Running a food co-op requires many different skills. To help build these skills in your team, you may wish to arrange training for the people involved, including volunteers, paid staff and committee members.

This will help provide information they need to enable them to carry out their roles effectively, build confidence and provide additional skills to help them develop in their personal lives and careers. Offering free training can also be an incentive to help you attract and retain volunteers and staff.  Many community projects provide training as a core part of what they do and secure funding to cover the costs.

The following are some examples of themes on which your staff and volunteers might like - or need - training:

  • What is a food co-op and why the project has been set up
  • Food safety
  • Trading standards
  • Marketing and publicity
  • Quality control
  • Customer service
  • Handling money
  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • What is sustainable food?

Case study - Healthy and sustainable food training
During 2008, training on healthy and sustainable food was piloted in Somerset and Newham as part of the Big Lottery funded Making Local Food Work programme. Feedback was very positive, with participants reporting that the training had improved their knowledge and would increase their confidence when talking to others about sustainable food. Another positive result was that all food co-ops requested copies of training materials to use in their own food co-op.


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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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