What is a Co-op?

The co-op is a cooperative, member-owned business.  The Oshkosh Food Co-op will be a not-for-profit membership organization that connects local residents with real food, emphasizing natural, organic and locally sourced food.  In other words, a community-owned grocery store.

A food co-op looks and offers products like any other grocery store, but it is owned by the people who shop there.  Because the co-op is owned by people who share your interests and values, the co-op can source food locally and emphasize natural and organic food.

In case of Oshkosh, a group of individuals shared a vision for a grocery store that was highly involved with servicing the communities food needs and offered healthier options.  They agreed that a cooperative business model made sense and began monthly to bi-monthly meetings to get it started.

7 Co-op Principles:

Cooperatives operate according to seven basic principles. Six were drafted by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in 1966, based on guidelines written by the founders of the modern cooperative movement in England in 1844. In 1995, the ICA restated, expanded and adopted the 1966 principles to guide cooperative organizations into the 21st Century.

Voluntary, Open Membership: Open to all without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.

Democratic Member Control: One member, one vote.

Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. The economic benefits of a cooperative operation are returned to the members, reinvested in the co-op, or used to provide member services.

Autonomy And Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.

Education, Training And Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for members so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international structures.

Concern For The Community: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.