What is a Co-op?

Many are familiar with cooperatives and yet may not know how they actually work.  Cooperatives are member-owned, member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their members according to common principles agreed upon by the international cooperative community. The International Cooperative guidelines and principles are: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. In co-ops, members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone. Most simply put, a cooperative is a business 1) voluntarily owned by the people who use it, and 2) operated for the benefit of its members.

Most food co-ops are consumer cooperatives, meaning that most retail co-ops in the U.S. are owned by the people who shop at the stores. Members exercise their ownership by patronizing the store and voting in elections. The members elect a board of directors to hire, guide and evaluate the general manager who runs day to day operations of the retail store.  The Board of Directors also determines the operating guidelines, specific benefits of membership-ownership, such as potential discounts on purchases, and oversees the operation of the co-op on behalf of its members.

International Cooperative Alliance values and principles:
Voluntary and Open Membership
Democratic Member Control
Member Economic Participation
Autonomy and independence
Education, Training and information
Concern for Community
Cooperation among Cooperatives

Currently there are many ways to be involved. Become a member-owner, share your talents and volunteer (finance, promotion, membership, product committee),  "like" us on Facebook and share your ideas, tell your family and friends and encourage them to join, participate in a fund-raiser event once scheduled.  It all makes a difference.

For more information, email or call 218-543-6565.



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