Featured Article

A Golden Jubilee and a Capital Idea:

There is much to be thankful for in the world of food cooperatives. Through a series of good deeds and contributions from co-ops, funders, and vendors, the Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) grew in 2015 by leveraging another $3 million of much-needed funds for co-op development. The overall leverage of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation (TPCF) is now up to $30 million.

Managing the Farmers Market:

As People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo’s first three-year contract to manage our city’s century-old Kalamazoo Farmers Market comes to a close and winter settles in, we find ourselves reflecting on what we’ve learned. In a few short years, our market has grown from 70 vendors to a seasonal peak of 180, making it Michigan’s second-largest farmers market. We’ve added three staff positions, and we’ve started brand new market ventures in our Washington Square Market and quarterly Night Markets.

Organic Valley Principle 6 Fund

To keep that good Karmic wheel spinning with gratitude, CROPP has established a $1 million loan fund with longtime partner-in-cooperation Shared Capital Cooperative (formerly Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund: NCDF). The Organic Valley Principle 6 Fund is a lending fund that provides money to support the growth of food cooperatives across the country.

Ten Meat Margin Killers:

Building your meat department’s reputation for variety, high quality, and freshness is a big part of creating loyal customers. Customers today often prefer cuts prepared in-house, and demand for value-added products and locally sourced meats continues to grow. The short shelf life of meat puts pressure on departments to be competitively priced to minimize losses due to perishability.

Complaints and Operational Concerns:

As a director, you may notice or hear things about your co-op that may be cause for concern—or are at least worth asking about. How can you respond in a way that honors your sense of responsibility, your board’s clear delegation to the general manager (GM), and your GM’s professional judgment?
Here is an approach that opens a clear path through what can sometimes be a thorny dilemma. The foundation of this approach includes some key ingredients:
•    clear board of directors’ guidelines for roles and responsibilities;