I spend quite a bit of time in my role as Outreach Coordinator reading about and researching the cooperative business model and what other cooperatives across the country are doing.
I’ll admit that, before being hired, my knowledge about co-ops was limited. As a member of a regional credit union, I knew the basics, but there is so much more to the concept than I (and most people) realized.
Understanding how a co-op works is a key element in growing a sustainable one because no one wants to invest in or buy from something or someone that they “don’t get”. And, of course, our goal IS to develop a co-op that sustains itself and the local community. So, during 2015 we will be increasing our efforts to share information about the co-op story and benefits.
While our co-op is food-based, there are cooperative businesses in just about every industry such as utilities, art, finance, healthcare, and manufacturing – just to name a few. Each is as unique as the community they serve. But where they are similar is that they all follow seven basic principles, and that they offer many benefits for their owners, the community, and the economy. Cooperatives are in business to serve their owners and customers and not simply to make a profit.
So why does this matter? It matters because when we work together cooperatively, we all benefit.
I found the keynote presentation/video below through one of the co-op newsletters that I receive. It’s a little long, but it does a really good job explaining how a food co-op can change the economy. And, Ms. Orsi’s cartoon graphics make it fun and easy to follow.
Thanks for reading and watching. I’d love your feedback in the comments section below.
[Keynote speech by Janelle Orsi at the Berkshire Cooperative annual member meeting, November 1, 2014. Original post from:Youtube ]