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Free Range Food Co-op

OWNER TOOLKIT

As owners, we are our co-op's best resource of building support and ownership within the community. We all have friends, family, neighbors, and other social contacts that would be interested in the mission of our food co-op. They simply need to be asked, or they don't fully understand what a food co-op is, and why their ownership is needed now before the store opens.  

This owner toolkit is intended to give you the tools to talk about the food co-op to the people in your life. It's a central place for owners to go, or to point potential owners to, in order to learn more about the co-op. Promoting the food co-op is a responsibility of all owners, and talking about it is an easy way that all of us can help to build it. Your willingness to learn more about the co-op and promote it positively within our community helps us to fulfill our mission, and gives us a much further reach into Grand Rapids and the surrounding cities than the outreach team ever could. 

When you ask someone to become an owner, you are letting them know about an opportunity to invest in creating a more local and sustainable food system, supporting local growers and producers, environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives, new jobs with fair wages and benefits, and a stronger cooperative culture in our area.     

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RESOURCES

  • Are you on Facebook?  Like our page.  If there's something going on with the co-op, chances are you'll find out there first.
  • Are you on Instagram?  Like our page.  Instagram allows for creativity using images in a positive way, and we love that. 
  • Food Co-op Initiative, based in Minnesota, has been a wealth of information, mentorship and support for our co-op.  They've been with us every step of the way, offering advice, training, grant opportunities, and over 30 years of experience with food co-ops. Their services are free to us, and paid for by support from other co-ops, and grant funds from the USDA, Blooming Prairie Foundation, and other sources.
  • CDS Consulting Co-op is a cooperative formed by consultants who have a large variety of expertise that they contract out to both mature and start-up food co-ops.  Currently our co-op is working with Bill Gessner on financial feasibility, and Debbie Suassuna on market analysis.
  • Cooperative Development Services is a non-profit based in Minnesota that works with cooperatives of all kinds offering guidance, support, expertise, and resources.
  • International Cooperative Alliance is a non-profit international association established in 1895 to advance the co-operative model.
  • University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives provides training, workshops, and many reports and resources available on their website.
  • Cooperatives for a Better World is a fun, graphic website with a large variety of resources for co-ops of all kinds.