You can download and save these instructional materials. Feel free to share them with other members of your co-op.
How to Start A Food Co-op
By the Cooperative Grocers' Information Network
Newly Revised in 2010, this is a good overview of the entire retail co-op organizing process. Everyone on your steering committee should look at this.
A Guide to Starting and Growing a Whole Food Grocery
This is a very nice guide to starting a worker-owned retail grocery assembled by the Unicorn Co-op in England. Use with caution since not everything "translates" to U.S. laws and markets.
Creating a Co-op in Canada
This guide includes a lot of good information for answering questions about co-ops but has less value for understanding the organizing process. Some information will not apply in the U.S.
Sources & Uses Template
How much will it cost to start your co-op? Where will the money come from? Bill Gessner's Sources & Uses Template will help you to understand and create this essential start-up budget.
Feasibility FAQ and Checklists
What you need to know to evaluate the feasibility of your plans and gather the information you will need to move forward.
An overview of incorporation, articles and by-laws, membership and patronage and much more.
Member Equity Toolbox
A thorough explanation of membership program structures, capital planning and more.
Member Loan Toolbox (doc)
Member Loan Toolbox (pdf)
Information you need to plan a member loan campaign, organize the timeline, calculate goals, etc. Available in Word format with customizable templates for your loan documents, or PDF for ease of downloading and reading.
Marketing Strategies for Start-ups (pdf)
Great ideas for how to promote your co-op and create a consistent, recognizable identity. See also the marketing photos, below.
Community Survey FAQ
Survey Manual (pdf)
Food Co-op Interest Survey (doc)
We have assembled a comprehensive guide to community and member surveys and a full survey template that you can adapt or use for inspiration.
From time to time Food Co-op Initiative and CDS Consulting Co-op have cosponsored live web presentations on a range of development topics for starting co-ops. Most of them have been recorded and can be viewed or downloaded at your convenience. Handout materials are also available for many of these webinars.
Chart of Accounts
This chart of accounts template is made available by CoopMetrics and is the basis for their financial performance database. Designed specifically for retail food co-ops, this tool will help ensure that your bookkeeping systems are properly configured.
The following materials are of special interest to boards of directors.
Policy Templates for Startups
At last! A clear, comprehensive set of board policies designed specifically for startup co-ops. Created by CDS Consulting Co-op as part of their CBLD (Co-op Board Leadership Development) program, this document includes suggested board agreements and policies for each stage of organizing, along with committee charters.
Effective and Accountable Organizing Teams
Slides and handouts from a workshop on improving your board or steering team's effectiveness and productivity--by Art Sherwood of CDS Consulting Co-op.
Share your best ideas here! Contact us to find out how.
Before adopting similar documents or procedures for your co-op, be sure that your situation and legal requirements are well served by what others used. Food Co-op Initiative does not recommend or endorse these materials, but we hope that they can inform and inspire you.
Just Food: Co-op Development Timeline
An example of the actual planning and implementation process from a recent start-up.
Wild Root: House Party How-to
House parties can help recruit new members and build awareness. Here's a how-to distributed by Wild Root Co-op to members who want to host.
A Co-op in Your Community (ppt)
A PowerPoint slide presentation that you can use at community meetings or to introduce volunteers to co-ops and their benefits.
Developing a Budget for Creating a Food Co-op
This video captures a live workshop with Stuart Reid on how to create a realistic development budget for starting a food cooperative. Filmed and provided courtesy of JJ Noire, independent filmaker from Berkeley. Watch now »
If you are considering a worker-owned co-op, you might consider her DVD, This Way Out: A Guide To Starting A Worker Cooperative.
Marketing for Start-Ups
Here is a slideshow of marketing ideas and logos from a presentation at CCMA 2010: Open album »