Published June 5, 2015 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative is excited to announce the award of 12 “Seed Grants” to new retail food co-ops organizing across the United States. “The public interest in food co-ops is at an all-time high,” reports FCI Executive Director Stuart Reid. “By owning and controlling their own cooperative store, communities are able to ensure stable access to healthy food, provide meaningful jobs, and support local producers. Food co-ops can become both an economic anchor and a social hub for the community.” Award winners were selected based on the strength of their leadership, quality of business planning, potential for successful operations, and potential impact made by the grant funds.

2015 Seed Grant Award Recipients:
Clipper City Co-op, Manitowoc, WI
Elk River Area Food Co-op, Elk River, MN
Friends and Farmers Co-op, State College, PA
Little Falls Food Co-op, Little Falls, MN
Sitka Food Co-op, Sitka, AK
West Chester Food Co-op, West Chester, PA
Long Beach Grocery Cooperative, Long Beach, CA
Montavilla Food Co-op, Portland, OR
Prairie Food Co-op, Lombard, IL
The Renaissance Community Co-op, Greensboro, NC
Local Motive Silverton Co-op, Silverton, OR
Prairie Roots Food Co-op, Fargo, ND,

The awards will be used to help pay for professional business development, market studies, and membership recruitment. Co-op organizers will raise matching funds in their community and collaborate with Food Co-op Initiative throughout their development process. “This is a very select group,” said Reid. “We are working with over 140 communities that are actively engaged in starting a food co-op. Although we were only able to provide funding to a limited number of co-ops, FCI provides free resources, training and advice to all food co-ops using a web-based approach which allows easy access on demand and provides personalized services through mentoring, live training events and a lot of e-mail.”

This marks the 6th round of Food Co-op Initiative Seed Grants since the program began in 2005. In that time, $560,000 in startup support has been awarded to 68 food co-ops. Newly opened cooperative groceries are expected to generate over $500 million in revenue over the next five years.

Food Co-op Initiative is a non-profit 501(c)3 created to encourage and support new food co-op development. The Seed Grant program is made possible through a USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant and major funding from the Blooming Prairie Foundation, National Cooperative Bank, National Co+op Grocers, and the food co-op community.