What Do You Recommend We Do to Formalize our Group?

Dear FMNS,

Our Farmers Market is in its fifth year, but the group has never organized itself into anything formal. We’re a group of people who get together to put on a farmers market, and have a steering committee, but we’re not a co-op, corporation, or society.

Sincerely,

Community Market

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Dear Community Market,

FMNS is a Cooperative and we encourage our members to become cooperatives too for the following reasons:
1) It’s very simple to do and more affordable than other options.
2) The co-op council can provide you with sample bylaw documents and offer guidance when getting started and if you want to make changes down the road.
3) It makes everyone feel included

If you aren’t sure whether to become a for or non-profit co-operative, your safest option is to become a for-profit, because you can change your status to a non-profit later (but you cannot change it in the other direction!)

When deciding how many members there should be on your board of directors, choose a number that is representative but also workable. 7-9 is typically a good number, though 5 member boards can also work well. Ideally your board should contain a broad cross section of skills; from accounting, to legal, to marketing to leadership. You may need to include members of the wider community to achieve this for example, members, vendors, customers, market supporters, investors, municipal or partner organization representatives. By opening up the board membership to a wider base you not only broaden the pool to select from, but you also raise the profile of your market in the community.

For more support and guidance on how to become a cooperative please contact Fred Pierce of the Co-op Council fred@nsco-opcouncil.ca. He is a tremendous resource.