Image: a veg box from Sutton Community Farm
Food Co-ops Toolkit
Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, have a great site and food co-ops toolkit that focuses on community-run food co-ops that operate on a not-for-profit basis, including these downloadable resources:
- Food co-ops toolkit – a simple guide to setting up food co-ops (.pdf)
- How to set up a food co-op or buying group in a school (.pdf)
- How to set up a food co-op in a university or college (.pdf)
- How to set up a food co-op or buying group at work (.pdf)
School & Student Food Co-ops
In addition to the simple guides published by Sustain (see above), Students for Co-operation have a great page all about How to Start a Food Co-op and the Plunkett Foundation have also published a student guide to community food enterprises (.pdf) as part of the successful Making Local Food Work programme.
Nick Wier from Stroud Food Hub, Local United and Open Food Network UK has also written a great action pack for schools:
People and Planet have also produced this Action Guide to starting a ‘scoop’ (student food co-op):
There is also a Student Food Co-ops facebook group.
Manchester’s excellent wholefood workers’ co-operative Unicorn Grocery have published a brilliant guide all about how to start and grow something similar in your own community:
A similar guide from the US Cooperative Grocer Network is also available. Of course, none of the legal stuff is relevant to the UK, but there is still lots of useful information to be gleaned from the guide (as there is in this collection of resources from the US Food Co-op Initiative):
- How to start a food co-op (.pdf)
Community Supported Agriculture
Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between farmers and the local community, in which the responsibilities, risks and rewards of farming are shared. Benefits are enjoyed by all sides: farmers for instance can receive a more stable and secure income and closer connection with their community, and consumers can benefit by eating fresh healthy food, feeling more connected to the land where their food is grown and learning new skills. For more info get in touch with the CSA Network UK.
- A Share in the Harvest – an action manual for community supported agriculture (.pdf)
The second edition of this great guide from the Soil Association
- European Handbook on Community Supported Agriculture (.pdf)
The result Urgenci‘s CSA4Europe project, this handbook documents CSA experiences from around Europe
- DIY Guide to Marketing Community Supported Agriculture (.pdf)
Another Soil Association publication all about spreading the word about CSAs
- Community Supported Agriculture – A Model for the Farmer and the Community (.pdf)
A Future Economy report and case study on the social and economic impact of 16 CSA farms in the USA
Community Owned Farms
If you’d like to set-up something like London’s Sutton Community Farm, this Guide to Setting Up Community Owned Farms (.pdf) published by the Plunkett Foundation and written by Charlotte Hollins (Manager of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative) is a great place to start.
Sutton Community Farm’s farm design, a calendar of their veg bag contents and their business plan are also all available online.
- Making Local Food Work Practical Guides and Toolkits
a brilliant collection of resources.
- Community-led Food Initiatives (.pdf)
a great guide from Local United.
- Cultivating Cooperatives – organisational structures for local food enterprises (.pdf)
very useful Soil Association guide to legal structures for various types of food co-ops.
- Co-operating in Food (.pdf)
a Co-operatives UK report highlighting food co-ops around the world.
- Corporate governance code for agricultural co-operatives (.pdf)