What is a co-op?

 

Consumer cooperatives are enterprises owned by consumers and managed democratically with the goals of fulfilling the needs and aspirations of the member-owners as well as honoring an obligation to act to benefit society at large.

 

In the case of Wild Root Market, it’s what happened when a group of local individuals had a vision to create a grocery store that can be more responsive to the growing demand for local, natural, organic food produced and raised in sustainable and ethical ways.  Wisconsin is one of the leading states with regard to cooperatives: there are 26 (soon to be 27!) in Wisconsin alone!

The photos here are of two thriving Wisconsin cooperatives: Willy Street Co-op in Madison and People’s Food Co-op in La Crosse.

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7 Cooperative Principles

 

1 Voluntary and Open Membership – Anyone can shop and anyone can own a share of the co-op!

 

2 Democratic Member Control – As member-owners, we are all equal co-owners of the co-op. Each member-owner has one vote.

 

3 Member Economic Participation – By owning a membership share and shopping at the store, we contribute to the capital of the co-op. Member-owners also take part in the governance of the co-op: they democratically participate in the co-op by attending meetings, voting in elections, holding office, and joining committees. Only member-owners can run for elected board positions.

 

4 Autonomy & Independence

 

5 Education, Training, & Information – We are committed to the education, training, and provision of information to our patrons, owners, and staff to build a strong and thriving co-op and community.

 

6 Cooperation among Co-ops – We work with other local and national co-op organizations and we can rely on the expertise of one another to remain sound.

 

7 Concern for Community – Together, we’ll run this locally-owned business in accordance with our mission, as a service to one another, and for the greater good of our community.