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.
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-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.
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community