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Grow a Grocery: A guide to starting and growing a wholefood co-operative

This guide is designed to help bring more wholefood co-operatives into the world by spreading the business model tried and tested by Unicorn Grocery Worker Co-operative in Manchester since 1996. Unicorn Grocery was established to provide an alternative to the supermarket norm. They have achieved this goal on their own premises, but say they have not fulfilled their purpose until people stop driving across the country to shop with them. The business model is just one of many alternatives, but they would love to see more places like Unicorn in a better food system.

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This guide is designed to help bring more wholefood co-operatives into the world by spreading the business model, tried and tested by Unicorn Grocery Worker Co-operative in Manchester since 1996. Whether starting a new food shop or expanding an existing co-operative, you may choose to follow this model completely or simply to use elements of their experience.

Written by and for food co-operatives, the authors say: "As a business, Unicorn has been fairly successful; as revolutionaries we still have work to do. The need for an alternative food system is as strong as ever, as a handful of companies control 80 per cent of the UK grocery market. Despite the growth of farmers’ markets, box schemes and community food enterprises, the march of the multiples continues to restrict our choices of how and where to shop. Cheap, exploitative, industrially-produced food continues to rule."

Unicorn Grocery was established to provide an alternative to the supermarket norm. They have achieved this goal on their own premises, but say they have not fulfilled their purpose until people stop driving across the country to shop with them. The business model is just one of many alternatives, but they would love to see more places like Unicorn in a better food system.

This guide was written by Unicorn Grocery, supported by the Food Co-ops and Buying Groups strand of the Big Lottery funded Making Local Food Work programme. The work on food co-ops was coordinated by Sustain. Find out more at www.foodcoops.org

Unicorn Grocery


Report contents

Introduction

Who we are

Background

1. People

  • Skills
  • Employment opportunities

2 Planning

  • Timescale
  • The market

3 Produce

  • What we sell
  • Product range
  • Sourcing

4 Premises

  • Choosing your neighbourhood
  • Finding a site
  • Leasing
  • Planning permission

5 Practical resources

  • Fitting out and equipment
  • Environmental footprint
  • Risk management

6 Procedures and pricing

  • Trading
  • Pricing
  • Veg
  • Packing

7 Promotion and publicity

  • Education and marketing

8 Policies and principles

  • Principles of purpose
  • Registering a worker co-operative
  • Why a worker co-operative?
  • Governance and co-operative structure

9 Permits and licences

10 Progress

  • Personnel
  • Recruitment
  • Training

Conclusion

Sustain annual conference - 8 December

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Grow a Grocery: A guide to starting and growing a wholefood co-operative
48pp - 2010 | 1700Kb

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Published 8 Aug 2010

Food Co-ops: Building community wealth, supporting the planet and championing farmers.

48pp - 2010
1700Kb

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Event

Sustain annual conference - 8 December

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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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