A cooperative is a business that provides products and services just like any other business.  What makes a cooperative different is what goes on behind the scenes.  Co-ops exist to serve their owners (or members).  So, in addition to getting the products and services that you need, you also have a say in the decisions the business makes.

Because Just Local Food Cooperative is owned by the community and not by an individual, we can focus on our customers rather than on the profit we make from them.  This democratic approach to business creates a powerful economic benefit to the owners and community.

The overall goal of the cooperative movement is to create organizations that serve the needs of the people who use them. Cooperative businesses provide goods and services in a way that keeps community resources in the community.  Just Local Food is proud to be a member of a larger cooperative, National Co-op Grocers.  Membership in this large purchasing cooperative ensures the cooperative movement has a strong, unified voice and is able to successfully advocate for a variety of issues affecting farmers, consumers, and sound food policy.

For every $1,000 spent at a co-op, $1,600* is generated in the local economy.  Now, that’s good business!  

Cooperative Principles

Just Local Food is committed to the 7 Cooperative Principles that guide co-ops around the world. The International Cooperative Alliance developed these principles based upon one hundred years of co-op history. For more information about Cooperative Identity and Principles, visit The International Cooperative Alliance.

1. Voluntary, Open Ownership
Open to all without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.  Anyone can shop.  Anyone can join.

2. Democratic Owner Control
One owner, one vote.  Your voice will be heard.

3. Owner Economic Participation
Owners contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative.  The economic benefits of a cooperative operation are returned to the owners, reinvested in the co-op, or used to provide member services.

4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous organizations controlled by their owners.

5. Education, Training & Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for owners and staff so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives.  They inform the general public about the nature of the benefits of cooperation.

6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their owners most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international structures.

7. Concern for the Community
While focusing on owner needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their owners.


*Source:  NCG Food Impact Study.