Why a Co-op?

Check out this video on the history of cooperatives:

Cooperatives are member-owned and governed enterprises formed and operated for the benefit of their members and community. These are the seven common principles of cooperatives as outlined by the International Cooperative Alliance:

  • Voluntary and Open Membership
  • Democratic Member Control
  • Member Economic Participation
  • Autonomy and Independence
  • Education, Training & Information
  • Cooperation among Cooperatives
  • Concern for Community

Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

In co-ops, members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone. Members exercise their ownership by shopping through the Co-op and voting in elections. The members elect a board of directors to hire, guide and evaluate the management team who run day-to-day operations.

Cooperative enterprises provide goods and services that keep community resources local. Co-ops return on average 60-70% of every dollar back into the community (as opposed to the 20% average returned by corporate-owned grocery stores). Every $1 spent in a co-op results in about $2-4 spent in our community. Local ownership and community participation increase our solidarity and food security.

Cooperatives put people at the heart of their operations. Because cooperatives are owned and democratically-controlled by their owners, decisions made by cooperatives balance the need for profitability with the needs of their member-owners and the wider interests of the community.

Co-ops help farmers. By fostering close working relationships with local farms and food producers, co-ops can provide the best selection of local products at fair prices. Moreover, co-ops give
more of each dollar to the farmer than a traditional retail food store. A recent USDA report reports that in privately owned grocery stores only 11.6% of every dollar spent on food goes to the farmer. Co-ops can make a big difference for small local farms because they send an average of 54% of each dollar spent on produce back to the farm.

To Learn more about co-ops, visit:

The International Co-op Alliance: http://www.ica.coop/al-ica/
The California Center for Cooperative Development:
The Food Co-op Initiative: http://www.foodcoopinitiative.coop/