Oshkosh Food Co-op wins National Seed Grant

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Oshkosh Food Co-op, a local community-owned grocery store planning to open in Oshkosh, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) – a national non-profit organization devoted to helping food co-ops. “The public interest in food co-ops is at an all-time high,” according to FCI Executive Director Stuart Reid. “By owning and controlling their own cooperative store, communities are able to ensure stable access to healthy food, provide meaningful jobs, and support local producers. Food co-ops can become both an economic anchor and a social hub for the community.”

Award winners were selected based on the strength of their leadership, quality of business planning, potential for successful operations, and potential impact made by the grant funds. Hundreds of food co-ops across the country applied for the grant and Oshkosh Food Co-op was one of twelve food co-ops awarded this money. Their application was the highest scored of all successful applications.

Kelly Matthews, Oshkosh Food Co-op’s board president and Founding Member, said, “This grant was awarded to the Oshkosh Food Co-op because we were identified as a promising start-up, with an excellent chance to make a positive impact on our community. It will take a lot of work still to get the doors open, but this grant will go far this year to help recruit member-owners, spread the word about our Co-op, and take the next steps in our business planning. I am so proud of the work our board has done and pleased to be able to share this news with our community.”

Oshkosh Food Co-op currently has approximately 275 Owners, recently conducted a comprehensive Market Study to evaluate several potential store locations in Oshkosh, will begin developing a Financial Pro Forma to determine costs and expenses to successfully operate a cooperative retail grocery store, and is working towards their 750 Owner goal so that they can begin lease negotiations and secure a store location.

According to Matthews says, “The more quickly we recruit members, the more quickly we can get the doors open! Becoming a member costs a one-time investment of $180 – but being a partial owner of the Co-op is priceless! That community investment goes a long way to support this project and our vision of helping build a healthier, stronger Oshkosh.”

 

About Oshkosh Food Co-op

Oshkosh Food Co-op will be a cooperatively owned and democratically operated full service grocery store dedicated to strengthening our local economy and creating a marketplace for transparently labeled, local, organic, and sustainable food. See more at: https://www.oshkoshfoodcoop.com

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About Author

Paul Van Auken

Paul Van Auken has been a member of the sociology and environmental studies faculty at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 2007, after completing a Ph.D. in sociology from UW-Madison. A native of Iowa but resident of Wisconsin since 1999, Paul conducts research on issues related to neighborhood, community, land use planning and access to public space, sustainability, and teaching and learning. He also practices public sociology, regularly writing a column called “Shortening the Distance” for Oshkosh Independent.

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