Photo credit to JMT Photography
ABOUT FREE RANGE FOOD CO-OP
In October 2015, a small group of community members came together to talk about the possibility of developing a food co-op in the Grand Rapids area. From the beginning, the mission at the forefront of the conversation was how to strengthen the local food system, and how to better support local growers and producers. During the process, the group has evolved from a handful of people just trying to wrap their minds around how to even begin, to an incorporated entity with hundreds of owners, and a growing organizing team.
Our food co-op is being built by the community, for the community. A volunteer board of directors and organizing team are completing the business tasks, in addition to community outreach tasks in order to raise awareness to the co-op and build ownership. FRFC is working closely with Food Co-op Intiative, which is a non-profit organization whose sole mission is to help advise, mentor and offer resources to start-up food co-ops.
We are following a development timeline that includes five stages that lay out both the critical tasks, and ownership goals that must be completed before we move on to the next stage. Because of the volunteer structure and the necessity to have community support and ownership, the development process for starting a modern co-op can take three to five years, or more.