Published August 7, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

FCI Awards $50,000 in Seed Grants to Rural Food Co-op Startup Groups

Press Release August 7, 2017, Savage, MN

Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) is excited to announce the award of seven Rural Seed Grants to new retail food co-ops organizing across the United States.  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. Al l groups receiving a Rural Seed Grant from FCI must meet rural designation standards set by the USDA’s Rural Development Guidelines.

2017 Rural Seed Grant Award Recipients:

2017 Rural Seed Grant IMageThe awards, ranging from $4,000. 00 to $10,000.00,  will be used to help pay for professional business development, market studies, and membership recruitment. They will also bring a site visit form an FCI co-op developer, and assistance with participating in the annual Up & Coming food co-op conference in March 2018. Co-op organizers will raise matching funds in their community and collaborate with FCI throughout their development process. Presently FCI is working with over 140 communities that are actively engaged in starting retail food co-ops. While only a limited number of startups are awarded Seed Grants, FCI provides free resources, training, and advice to all developing food co-ops.  Extensive web-based resources allow easy access to training and best practices on demand. The FCI staff provides personalized services through mentoring, live training events,  and e-mail and phone support.

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.