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Milestones for Food Shed

Food Shed Co-op gains momentum with several recent milestones.

Food Shed Co-op, which recently celebrated its two-year anniversary (video), is making major progress in opening McHenry County’s first community-owned grocery store.

In April, it hit the 500 owners needed to enter the location search stage. A market study narrowed it down to Crystal Lake or Woodstock.

This month, it received a $10,000 grant and consulting assistance from the Food Co-op Initiative (FCI), a national non-profit organization devoted to helping food co-ops. 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. The Food Shed Co-op was one of 12 awarded out of hundreds of applicants.

“The public interest in food co-ops is at an all-time high,” FCI Executive Director Stuart Reid said. “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.”

In addition to the grant, the Food Shed Co-op is receiving support from the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. “From the start, the Food Shed organizing team has been a joy to work with and support,” Cooperative Development Specialist Courtney Berner said. “They have strong leaders, committed volunteers, and a compelling vision, which has helped propel them down the development path at an impressive speed.”

About Food Shed Co-op

The Food Shed is a group of volunteers in McHenry County working hard to open a cooperative grocery store. Its mission is to build a local food cooperative promoting a healthy, ethical and resilient community. Core values include the following:

  • Promote and foster better food choices.
  • Cultivate and strengthen our local economy.
  • Inspire and empower community.
  • Champion environmentally responsible practices.

Ownership is a one-time investment of $200 and provides the capital and support necessary to move forward with plans and secure a location for the community-owned grocery store. Owner benefits include sharing in the store profits and having an equal vote amongst all owners in cooperative affairs. Learn more about ownership here.

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