What is a food co-op?

A food co-op is a grocery store that’s owned by the community in which it operates. Member-owners get to decide what foods and products are stocked on the shelves, where those items are purchased and what quality standards both products and vendors have to meet.

Member Ownership

Co-op members democratically control the direction of the grocery store. So, in addition to purchasing shopping at the co-op, members also have a say in the business decisions the co-op makes.

Rather than rewarding outside investors with its profits, a co-op returns surplus revenue to its members in proportion to how much they use the co-op. This democratic approach results in a powerful economic force that benefits the co-op, its members, and the community it serves.

Co-operative Principles

Co-ops are all about working together — cooperating. The following seven basic principles provide a democratic structure for co-ops around the world to do just that.

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Member economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training and information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community