In growing the local food economy, Cooperatives are becoming the old to new structure that is uprising.
Why choose a cooperative model?
Here’s a bit of history at the end of the Civil War and the transition to peacetime economic construction cooperatives were promoted. Producer Cooperatives enjoy certain privileges that help producers to consolidate their economic standing. A cooperative became the easiest way for artisans and craftsmen to come together to support each other and be profitable. Worker and Multi-staked cooperatives are now on the rise.
How cooperatives empower people:
Cooperatives are autonomous, membership-based organizations. They are based on principles of non-discrimination and provide a range of services for their members, including market opportunities, and empower all their members – women, men and youth. They represent a unique model of socially minded enterprise. Agricultural and food cooperatives are important vehicles for reducing poverty and generating employment, and therefore contribute to socio-economic development and ultimately, support food security.
Why be a member?
- Authentic stories and tangible cooperative experiences = market distinction and customer loyalty
- Is about building community wealth
- Growing and distributing food locally and will create jobs
- Marketing channels for farmers and value-added food producers
- Ensuring that local dollars remain local
- Education and employment opportunities
- Group buying and sourcing
- Commercial Kitchen facilities
- Improve their competitiveness through collective marketing programs
- Negotiating credit and contracts
Do cooperatives make money?
Cooperatives do and can make large profits. Producer cooperatives such as Ocean Spray and Land O’Lakes are billion-dollar enterprises.
The South Bronx’s Cooperative Home Care Associates and Oakland’s Arizmendi Bakery are two examples of Worker Cooperatives that have generated millions in revenue.
The Economic Impact of Cooperatives:
On January 1, 1941, there were 26,600 producer coops with a membership of 2.6 million people. Today, according to USDA report, there are 29,284 businesses identified as cooperatives. Cooperatives are 1% of the businesses in the U.S economy. Although the number of cooperatives is quite small, these businesses contribute $3 trillion in assets, $500 billion in revenues, 2 million jobs and $25 billion in wages.
Read more details about cooperatives:
Yes, some people will say Cooperatives fail..you know what some do. It’s all about if there is a demand for a cooperative, who is coordinating it, if they get the funding for the cooperative.
What I believe is that there are many people who are starting a business because they can’t find a job they can enjoy, doesn’t pay well, the culture of an company isn’t a fit. Many of the people who are branching out on their own, need and want help and support to be profitable themselves.
I encourage you to join one that is within your industry or vertical.