When you walk through the doors of a food co-op, you experience the hospitality of members and staff, the smells of fresh and wholesome foods, and a sense of community that you just don’t get from conventional grocery stores.
A cooperative is an enterprise that is owned and democratically controlled by its members.
Cooperatives use the one member/one vote system (not the one-vote-per-share system used by most businesses). This ensures that people, not capital, control the organization.
Co-ops empower individuals and encourage healthier and stronger communities by enabling people to pool their resources and share risks.
Co-ops are the fastest growing socio-economic movement in the world. They exist in virtually every sector of the economy including agriculture, financial services, and housing.
There are approximately 10 000 cooperatives and credit unions in Canada alone providing products and services to 18 million members!
While each co-op is unique, they are all membership-based, driven by social as well as economic concerns, and guided by 7 principles, including equality and solidarity.
Cooperative grocers play an important role in communities across the country as purveyors of local, organic and sustainable foods.
Food co-ops spend 3x more on locally-sourced products, give 3x more to charity, sell far more organics, and pay significantly better local wages & benefits.
On average, they support over 150 local farms and other producers. For every dollar spent at a food co-op, 1.6x more money is generated in the local economy!
Yet our experience of food co-ops is that they are still affordable and beautiful places to shop – because member benefits come before shareholder profits.
Check out some other co-operatively-owned retail grocery stores in Ontario:
Big Carrot (Toronto)
Karma Co-op (Toronto)
West End Food Co-op (Toronto)
Your Local Market (Stratford)
London Food Co-op (London)
Collingwood Community Food Co-op (Collingwood)
Karma Project (Penetanguishene)
Sandy Hill Food Co-op (Ottawa)
Dandelion Foods (Almonte)
The True North Community Co-operative (Thunder Bay)
All of these co-ops benefit from the experience of established co-ops and the knowledge shared through the Local Organic Food Co-op network in Ontario.