Published September 10, 2012 by Food Co-op Initiative

“I support Food Co-op Initiative because they supported us.” – Bonnie Hudspeth

Bonnie Hudspeth photo_0

Bonnie Hudspeth, former Project Manager at Monadnock Food Co-op, now Membership & Outreach Coordinator with the Neighboring Food Co-op Association.

Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, New Hampshire will open its doors in the first part of 2013, after a four-year-long journey. Food Co-op Initiative will have been with them every step of the way.

“At the very beginning, we were able to educate ourselves about the start-up process using the Food Co-op Initiative toolbox.”

Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) is focused on providing free services to start-ups, providing crucial early-stage professional expertise before new co-ops are able to raise money.

“It’s very challenging at the beginning stages—which some folks may not make it out of—to get support without paying a boatload of money.” 

FCI writes tutorials, records online webinars, and speaks with start-ups by phone, email, and online video. We train start-up organizers at regional conferences and one-on-one. We provide a welcome to new organizers and introduce them to other critical sources of support in the food co-op community.

In 2011, Food Co-op Initiative awarded a $10,000 Seed Grant to Monadnock. The funds paid for interior design work, but the real benefit was in site visits and in-person consulting.

Since co-ops are not 501(c)3 non-profits, our Seed Grant program is one of the few grants most co-ops are eligible for.  In 2011, 13 start-ups applied to Food Co-op Initiative for Seed Grant support; in 2012, 31 start-ups applied.

“It’s crucial to have support and consulting that you don’t have to pay for. Open co-ops, and anyone who loves food co-ops, need to know that.”

Bonnie and the staff of Monadnock  continue to be avid supporters of co-ops and of Food Co-op Initiative.  They hope you will use the resources, consult with the staff,  and help to support FCI.