Mission & Principles
To provide the community with a member owned and operated grocery store that offers a bountiful selection of natural foods and products, operates on a local first policy, and creates an educational environment that nurtures the relationship between people and the food they eat.
A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.
Guiding Principles: we…
ADOPT AND FOLLOW THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATIVE ALLIANCE’S (ICA) PUBLISHED PRINCIPLES AS FOLLOWS
VOLUNTARY AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership. without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination
DEMOCRATIC MEMBER CONTROL
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions through elected representatives. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote), and co-operatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner. Member participation in all processes and activities of the cooperative is encouraged.
MEMBER ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
EDUCATION,TRAINING, AND INFORMATION
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
COOPERATION AMONG COOPERATIVES
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members, working with other local organizations, and providing a hub for community interaction, education, and culture.
VALUE THE INDIVIDUALITY OF EACH OF OUR CONSTITUENCIES WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF CITIZEN’S CO-OP AS A WHOLE
Our cooperative has three separate yet interdependent branches, each with its own roles, responsibilities, organizational structure, and evolving relationship to the broader cooperative: the basic membership of shoppers and volunteers make up the consumer-owners; registered growers and makers of products sold in the store comprise the producer-owners; and the staff and management are the worker-owners.
Each of these entities continually work together for the greater cooperative’s Mission and Vision. Each operates under the published Guiding Principles, By-Laws, and policies approved by the Board of Directors (as defined in the by-laws). Each entity elects a representative to sit on the Board of Directors to advocate on behalf of their constituency. All member-owners of the cooperative, whether a consumer, producer, in a paid position, volunteer position, or working committee are generally encouraged to freely participate in the development of their constituency or greater cooperative.
CONDUCT BUSINESS UNDER A CONSENSUS BUILDING FRAMEWORK BASED ON RESPECT, MUTUALITY, AND COOPERATION
In all of our practices and ventures, we work towards an inclusive environment where everyone’s voice is valued. From our governance and management structure, to our relationships with growers and distributors, we pursue every action and decision with equitability and cooperation in mind.
STRENGTHEN AND SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM
Whether reaching out to and working with small regional farmers, establishing urban garden plots, cooperating with local food entrepreneurs, or working with other community organizations to enhance distribution networks or amend laws and policies, our vision is to strengthen our greater community through a diverse and resilient local food system.
EMBRACE AN ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS, SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE, AND ECONOMICALLY SUSTAINABLE CONDUCT OF BUSINESS
Commonly referred to as the ‘triple-bottom line,’ a goal of the cooperative is to weigh equally our successes regarding our financial PROFITABILITY, our impact on our PLANET, and our affect on PEOPLE and the places they live.
The cooperative must be financially viable and able to sustain in our changing economic climate. It will strive to become the economic cornerstone of the community food system. The profit generated by the cooperative is handled differently than in traditional business structures. In this framework, the ‘profit’ aspect is measured as the real economic benefit to the community it serves, namely the consumer-owners, producers-owners, and worker-owners. Profits are allocated back into the further development of the cooperative and/or redistributed equitably to the membership.
We strive to reduce our ecological footprint and positively feedback to the natural environment through our daily practices. These include sourcing products organically or responsibly grown and processed, composting of food wastes, recycling, and always looking to reduce energy consumption and waste generated in the store.
The community we serve is our sole stakeholder. The cooperative conducts business in a fair, respectful, and mutually beneficial manner toward its workers, the producers of the goods sold, and other members of the local and international community. Some of our practices include providing workers with democratic representation and striving to pay a livable wage, providing growers and producers with fair prices, sourcing products fair-trade certified, and working with underserved portions of our community through targeted initiatives and promotions.
STRIVE FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT ON ALL LEVELS
Our economic and cultural environment as well as the greater industry is always evolving. We commit to evolve and grow along side them: We continually receive feedback from our membership and our community; we engage industry resources for frequent workshops, training, and education; and we frequently self-assess and reevaluate in order to strive to do things better. We are a unique entity, constantly growing, and we aim to continually be a forerunner and example to the cooperative and natural foods industries and to our community.