Working with partners at Mountain State Justice, The West Virginia College of Law and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, we are developing a toolkit that will be designed for people who are exploring the co-op model, empowering them with the knowledge they need to create a new cooperative venture successfully. The toolkit is being designed around this overview:
So What’s So Great About a Co-op?
The Iowa Local Food Organizational Toolkit: Structure, Management and Finance from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is a set of new publications now available for those looking for a thorough treatment of how to start and manage a local foods organization in Iowa. Although some of the information is specific to Iowa, the toolkit can be applied to many different types of local food organizations in any state.
Divided into three publications, the toolkit series begins with Part One: Defining Your Organization’s Focus and Leadership (LF0008A) which lends guidance on how to establish a mission, build a board of directors and plan for staffing. Part Two: Organizational Structure (LF0008B) lays out how to legally structure a local foods organization, including guidance on how to choose between nonprofit, for-profit or cooperative structures. Part Three: Funding Your Local Food Organization (LF0008C) provides information on many options for funding a local organization, from membership fees and campaigns to events, sponsorships, grants and more, with an emphasis on budgeting.
Each publication can be read independently, but reviewing all three toolkit parts together will provide a complete look at setting up a local foods organization. Full of resources, templates, easy to read tables and helpful tools, this toolkit series is a helpful springboard to take each idea from concept to action.
The last two years have seen new developments in farm-to-school programs, agricultural education,
food access programs, policy support for farm businesses, and business support for food enterprises. The public is more aware of the role of food and agriculture in West Virginia’s economy, and farm-to-table endeavors are receiving more media
attention, as well as more fiscal support.