Alleviating Food Insecurity via Cooperative By-laws
64 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2018 Last revised: 7 Apr 2019
Date Written: October 2, 2018
Across the country, communities are establishing food cooperatives, or community groceries, as part of the solution to combating rising income inequality and food deserts. This article explains the challenges of income and wealth inequality and food deserts and how a community grocery can help alleviate the problems. This article then addresses the issues raised when drafting by-laws for a consumer and worker-owned food cooperative under the Uniform Limited Cooperative Association Act (Act). This article describes the process community groups can use to draft by-laws and explains different ways of resolving the crucial issues raised. The crucial decisions to be made include: the name, purpose, and vision of the cooperative; the classes of members and the fee structure; the relationship of the members, the board, and the management of the cooperative; and the financial structure of the cooperative. This article is the first to address drafting a provision in by-laws that provides for neutrality toward worker-owners unionizing. This article is also the first to address drafting by-laws for a consumer and worker-owned food cooperative and provides a model that law schools can utilize to involve their students in public service supporting cooperatives.
Keywords: cooperatives, food insecurity, food desert, multi-stakeholder cooperative, by-laws, Uniform Limited Cooperative Association Act
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