Read The Mix
What is a co-op?
From the outside, many food co-ops look like any grocery store. However, it's what goes on behind the scenes that makes co-ops different.
Co-ops exist to serve their members, which are also the co-op’s owners. So, in addition to getting the food, wellness and home care products you need, you also have a say in the business decisions your co-op makes.
Rather than rewarding outside investors with profits, co-ops return surplus revenue to their members in proportion to their purchases made. This democratic approach to business results in a powerful economic force that benefits the co-op, its members and the communities it serves.
Why Co-ops Matter
Cooperation is defined as working together towards the same end, and joining forces to accomplish a task that can't be achieved alone. Co-ops provide the framework that allows people to get what they want in a way that better meets their economic, social and cultural needs.
Because cooperation builds strong bonds between the people who use products and the people who supply them, co-ops give you the opportunity to get the products and services you need while strengthening the community around you.
In addition to a co-op's commitment to serving its members, most adhere to a set of seven principles to help guide the business. And as a result, many co-ops set a standard for the surrounding business community with a commitment to environmental and social responsibility.
Co-ops are based on the values of self-responsibility, democracy, equality, honesty and social responsibility.
In addition, seven basic principles serve as guidelines to provide a democratic structure for co-ops around the world. While adoption of these principles is not required, most co-ops opt to adopt them for their business.
The seven principles are:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
Reasons to Join a Co-op
You'll find many reasons to join a co-op, including:
- Access to fresh, great-tasting local and organic food and wellness products.
- The ability to be heard. Your co-op truly cares what you think.
- Becoming part of a values-based organization that puts people ahead of profit.
- Sharing in the financial success of the organization.
- Contributing to a thriving local economy.
- Investing in a locally owned, democratically controlled business.
- Helping to change the way business is conducted here and around the world.