When it comes to “buying local,” cooperative businesses stand out. That’s because cooperatives are locally grown by everyday people who join together to solve a problem or meet a need. Did you know the co-ops in your community are owned and democratically controlled by people just like you?
Adaptable and time tested, cooperatives are everywhere and operate in every industry including agriculture, energy, financial services, food retail and distribution, health care, child care, insurance, housing, purchasing and shared services, telecommunications, and more.
While many businesses are strictly motivated by profit, cooperatives exist first and foremost to deliver quality goods and services to their members. Revenues returned to the co-op’s member-owners in the form of enhanced services or dividend checks.
Education is one of the seven principles that guide all cooperatives, so members are encouraged to actively participate in setting policies and making decisions for their co-op. From attending an annual meeting to serving on the co-op’s board of directors, people who belong to cooperatives can have a real stake in their economic destiny.
So why sit on the sidelines and be just a consumer when you can take an active role in a co-op?
Solve a problem. Participate. Join.
October is Co-op Month.
Cooperatives are Owned and Controlled by their Members
People often form cooperatives when they see a need in their community that is not being met. For example, much of rural America was electrified by cooperatives when existing utilities did not find it profitable to serve rural areas.
Telecommunications cooperatives were the first to bring broadband to Wisconsin.
Grocery cooperatives are forming in communities where for-profit stores choose not to operate.
Worker cooperatives allow member-employees to build equity and participate in the governance of their workplace.
Farmer-owned cooperatives, which handle processing and marketing for virtually every commodity, help ensure fair prices and market access for producers of all sizes.
Point out how the principles of cooperation match the values of today’s younger generations: Cooperatives are local, independent, and collaborative. They are controlled by the people, for the people, and they give back to their communities.