New Study: Twin Cities Co-op Local Food System

Just published: a new, in-depth look at food co-ops in the greater metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul area and their local food system, from member-owners to retailers to producers.  It is available for download (pdf) at  Cooperative Development Services (CDS) is the publisher, and the authors are Joan Stockinger of CDS and Dave Gutknecht of Cooperative Grocer Network.   The study was funded by a grant from Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Read more »

Of Kale and Capital: Go Co-op!

Trust, local investment, and a strong and supportive food co-op. The down-to-earth details of building local food relationships are nicely reported in an article from Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Expanded hoop-house production is bringing more high-quality, local food to a small farm’s customers and to the Kalamazoo food co-op: more »

Maine Food Co-ops: Tide is Up!

An impressive surge of expansion and new food co-ops is happening in many areas, and Maine is a great example.  The number of food co-ops in the state will soon double over recent years, it appears.  The growth and new energy are being driven by the values and motivations that are widespread among cooperatives:  quality good and services, strong support of local producers and economy, and fair and democratic business enterprises.  Here’s a recent journalist’s positive and mostly accurate report – the link is to a Maine business publication: Read more »

Exploring Co-op Potential with John Restakis

Two sources of excellent examples and thoughtful questions about cooperatives and their potential:  John Restakis, author of Humanizing the Economy: Cooperatives in the Age of Capital and of online commentary at  His book, published in 200x, is a survey of important cooperative enterprise and experiments around the world and is alternately inspiring and surprising in where it finds co-op success:  from well-known examples in Italy, Spain, and U.K. to fishermen and sex workers.  Read more »

Financing the New Economy

An excellent report and overview appeared in a recent issue of Dollars and Sense and may be found on its website:  Written by Abby Scher and subtitled, “The New Hope in Credit Unions and Cooperation,” her report is an unusually thorough discussion of the various key actors in the world of cooperative finance:  cooperative banks, credit unions, community development financial institutions, and more.  It’s a grea Read more »

Robynn Shrader: New Head of Consumer Cooperatives Worldwide

The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) has announced that its chief executive officer, Robynn Shrader, has been elected president of Consumer Cooperatives Worldwide (CCW), a sectoral organization within the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).  Read more »

Deadline for FMSA Comments Extended to November 22

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) threatens many small producers with food safety requirements more appropriate for much larger processors.  The deadline for comments has been extended to Friday, November 22, 2013.  Act by November 22 to add comments to the Food and Drug Administration.  The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has all the documents, guidelines, and talking points you need: follow the links at their site:    Read more »

Washington Labeling Initiative Fails

Although the final count is not in, here’s an initial report – – on the vote in Washington, where Measure 522, which would have required food labels to include prominent labels for GM (genetically modified) ingredients, was defeated.  Grocery and food industry opponents of the labeling initiative poured three times as many dollars into their side of the campaign, repeating the defeat of a GM labeling bill in California Read more »

Organic Standards Undermined During Government Standoff

A key National Organic Standards Board meeting and discussions scheduled for October 17 have been cancelled.  Meanwhile, the USDA-controlled National Organic Program is making another attempt to undermine organic standards and the role of the 15-member National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Read more »

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