Chicago has been something of a laboratory for the rise of the Good Food movement. Yet there has been one element of the movement that has been largely missing in Chicago: food cooperatives. Until now.
Finding sourcing for financial capital has been one of the major dilemmas that many startups (and even some better-established players) face in the fast-growing Good Food movement. Fortunately, the money gap is starting to be filled by venture capital groups that see the business potential in the Good Food movement. Chicago’s SLoFIG, an acronym for Sustainable LOcal Food Investment Group, was one of the first to see — and seize — the opportunity.
While there has long been robust interest in food co-ops in a number of communities across the United States, Chicago has lagged a bit behind. But change is under way. Over the past couple of years, there’s been an explosion of interest in retail food co-ops in the metro Chicago area, which in turn has spawned the Chicagoland Co-op Coalition.