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Grant Spotlight: Food Co-op Initiative Quick Start

Thanks to the support from CDF's Cooperative Education Fund, Food Co-op Initiative rolled out three new online training courses and published the first in a series of Action Guides. 

Over 40 startup co-ops attended FCI's new online intensive classes. These 6-week courses provide 9 hours of instruction plus exercises for participants to use at home to connect what they learn to their startup co-ops. Demand for the course is high, with most classes filling within 48 hours.


This six-week online course delves into the more technical details of co-ops organizers' responsibilities. The program is offered in two sessions: Business Development and Ownership.  The courses focus on building understanding of the complex requirements of determining feasibility and building strong owner commitment. Students learn how to understand their roles as well as their limitations and are better able to work effectively with professional consultants when the tasks at hand require higher levels of expertise. 


 Attendees are given a broad background on the food co-op sector and specific information on their roles and responsibilities as board members. The course readies new board members for effective leadership and provides a thorough refresher for existing boards.  66 participants have taken the QuickStart program, with a waiting list for each session.  

Action Guides

 "You've Got Your Market Study: Now What?" Is a publication that walks boards through the interpretation and use of a professional market study.   Future guides are planned on topics  such as "Understanding Your Pro Forma" and  "Rights and Responsibilities of Owners." 

More information about these courses and FCI publications can be found here.

About the Cooperative Education Fund

The Cooperative Education Fund supports cooperative research, sponsors cooperative education events and scholarships, and develops cooperative education materials and programs. The Fund provides $90,000-$100,000 in grants, scholarships, and sponsorships annually. Applications for the 2019 fall grant cycle must be submitted by October 1, 2019 by visiting

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