Return to the Co-op Toolbox
From the US-based Food Co-op Initiative, whose complete toolbox is an excellent starting point, this feasibility and business plan checklist and frequently asked questions document is a great place to begin working on your food co-op development. These food co-ops are specifically retail-focused.
Download the Food Co-op Feasibility Checklist FAQ(1)
Multistakeholder cooperatives (MSCs) are co-ops that formally allow for governance by representatives of two or more “stakeholder” groups within the same organization, including consumers, producers, workers, volunteers or general community supporters. Rather than being organized around a single class of members the way that most cooperatives are, multi-stakeholder cooperatives enjoy a heterogeneous membership base. The common mission that is the central organizing principle of a multi-stakeholder cooperative is also often more broad than the kind of mission statement needed to capture the interests of only a single stakeholder group, and will generally reflect the interdependence of interests of the multiple partners.
A business owner is retiring from a small or medium sized business. He or she has explored the options for succession and has decided to sell the business to his/her employees and managers. They have made a commitment to own and manage the business as a worker co-op. This report documents the information, knowledge and strategies involved in reaching such a decision, for the owner and for the workers. It explains the functioning of a worker co-operative, as well as the various options available to a business owner when facing retirement. It also examines the challenges and the processes involved to ensure the continuation and long-term success of the worker co-op business. There is a very large number of retirements by business owners expected in the coming years. Succession planning is a complex process for a business owner preparing for retirement, and an employee buy-out as a worker co-op is an option which should be given serious consideration. This report was researched and written by co-op developer Peter Hough, and published by the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation.
The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED) is a US-based national cooperative network and training program committed to empowering students to create ethically-sourced, cooperatively-run food enterprises on college campuses. CoFED provides retreats and resources with regional organizers to support student groups as they open up their own food co-ops. CoFED's mission is to cultivate a more sustainable, community-oriented culture through college campuses.
Step 1: Assemble a group of interested people
* Identify the needs to be met:
- unavailability or instability of work,
- unavailability of certain products and services,
- poor quality of certain products and services,
- products and services that are overpriced,
- market development.
More and more communities are setting up food co-ops so they can get good food at an affordable price and have more control over where their food comes from.
Co-operation is all about two or more people joining forces and working together to achieve something they probably couldn't do on their own.
In the case of food co-ops a group of people join forces in order to be able to buy foods they may otherwise find it hard to get hold of at a price they can afford. By volunteering their time and pooling their buying power they can get produce direct from local farmers or wholesalers.
This toolkit has been produced as part of the Big Lottery funded Making Local Food Work programme to help more communities set up their own food co-ops and buying groups.