What is a food co-op?
A Food co-op is member-owned neighborhood grocery store that connects people with healthy food, local farmers, and their direct communities. Becoming a member in a food co-op gives you more power over your family’s food source, and helps create an awesome place to shop!
How does a Co-op work?
Members will be part-owner of the co-op through a one-share, one-vote structure, and will receive member benefits such as discounts, cash dividends, and more. As a member, the more you shop the more you save. However, anyone can shop at the co-op; even if they don’t have a membership.
Why Is This Important?
Co-ops are flourishing across the United States because our current national food system isn’t sustainable. Locally-owned Co-ops reduce carbon footprints by sourcing local foods and goods. They also provide communities with greater food security.
Co-ops contribute to the local economy and keep money local. They have happy people on staff who have a real say in how the co-op is run. Equitability equals equality and sustainability.
The Seven Co-operative Principles – from the International Cooperative Alliance
- 1. Voluntary and Open Membership
- 2. Democratic Member Control
- 3. Member Economic Participation
- 4. Autonomy and Independence
- 5. Education, Training and Information
- 6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
- 7. Concern for Community
Resources for other co-ops
Food Co-op Initiative Toolbox: includes links to many tools, workshops, and workbooks with invaluable advice to help start-up and established co-ops operate more effectively
Cooperative Grocer Network: the official alliance of food co-ops across the US. Their website includes a directory of co-ops, library of past and current co-op news articles, and the best place around to find jobs in the co-op sector
CDS Consultants Resources Page: CDS Consultants are the national experts in food co-ops. They’ve assembled a nice collection of tools, articles and other resources on their website for others to enjoy
Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities Impact Report: prepared by the National Cooperative Grocers Association, this impact report details the social and economic impacts of having a food co-op in your community
Slow Money Journal 2015: Slow Money is the investment group that believes in investing in the slow food movement and local food businesses, like our co-op. Read their 2015 Journal to learn more about their work and impact.