There was an interesting startup in Austin, TX, using IndieGogo last month to get a natural foods store off the ground as the first zero waste grocery store. It’s a brilliant style of business that an aspiring eco-entrepreneur, or perhaps more fittingly, a team of aspiring eco-entrepreneurs, might consider.
A natural foods co-operative is a grocery store specializing in whole, healthy foods, and is organized business-wise as a co-operative. Many times these co-operatives are worker owned, but many times community members are owners of their local food co-op as well. Natural foods co-ops tend to specialize in organic, local, seasonal, and high quality produce, sustainably farmed meats and dairy products, free-range chicken and eggs, and locally crafted wholesale products like hummus, salsa, and syrups.
Forming a co-operative business requires several people to organize around a central principle of shared resources and ownership. There are good resources available to help you start a co-operative, such as this one from the USDA…though there are many others online.
A knowledge of the food industry, retailing, wholesale management, and inventory of perishable goods will be good for anyone interested in starting a worker owned co-op. Aside from management, the work itself is strenuous and requires that workers be able to be on their feet for extended periods of time, and be able to lift up to 25 pounds.
So if you have several people, preferably some who come with more money and some who come with more time (makes a nice balance and team atmosphere), who are interested in being partners on a business that can really change the local food landscape, then what are you waiting for?
Not quite right for you? That’s ok, check out the rest of our “Start a Green Business” Series on GreenBusinessOwner.com!
Photo courtesy Glenn Gould on Flickr Creative Commons
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