How Our Co-op Works
Our co-op works the way all co-ops work: We're member-owned!
At the heart of how a co-op works is the concept of member-ownership. Simply put, a co-op is a business owned by the people who use it. This is a very different way of doing business. The co-op exists to serve its members, rather than to return profits to a single individual or small group of outside investors. If you're a co-op member, in addition to getting the products you need, you also have a say in your co-op's direction and business decisions.
More than 800 million people around the world belong to cooperatives, and 100 million people worldwide work for co-ops. Thriving co-ops build strong, robust local economies. To quote the late Sid Pobihushchy, a visionary cooperative thinker and activist, "Community good and individual good is linked. Cooperation is the ideal state of society.”
The Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society (Co-op) is central to a well-nourished community that:
- Has food and product access for all community members based on their needs and wants, including foods and products that are:
Sourced or produced:
- By businesses owned by underrepresented populations
- By businesses that value the well being of their employees
- Has access to services that support all community members based on their needs, including transportation needs.
- Participates in a vibrant cooperative ecosystem.
Co-op Governance Policies Manual
View our manual HERE. This manual is continuously being updated.
Please email AprilHarkness [at] coopfoodstore.com (April Harkness) to ensure this is the latest version or for any questions related to the Board of Directors and Policy Governance.
7 Cooperative Principles
The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.
1. Voluntary & Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative.
4. Autonomy & Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
5. Education, Training & Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives.
6. Co-operation Among Co-operatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Learn more about our bylaws .