I was attending my granddaughter’s high school graduation party, and someone asked me, “What is a co-op?” At first, I was taken aback. In my world, everyone knows about co-ops. I appreciated the sincerity of the question and the opportunity to explain.
In previous years, I volunteered with the Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development to Turkmenistan and Guinea. Group participants would always ask me in our meetings to share about the values and mission of a co-op. This month, I would like to remind you of the seven principles that guide your co-op and are the foundation of our business model.
• Co-ops have open and voluntary membership available to all.
• We are democratic organizations controlled by our members.
• Members contribute and democratically control the capital of the co-op.
• Co-ops are self-help organizations controlled by their consumer-members.
• Education and training help consumer-members and elected representatives contribute to the co-op.
• Co-ops cooperate with each other to achieve more together.
• Co-ops express concern for community and work for sustainable development through policies supported by the membership.
Living in a military community, I meet many members who do not know what the co-op contributes. Don’t miss an opportunity to share your co-op story and what it means to you.