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.
Cooperative DefinedHow It Work - Cooperative Business
Cooperative PrinciplesThe co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.
1st Principle: Voluntary and Open MembershipCo-operatives 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.
2nd Principle: Democratic Member ControlCo-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. 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.
3rd Principle: Member Economic ParticipationMembers contribute equitably to, and democratically control the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. 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 co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, at least part of which would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4th Principle: Autonomy and IndependenceCo-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If a co-op enters into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, it does so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
5th Principle: Education, Training and InformationCo-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public — particularly young people and opinion leaders — about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operativesCo-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7th Principle: Concern for CommunityCo-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Cooperative PrinciplesHow It Work - Cooperative Business
Cooperatives vs. Corporations
What's the difference?
A cooperative is democratically controlled by people.
Each member has an equal vote in the future of the organization no matter the differences in money invested, time involved or associations. Cooperatives are a sort of publicly owned and controlled utility.
Operating on a triple bottom line approach to business, Homegrown Co-op is committed to not just serving our members through profits, but also supporting local family farms, while making sure Central Florida residents have access to the healthy foods, while protecting the local environment and human rights locally and abroad.
A corporation is dictatorially controlled by money.
The shareholder with the most money/shares invested dominates the decision making. If a single shareholder owns 51% or more of the company's share, this person controls the entire organization with their single vote.
For profit corporations in the US, especially publicly traded companies like Whole Foods, have a legally binding Fiduciary Duty to always make decisions that will lead to ever increasing profits back into the pockets of the shareholders.
Cooperatives vs. CorporationsHow It Work - Cooperative Business
Consumer Cooperatives vs. Producer Cooperatives
Homegrown Local Food Cooperative is a Florida Producer's Cooperative with the mission to support the production, promotion and distribution of locally grown, organic foods throughout Florida. With the goal to empower a strong local food economy, we have developed a unique hybrid cooperative model, marrying many of the typical forms and functions of a producer cooperative with that of a typical grocery/consumer cooperative business model.
Regionally we support and represent organic farms and artisan producers located all around the State of Florida. We act on your behalf as an agricultural marketing cooperative with a Locally, here in the Orlando area, we support
consumers conscious Central Florida residents, who want access to buy their locally grown organic foods.
- Agricultural Service Cooperatives; which provide various services to their individual farm members
- Agricultural Production Cooperatives; where production resources such as land or machinery are pooled & members farm jointly.
Agricultural supply cooperatives aggregate purchases, storage, and distribution of farm inputs for their members. By taking advantage of volume discounts and utilizing other economies of scale, supply cooperatives bring down members' costs. Supply cooperatives may provide seeds, fertilizers, chemicals, fuel, and farm machinery. Some supply cooperatives also operate machinery pools that provide mechanical field services (e.g., plowing, harvesting) to their members.
Agricultural marketing cooperatives provide the services involved in moving a product from the point of production to the point of consumption. Agricultural marketing includes a series of inter-connected activities involving planning production, growing and harvesting, grading, packing, transport, storage, food processing, distribution and sale. Agricultural marketing cooperatives are often formed to promote specific commodities.
Here at Homegrown Co-op we're promoting organic family farms, so we've created a model open to the full range of agricultural producers, from a veggie farmer, to a baker, to a rancher, to a raw food kitchen, to a guy that makes cool stuff with Bamboo. If you're being productive, working land and producing food, check out all the benefits to joining Homegrown Co-op as a member-owner.
Here in the State of Florida we have a few neighbouring Grocery Cooperatives to see example of:
- Sunseed Food Cooperative of Titusville
- Citizens Cooperative of Gainesville
- New Leaf Market of Tallahassee
- Ever'man Natral Foods of Pensacola
There are also many types of consumers' cooperatives, operating in areas such as:
- Health Care Cooperatives
- Insurance Cooperatives
- Housing Cooperatives
- Utility Cooperatives
- Personal Finance Cooperatives
- Credit Unions