! Anyone who joins before the doors swing open on opening day will still be considered a founder.

    Founding Member-Owner Preview Night at the Store!
    (Sunday, June 06, 2010 : 5 - 8 pm)