Training & Education


NCF sponsors the Traveling Cooperative Institute (TCI), a series of cooperative education and development workshops aimed at youth and young adults. The TCI’s goal is to instill a culture of cooperation that motivates young people to civic engagement, help combat high unemployment, sustain community assets owned by retiring business owners, and slow both the exodus of young people from rural communities and the decreasing ownership stake young producers have in America’s rural areas.

TCI created three different cooperative development curricula with focuses on Entrepreneurship (community organizing, business planning), Intrapreneurship (training for young people working within existing cooperatives), and Conversion (consultations for Baby Boomer business owners who are interested in converting to employee ownership). Custom-tailored trainings are also available upon request

The 2016 program focuses on providing consultation for cooperative development projects that evolve from previous consulting and education sessions. Additionally, we support those trainees who have completed the Train the Trainer program and are interested in bringing cooperative culture and education to their home communities.

Small and Strong Initiative

customized Support for small food coops

There are a number of small and startup food cooperatives in the Upper Midwest that, because of their size, do not qualify for membership in National Cooperative Grocers (NCG), and thus do not have access to regular training or peer support. NCF is partnering with Cooperative Development Services (CDS), Shared Capital (formerly NCDF), the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, and the Food Co-op Initiative to provide training and support to board members and staff of these small and startup co-ops.

 The partners’ first collaborative event was the Small and Strong conference in November 2015, which offered board members and staff a chance to acquire new governance and store operation skills, and discuss items of mutual concern.