I’ve had this sitting in my email inbox for just over a month and finally am getting around to sharing it. Co-op Board President Alison Fritz (full disclosure: my beloved wife) emailed it with the suggestion that each of these points would be great for talking about the Co-op and co-ops in general with people that we’re trying to recruit as new members. So for all of our current members out there who are trying every day to get the Co-op to our first goal of 250 Founding Members (this link takes you to our new, easy-to-use online member-owner application!), feel free to commit these to memory as great little talking points for why a cooperative would be such a good thing to have in our neighborhood. In the near future we’re hoping to compile a similar list that is more specific to the South Philly Food Co-op itself. (I don’t want to promise that it will be a top 10 list, mostly because I don’t want to limit us to just 10!)
And please consider jumping over to Co-opoly’s site and pick up one of these really cool Top 10 Reasons Co-ops Rock posters for yourself for just a $5 suggested price. It’ll make me feel less bad for reprinting them in their entirety below. But you really should see them on the poster… very cool looking.
So here they are.
- Cooperatives are democratic businesses and organizations, equally owned and controlled by a group of people. There are worker co-ops, consumer co-ops, producer co-ops, financial co-ops, housing co-ops, and more. In a cooperative, one member has one vote.
- Because cooperatives are democratically owned by community members, co-ops keep money (and jobs) in their communities.
- Cooperatives aren’t a far off theory. Cooperatives offer achievable and practical solutions to many economic, environmental, and social problems that can be implemented right now.
- Co-ops aren’t charity; they’re empowering means for self-help and solidarity.
- Members of cooperatives equally share the burden in hard times and equally share the benefits in good times.
- Cooperatives are more resilient in economic downturns and in impoverished communities. When other businesses may shut down or lay off workers, co-op members pull together to work out solutions.
- Cooperatives are an international movement. There are thousands upon thousands of cooperatives around the world that are making major differences locally and globally.
- Cooperatives strive to make people’s lives, communities, and economies more just, equitable, and democratic.
- There’s no one right way to do a co-op. They can be flexible to fit different community and individual needs. There are big co-ops with thousands of members, and there are small co-ops with 3 members.
- Cooperatives are viable and just alternatives for meeting our economic and social needs in contrast to corporations that exploit people and the planet.