Join us! Be an active part of a rapidly growing network of student-run cooperatives that are changing the way we eat and work!
Cooperative Principle #5 “Education, Training, and Information” - CoFED offers Cooperative Development Services
Students are capable of anything they set their mind to! However if a student team ever wants more guidance through our resources or ongoing support through challenges or major steps, their Regional Organizer is only a phone call away and can even visit your team to meet or give a workshop. Creating an Action Plan with your RO can also generate a clear view of how your team intends to make progress with CoFED’s support so that they know what services and resources to develop and how to deliver them appropriately. Our consulting services provides the education, training, and information to start a cooperative venture or to improve an already thriving enterprise.
Cooperative Principle #6 “Cooperation Among Cooperatives” - CoFED Facilitates a Solidarity Network
CoFED unites people who believe in a better future through cooperatives, sustainable food and agriculture, and youth empowerment. Becoming a member of CoFED means participating in a network of students, mentors, and CoFED staff that are actively sharing ideas, learning lessons, and forming powerful relationships to make this movement thrive. These cooperative enterprises not only add value in tasty nutritious food, but also in the relationships that connect us within our communities and with other cooperatives. Here are some of the network benefits CoFED offers:
- Provide direct support and coaching on the challenges that students face in their projects
- Organize regional solidarity networks to foster peer to peer learning, allowing students to act as learners and teachers (e.g. convergences, coop tours, peer-mentoring calls, webinar skillshares!)
- Activate a strong roster of mentors to provide students with technical assistance
- curating our Resource Portal with example business plans, market research surveys, advertising campaigns, budgets, and more to allow students to build on each others' good work
- Access to CoFED guides like “How to Start a Food Coop” and “How to Operate a Food Coop,” as well as other helpful video tutorials.
- Access to powerful publicity and outreach through our national communications platforms: online social media, newsletter, email blasts, etc. And assistance with strategic communications and branding to grow your cooperative presence in your community.
- Facilitated networking and communication as directed by the teams: blog, shared event calendar, listserv, conference calls, regional newsletters, etc.
- Access to student team directory and profiles through the Teams area on CoFED’s website.
- Participation in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring your Regional Organizer with administrative staffs’ support.
- Nominate, vote, and/or serve as a student representative member on CoFED’s Board of Directors.
- Earn academic credit by interning with CoFED and/or working on your coops’ projects.
Member Fees and Commitments
In return for the membership benefits listed above, an annual membership fee will be negotiated between student teams and their Regional Organizer, based on a sliding scale of $100-$500, based on their ability to pay and enthusiasm to pledge to the movement. Fundraising or grant writing may be necessary to pay the fee your team decides on, and CoFED can support co-ops to joint fundraise for member dues.
What does your money go to?
Because the fees that we are asking for do not represent the true value of the services offered, becoming a member is a symbolic contribution that represents your buy-in to the work we do for the teams we work with, for facilitating regional networks of students and mentors, and for building a national movement of young cooperators! Here’s what your dollars contribute to:
- Regional Budgets. We want your money to stay local! Mostly, this money will fund regional events, and help ROs travel to visits teams and conduct workshops and trainings across the region.
- Regional Organizer Salaries. There aren’t many opportunities for young people to get paid for this kind of work. We want to provide as close to a livable wage to young professionals doing this work as we possibly can! Regional Organizers come from the region and often stay in the region after they have received professional development as a worker in CoFED to further cooperation in the region.
- Resource Development. Having a large membership base helps us leverage larger grants in order to develop resources and tools on a national level, which in turn help all of us build our personal skills and our coops’ capacity and success!
What's next? Sign up for membership!