Working Together for Local Food: Co-operative Profiles and Resource Guide

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Canadian Co-operative Association
Adrian Egbers, Stefan Epp, Lynne Markell

Working Together for Local Food: Co-operative Profiles and Resource GuideCanada is home to a vibrant “local food movement” with initiatives in every province. Increasingly, Canadian consumers are buying and eating local food for many reasons - freshness, taste, health, the environment, local economic development, and support for local farmers. As local food continues to grow in popularity, communities are organizing ways to access sustainable and locally-grown food. These include farmers markets, community shared agriculture, box programs, local marketing groups, and retail stores. A recent study by the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) found that there are approximately 2,300 local food initiatives in Canada and twenty four umbrella organizations that promote and support these various initiatives.

Read Working Together for Local Food

The first section profiles eleven successful co-operatives that have organized to overcome aparticular challenge in the production, marketing, retailing, or processing of local food. These profiles include a co-operative farmers’ market, several producer marketing groups, two stores, a produce auction, an on-line ordering system, a food distribution and storage business, and a regional value chain.

The second section briefly describes what Canada’s retail co-ops are doing to integrate local food into their stores. It covers three federations and the independent natural food co-ops that were created in the seventies to sell organic food. Even the well established retail food co-operatives and their respective federations are playing a significant role in the marketing of local food in Canada.

The third section provides a resource guide for new and emerging co-operatives to find the information, funding, and assistance to plan and develop a local food co-operative. The guide is organized by province but also contains a national section and general tips for finding help.


1. Profiles of Co-operatives Involved in Local Food

     Coopérative La Mauve
     Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative
     Elmira Produce Auction Co-operative
     Ferme Coopérative Tourne Sol
     FoodRoots Distributors Co-operative
     Innisfail Growers Co-operative
     Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market Co-operative
     Quinte Organic Farmers Co-operative
     Really Local Harvest Co-operative
     The Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative
     Vancouver Island Heritage Foodservice Co-operative
2. Retail Co-operatives and Local Food
3. Resource Guide for Local Food Co-operatives

     National Resources
     British Columbia
     New Brunswick
     Prince Edward Island
     Nova Scotia
     Newfoundland and Labrador
     Canada’s North
     Northwest Territories
     General Tips

Research report
Case study
Food Security

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