Food Co-ops in Bristol

A previous conferenceLast week I went along to the food co-ops networking event at the Southville Centre in Bristol. It was a useful event and very inspiring and informative to meet people from so many other co-ops, as well as attend some useful workshops: the two I went to were Good meetings and communication and Starting and developing a food co-op, while there were also ones on funding and Simply Legal available.

There was some time for networking, as well as a relaxed end to the day which let me catch up with a few more people. I would have preferred a little more time for the workshops and a little less on case studies (every food co-op is different and I don’t think any of the featured ones were quite what I was looking for), but that’s a very minor thing and didn’t really reduce the usefulness of the whole day.

Our co-op is a tech worker co-op and not a food co-op, so I didn’t know that much about how to start one before the event. Now I’ve got a much better idea of what I need to do when I eventually move back out to what may be a co-op desert in King’s Lynn.

Are you a member of a food co-op or buying group? If so, what would you say about it? Were you involved in its start-up?

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4 Responses to Food Co-ops in Bristol

  1. Brian Titley says:

    Really wanted to be there. Unfortunately, I was a bit too ill and contagious to go along.

    My concern is that the funding for the Making Local Food Work project is finishing. So, who is going to support food co-ops in their start up stages now?

    I was keen to go along to point people in the direction of Co-op Development Bodies in the South West. However, there may actually be plans in place to support start up food co-op groups. Could anyone who was there let me know any plans that were mentioned? Ta.

    Brian, Co-operative Assistance Network Limited

  2. Simon says:

    I’m a member of a housing co-op in Madison, WI that has a food co-op attached to it. I find that it works very well when attached to a housing co-op. We also let some people who are not members of the housing co-op participate in the food co-op.

  3. mjr says:

    @Brian – I don’t know who is going to support food co-ops after funding. I think the website and toolkit will be around until something like 2017 and I’ve asked about getting the toolkit released under Creative Commons, so that whoever comes later won’t have to start from zero. There was a sheet of support circulated, which we got Cooperatives-SW added to, and it also mentioned http://www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub so it wasn’t bad. I wasn’t at the Bristol-area food co-ops networking (as my food co-op won’t be in Bristol), but I’ll ask someone who was if they’d like to comment here.

    @Simon – it’s nice to have something to anchor a food co-op to. Do housing co-op members do most of the food co-op work?

  4. Brian Titley says:

    Thanks, MJ. The actions taken seem to be positive ones.

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