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Free Range Food Co-op

Our co-op would not exist as it is today without the commitment and dedication of volunteers! All of our volunteers are owners and community members who want a cooperatively owned grocery store in Grand Rapids that will provide us with local, organic, whole, and natural foods and products. However, there is a lot to do before we get to that point, and we can’t get there without owners willing to commit their time, talents, expertise, and positive energy.

Building a modern food co-op takes time, averaging 5 years of community development before there is a store to shop at. There are many different factors that determine how long it takes such as, the level of community support, how the organizing team and board of directors functions, the strength of the organizing team both in numbers and engagement, the resources available, the ability to secure funding both through owner contributions and external lenders, among a number of other factors. There are many moving parts and tasks that must be addressed in order to build the co-op in a way that sets it up for success once it's open.

Our organizing team is made up of people that help out once or twice, people doing work in the background, those that are "all-in", and everything in between. We have found the most enjoyable positions are those that highlight something you are passionate about, or skilled in. Volunteer needs fluctuate depending on the stage we are in, but we always need people willing to help, and chances are there are tasks that would fit your interests.

HOW TO GET MORE INVOLVED:

  1. Join the organizing team. Meet with a team member to discuss volunteer opportunities. Email freerangefoodcoop@gmail.com to set up a time to talk.
  2. Attend a Board meetings and other co-op events.
  3. Check out the Owner Toolkit packed with resources for learning more about the co-op and what you can do to help as an owner.
  4. Promote the co-op to others in your life to help build ownership. Let them know why you joined, and ask them to become an owner too. Carry applications around with you, and pass them on as you are conversing with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.
  5. Contribute additional funds during capital campaigns and fundraising events.
  6. Engage on social media when new owners are announced and during owner drives.

While everyone has their individual reasons for volunteering, there are many different physical, mental, career and social benefits that can be achieved through volunteering. As community members, owners and volunteers, we are lifting up our co-op into what it will be when it opens, and the way that we do that now, will ensure that we have a strong, resilient, community focused food co-op from the very first day that it opens. 

SOME PERSONAL BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING INCLUDE:

  • Leadership experience
  • Volunteer experience
  • Potential for election to board of directors
  • Opportunity to make social connections and friendships
  • Résumé building experience
  • Opportunity for letters of recommendation
  • Experience building an organization from the ground up
  • Be a part of a team where your creative ideas are welcomed
  • Increased knowledge of food co-ops
  • Provide a sense of purpose, or personal challenge
  • Volunteering can also provide benefits to both mental and physical health