Membership Is Ownership: The Cooperative Advantage | Co-op Grocer Network
Interest in food cooperatives is growing, due both to increased interest in local, natural, and organic foods and to increased awareness of our economic vulnerability. More and more communities want the stability and accountability that a cooperative can offer.
Cooperative ownership is an economic model that can create great benefits for our communities and member-owners. The cooperative model is powerful if we focus proper attention on the owner side of that compound word, “member-owners.”
Typically, members pay fees or dues and get something, such as purchase discounts, in exchange. Owners invest and benefit if the business prospers. Cooperatives must create economic linkages with their member-owners by undertaking activities that make clear the close connection between the prosperity of the co-op and the prosperity of the member.
For cooperatives, owner equity and patronage refunds are tried and true tools that create and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship between the cooperative and its owners.