CoFED inspiregizes future food co-op leaders across North America. We support students with training and tools, and connect them with peers, mentors, and allies in a solidarity network.

Tools & Resources

Struggling to hold an effective meeting? Striving for radical inclusion in your food business? Feeling anxious about finishing your business plan or talking to administrators?

Regional Organizers serve their regions as trainers and facilitators of a bottom-up solidarity network of student teams. They support and connect cooperatively-run food projects throughout their region by conducting events and providing on-going support to help students make progress towards their goals. Their pedagogy is based in Coop-to-Coop exchanges like coop tours, peer-mentoring calls, and skill sharing events. Here are some of the kinds of workshops they can offer:

For those dreaming up a coop. Starting a cooperative enterprise requires organizing, planning, and fundraising.

  • Group Visioning and Planning. When you’re just starting out, it’s sometimes hard to know what first step to take. We can help facilitate your group to find a common vision and harness the energy into a plan to make progress and real change on your campus. Your creativity has no bounds, but we can also offer guidance by sharing best practices and the histories of other cooperatives in the CoFED network.
  • Cooperative Education as a Means to build a Team and Community. What exactly is a coop and why is your team interested in starting one? How do you communicate the nature and benefits of a cooperative to your community? We can help paint the picture of how your efforts weave into a long history of struggle for a more cooperative world. You’ll leave feeling inspired and excited to cooperate and work as a team.
  • Working with College Administration and Corporate Food Service Provider. Who are your allies and what are the roadblocks to your organizing on campus? We can show you the power of “power mapping” your college administration and help problem solve how to get around roadblocks like corporate food service providers.

For those wanting to strengthen their coop. Improving a cooperative enterprise requires analyzing your governance, operations, finances, etc.

  • Radical Cooperative Organizational Development. Creating a good foundation for your organization is necessary if you want it to function well for all those involved. All organizations need to think about systems of accountability, organizational structure, internal communication, and institutional memory. We can help you develop radical practices, procedures, and policies around these issues to make your organization happy and healthy.
  • Menu Planning & Sourcing. Are you ready to really go local? Are you having trouble keeping steady inventory? Is your weekly soup not as enticing as you would hope? Our staff have worked in the restaurant biz and understand how to serve the kind of food you want in your price range. We have done sourcing research for teams in order to connect them to new producers, distributors, and experts who have a pulse on food in their region.
  • Keeping Out of the Red: Budgeting & Pricing. Nothing is worse than when you love your workplace but can’t seem to make it financially sustainable. We can help you design systems to manage your money and keep out of the red.

And if we have exhausted the knowledge of the student network and workers at CoFED, then we turn to our Regional Mentor Networks for help. Our regional mentor networks are made up of your friendly cooperative development and food business professionals. When it comes to signing leases, creating bylaws, incorporating, and doing financial projections, some expert help can be a lifesaver. These experts are committed to fielding questions from CoFED member teams. Thank you, mentors! To learn more about these folks in your region, visit your region's page