St. Augustine Community Co-op Initiative


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Calling all those with a common belief in the importance of sustainable and whole foods in our everyday lives!

We are looking to initiate the organization of a food cooperative here in Saint Augustine. We have so many local farmers, artisans, etc., right here in our area...let's establish a community effort to link our
own local producers with the local consumers by way of a unified location more prominent than a weekly market, and help build our community with a focus on that which is homegrown, sustainable, and holistic.

What is a cooperative (co-op)?

A cooperative is an organization voluntarily and equally controlled by its members with the purpose of meeting an agreed upon mutual need.

In our case, the community need is access to locally grown, fresh, whenever possible organic produce and products.

A food co-op operates much like a normal grocery store, except that it is owned and operated by the community customers themselves, helping to bring together local producers with local consumers.

…and the reason: Because we care about what we eat!

Sounds great, doesn't it?

At this point, we are in the starting phase - searching for any and all individuals who are interested in participating in the process that will turn this fantastic idea into a reality. We are looking for all those who are serious and enthusiastic about dedicating their time to help create a local food co-op. Professionals are also needed in the areas of design, marketing, research, education, business, law, and finance who are interested in devoting their areas of expertise.

We are hoping to gather a network of individuals within the community and hold several initial brainstorm and discussion meetings in order to decide on a plan and enact leadership positions to assist in its unfolding.

Please comment, message, post with any suggestions, questions, interest, etc...

We are currently using facebook, craigslist, and email lists to spread the word about this initiative, as well as print advertising around town - so look out for our flyers!

As we gather responses and coordinate interests, we will announce our first meeting date.

Thank you for your interest!

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St. Augustine Community Co-op Initiative

  1. 1. What is a co-op? “A co-op is a member owned, member controlled business that operates for the mutual benefit of all members and according to common principles established for cooperatives.”  Co-ops are owned and controlled by those who use their services (members).  Co-ops are democratically governed.  Co-ops are business, not clubs or associations.  Co-ops adhere to internationally recognized principles. Food co-ops are usually organized as consumer co-ops, which provide goods or services used primarily by members for personal consumption.(1)
  2. 2. Looking at the Co-op as a Business: Steps  Starting a co-op involves thorough business planning and time. Most co-ops take a minimum of two years to start up.  The following steps are common to new co-ops: Gather background information, Assess community interest, Incorporate, Organize within the community, Recruit warehouse, Research feasibility, Plan for financing, Secure financing, Select a site, Prepare for opening, Begin operations(1)
  3. 3. The Food Co-op Initiative Development Model  Four cornerstones: Vision Talent Capital Systems  Three stages of food co-op development: Organize Feasibility & Plan Implement(2)
  4. 4. Four Cornerstones I. Vision: “The articulation of hopes and dreams of a founding group”  Broad, Long-term, Inspiring and  Specific and Local  Refined as the emerging co-op moves through the development stages  Includes the co-op as a solution to a common problem or need  Core values and purpose  A vision of the process of developing a food coop(2)
  5. 5. Four CornerstonesII. Talent: “Those invested in the co-op’s success” Champion(s) Steering Committee or Task force Board of Directors Developer Management (Development Project Manager, Facility Project Manager, General Manager)(2)
  6. 6. Four Cornerstones III. Capital: “Financial resources necessary for all stages of development”  Organizing  Feasibility  Business Planning  Implementation  Sustaining (recover and reinvest)  Internal resources are used to leverage external resources(2)
  7. 7. Four CornerstonesIV. Systems: “Organized, integrated, coordinated, andinterdependent methods” Legal Governing Planning & assessment Communication and Marketing Finance & Accounting Operations Commitment to continuous improvement Systems become more complex through the stages(2)
  8. 8. Development Stages Stage I: Organizing Emerging Co-op: Brings about the organization  One or more people start with an idea  Recognition of a common problem or need that a food co-op could meet  Includes -Convening a core group -Assessing common interest and needs -Designating leadership -Building a shared vision -Committing time and money  Brings about the organization(2)
  9. 9. Development Stages Stage II: Feasibility & Planning Emerging Co-op: Brings about the operation  An organized group with commitment, interest and capacity  Assesses market potential and internal readiness  Includes -Feasibility – deeper assessments of financial, market and organizational capacity -Planning – a business plan for financing and operations  Builds commitment and capacity (both leadership and management)  Brings about a secured site for the operation(2)
  10. 10. Development Stages Stage III: Implementation Emerging Co-op: Brings satisfaction of Member needs  Demonstrated capacity in all the cornerstones  Includes -Preconstruction -Construction & Renovation -Preparation for Opening -Sustaining - First Year and Beyond  Brings about the satisfaction of member needs(2)
  11. 11. Developments to DateThe St. Augustine Community Co-op Initiative is in the organizing stage: Vision: to initiate a community effort to link our own local producers with local consumers by way of a unified location more prominent than a weekly market, and thus help build our community with a focus on that which is homegrown, sustainable, and holistic. Outreach: social media and print advertising Model co-op: Gainesville Citizens Co-op Proposed location: Reserved area within the St. Augustine Flea Market
  12. 12. Next Steps Talent: Conduct community meetings to specify community needs, identify potential members, and choose leaders, set up task forces, recruit volunteers, set up administrative support Capital: Determine organizing budget, find resources for organizational costs Systems: Create a development plan, Incorporate
  13. 13. Potential Funders Food Cooperative Initiative ( National Cooperative Bank ( Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund ( Cooperative Development Foundation (
  14. 14. Additional Resources Food Coop Cooperative Grocer CDS Consulting Cooperative Development
  15. 15. Works Cited1. Cumbie, Patricia, and Margaret J. Goldstein. "How to Start a Food Co-op." Cooperative Grocer Network. Cooperative Grocer Network, n.d. Web. 18 Nov 2012. <>.2. "Development Model." Food Co-op Initiative. Food Co-op Initiative, n.d. Web. 18 Nov 2012. <>.