The FCI Guide to Starting a Food Co-op

Food Co-op Initiative has updated the Food Co-op Startup Guide manual and the new version is available with other resources at their website (and attached here). We recommend that startup teams contact Food Co-op Initiative to take the first steps with their projects. 


Food Co-op Initiative (FCI):  Startup food co-op groups that have not already done so should contact Food Co-op Initiative Email [email protected]. The FCI phone number is 507-664-2034. 

FCI is a non-profit foundation supported by established co-ops, focused on providing startup groups with advice, referrals, and access to resources.  FCI also contributes a regular column in Cooperative Grocer, and some of those reports are linked below under Related Content.  Find additional reports in more recent issues of the publication.

CDS Consulting Co-op (CDSCC) startup webinars:  Over the past few years a series of 20 free webinars for startup food co-op has been developed by Cooperative Development Services and CDS Consulting Co-op, and these webinars are available free:

Four Cornerstones: CDS Consulting Co-op trainers and consultants have developed a framework for startups comprising “Four Cornerstones in 3 Stages”:  the cornerstones of vision, talent, capital, and systems are each needed within three stages of food co-op development:  organizing, feasibility and planning, and implementation.

As indicated above, established and startup co-ops have developed in-depth resources and professional experience in support of new co-ops. No matter what its local circumstances, a startup food co-op effort can benefit from decades of experience in community-based enterprise and professional development among established food co-ops and their allies. 

The Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference is a gathering for startup and small co-ops organized by the Indiana Cooperative Development Center and Food Co-op Initiative, with support from CDS Consulting Co-op, National Co+op Grocers, and many other food co-ops across the U.S. Learn more at 

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