In order to run a food co-op there are certain items of equipment and other resources that you may need in order to get going.
This will depend on what sort of produce you want to sell, what type of outlet you are going to run, and the scale at which you are operating.
Some types of food co-ops, in particular buying clubs and certain bag schemes, are set up in such a way that they do not require any equipment to operate. This is because any produce is either ordered in whole packs or divided up by number and so does not need weighing out.
However, for all other food co-ops you will probably need a set of scales as a basic requirement. Other resources, such as a cash till, are optional if you operate on a very small scale, but if you have a lot of customers then they become more useful in order to make it quicker and easier for you to handle orders. Click here to find out more about equipment needed.
In order to purchase equipment you will also need a small pot of money (unless you are able to get items donated). It can therefore be a good idea to apply for an external grant to get started. Click here to find out more about funding.
Alternatively you could charge a membership fee to recoup some of your start up and on-going running costs. However, you need to ensure you have enough members and charge a large enough fee, for example just to cover the cost of a set of scales you would need to have around 100 members paying at least £2.50. Some food co-ops may charge much larger fees for example Park Slope food co-op in New York has a $25 non-refundable joining fee and members also have to contribute a $100 investment to the co-op.