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The History of Co-operatives

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The history of co-operatives, began by The Rochdale Pioneers Society began in 1844. The idea was formed to help merchants to get their products and services recognized and sold.

Rochdale Pioneers were simple, transformed the producer/consumer relationship, this created economic and social development.

In 1895 The International Co-operative Alliance was formed. Founded with 12 countries, with today more than 200 national co-operative organization belong to the ICA. The individual memberships boast of more than 750 million people.

Why would you want to join one?

  • Shared costs
  • Economic benefits
  • Collaboration – on similar or the same issues
  • Get your products or services at a reduced costs
  • Health benefits
  • Better working conditions
  • A right to share in the surplus the Cooperative makes
  • Ownership



There are many kinds of Co-operatives..Farmers, Housing, Retail, Bakeries, Credit Unions, Service Providers, Consumers, Worker read more


A Marketing Co-ops
Are started to help producers to sell products. Initially, most were involved in marketing agricultural goods, but today this has changed to include a wide variety of products. Some examples of marketing cooperatives are Land O’Lakes, Sunkist, Blue Diamond.

Service Co-ops
As their name suggests, provide services. They are similar to the other co-ops discussed above in the sense that they also provide a wide variety of services and were initially formed to serve farmers. Credit Unions, Health Care providers are just some examples of service co-ops.

Worker Coops
The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives is a national grassroots membership organization of and for worker cooperatives, democratic workplaces, and organizations that support the growth and development of worker cooperatives. They were founded in 2004, the result of several years of organizing on the part of worker cooperatives and regional groups from around the country. They provide support to our members and educational outreach to the public through conferences and events, resource referrals, and networking and training opportunities. Check out the various sections of our site to connect to resources and see what’s happening in the dynamic and growing world of worker cooperatives!

Resources for Co-operations:
There are many, many resources that can help you get started, just Google it.
Food-Coop resources

Creating a budget – a video

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