News & Views

Cooperative Training Assistance Program: the City of Minneapolis will be sponsoring a training program for start-up co-ops intending to operate in the city. The class meets one night a week for eight weeks, starting in April or May.

Contact Kevin Edberg at CDS by emailing or calling 651-265-3678.

Senior Cooperative Housing Conference
Co-op Living: Moving into the Future 
DoubleTree Bloomington—Minneapolis South, Minneapolis, Minn. May 1–2, 2017
Hosted by Cooperative Network and the Senior Cooperative Foundation

Registration is now open for the Senior Cooperative Housing Conference


The USDA Rural Development Agency offers Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) to qualified agricultural producers on a competitive basis. The grants support ag producers who capture and retain added-value for their products, for example, raising livestock and processing the meat, or growing apples and making cider. The purpose of the VAPG is to stimulate ag producer-owned business to create jobs and enhance rural economies.

Pastures A Plenty in Kerkhoven, Minnesota has been a family-owned farm since 1952 when they started growing soybeans and other grains.  As part of the family farm’s second-generation, Jim VanDerPol began raising pastured hogs in 1977. By the 1990s Pastures A Plenty was primarily a livestock operation, and in addition to hogs they had added chickens and cattle.

As our name implies, the work of CDS involves “developing cooperatives.” So it’s likely no surprise that our clients are existing cooperatives that seek to expand, diversify, or improve in some aspect of their operations or governance. We also help groups that want to form new cooperatives. In fiscal year 2016, CDS provided organizational or business development assistance 102 existing co-ops and 27 start-up groups. It was a busy year!

Small And Strong 2016 conference, November 12, 2016, for small food co-ops and start-ups, with registration starting at 8:15 a.m. at Normandale Community College in Bloomington MN.  The conference will again include tracks for boards and staff of existing co-ops (with sales under $3 million), and a special track for start-ups offered by Food Co-op Initiative.