• 09/11/12
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At our AGM, we will have a workshop will be on how to set up a food co-op This wil be led by Will from the fantastic New Leaf Co-op, a recently opened workers co-op that has opened in Edinburgh.

“We want to see a world based on equality and co-operation, where people give according to their ability and receive according to their needs, where work is fullfilling and useful and creativity is encouraged, where decision making is open to everyone with no hierarchies, where the environment is valued and respected in its own right rather than exploited.” – from the Radical Routes website

Want to take on the supermarket giants? Their profits are already falling, but the way to really take them on is to set up your own food distribution network. Here’s a list of useful links to inspiring networks and sources of funding.

Cooperatives UK

“Co-operatives UK is the national trade body that campaigns for co-operation and works to promote, develop and unite co-operative enterprises.” They have a comprehensive, easy to read online guide on starting up a co-operative business.

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub


“Supports businesses to do business the co-operative way. We offer free, professional advice and training to help your co-operative get off the ground or grow.” You can also apply for a grant of up to £5000

Edinburgh Community Food


“We are always interested in helping more people get healthy. If you have access to a venue and would like to set up a food co-op in a place of need, please get in touch by email to kmiller@edinburghcommunityfood.org.uk, or call Karen on 0131 467 7326.”

Growing Communities (Hackney) Start-up Programme.


You can apply to be one of 6 supported community box-schemes, giving access to an interest-free loan.

New Leaf Co-op


The New Leaf Co-op is a brand new vegetarian wholefood shop in Edinburgh, run as a 5-member workers’ co-op. They offer “competitive pricing, responsibly sourced ingredients and an alternative to over-packaged foods”. They build up a lot of their start-up funding from Crowdfunding and Loanstock.

The Plunkett Foundation


“The Plunkett Foundation helps rural communities through community-ownership to take control of the issues affecting them.” E.g. up to £20,000 grant and £20,000 loan for a community shop,

Radical Routes


“Radical Routes is a network of radical co-ops whose members are committed to working for positive social change. The network is made up mainly of housing co-ops of various sizes, a few workers co-ops and a couple of social centres.” They have a number of very good resources, including this guide (download here):

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Unicorn Grocery, Manchester


One of the biggest workers co-ops in the UK, with a turnover of £3.5million and 50 members. They have bought 21 acres of land which is managed by an offshoot growers’ cooperative. They also have resources you can access about how to start your own grocery, including a PDF you can download here:

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West Lothian Food and Health Development


This project has a very good guide on setting up a commnity-led co-op.

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