Cooperation is what working together looks like all grown up
A cooperative exists to serve its members. What makes a co-op unique is that the members are also the owners. So, in addition to getting the products and services you need, you also have a say in the business your cooperative makes.
Co-ops can be:
- Housing cooperatives
- Farm cooperatives
- Credit unions
- Food cooperatives
- Power cooperatives
- Insurance cooperatives ….
There Are Seven Cooperative Principles
- Membership is open and voluntary (you do not have to be a member to shop at the store)
- Cooperatives are democratically controlled by their members. One member, one vote.
- Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative (everyone puts in the same amount of money and each person’s vote counts)
- Cooperatives are autonomous (self governing)
- Cooperatives provide education and training to members and to the public
- Cooperatives collaborate with cooperatives
- Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities
Becoming a member of a cooperative business is an investment. However, a cooperative investment differs in several key ways.
- Members own the business they invest in
- Members participate in the democratic control of the business. Every member has one vote and all votes count equally
- Members receive a patronage dividend – a share of the co-op’s surplus revenue divided in proportion to how much they shop at the co-op
- Reduced risk: your investment does not inflate or depreciate
- You can pay for your membership over time
- Refund: if you decide to leave the co-op, your money will be returned to you