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The FCI Guide to Starting a Food Co-op

Our comprehensive guide for groups starting a retail food co-op, with steps, case studies, templates, and more for every stage from organizing to implementation.

Legal Primer

Must read – incorporation, articles and by-laws, membership, equity, liability, patronage,  more.

New Food Co-op Startup Map

Looking for a food co-op forming near you?  FCI maintains this map of new retail food co-ops under development in the U.S.

Let’s Start a Food Co op: What Do We Do First?

Review this webinar for a great intro to the startup process, and learn what you should start doing right now—and what you shouldn’t. Find the path that works.

What Do I Do FIrst? – handout

A quick reference for the first steps of getting started. Good companion to Let’s Start a Food Co-op video.

A Food Co-op In Your Community

An excellent video to share with prospective members who are new to the concept of a retail food co-op.

A Food Co-op in Your Community Slides

Add your own co-op story to this PowerPoint set: These slides work well for community informational meetings.

The Wonderful World of Grocery

Webinar features the GM of Outpost Natural Foods telling the co-op story from its start in the 1970’s to the present. Outpost learned as it grew, and is a major advocate for all food co-ops.

Legal Issues in Stage 1

Featuring: incorporation, equity, liability & more. With Thane Joyal & Ben Sandel of CDS Consulting Co-op.

Tips for Forming Your Steering Committee

Co-op steering committees should think cooperatively! Great tips from a peer startup.

River Valley Market: A Startup Case Study

This webinar reviews the startup  steps of  River Valley Co-op in Northampton, MA, which opened in June 2009.

Co-op Directories

Three sites that list open co-ops, as well as some startups.

Interest Survey User’s Manual

The comprehensive guide to community and member surveys . Pairs with the survey template that you can adapt or use for inspiration.

Interest Survey Template

The food co-op interest survey template that you can adapt or use for inspiration.  Pairs with comprehensive guide to community and member surveys.

A Tale of Two Co-ops

Cooperative Grocer Magazine article featuring East Aurora and Bisman food co-ops,  by Stuart Reid in Sept-Oct 2016.

Bringing Grocery Stores to Low-Income Urban Food Deserts

Cooperative Grocer Magazine article by Mary Stennes Wilbourn in Nov-Dec 2015..

Startup Support Chart

Shows how startups interact with FCI, but also CDS Consulting Co-op, National Co+op Grocers and NCG’s Development Co-op.

Forming Your Steering Committee

Click to download this handout to guide your group through the process.