This October, one billion cooperators around the globe will celebrate all the ways cooperative enterprise builds a better world. There are 30,000 co-ops in the United States, with 1 in 4 Americans holding co-op memberships. In nearly every part of the economy, people have joined together to do business more effectively, or to get the products and services they need – from food to banking to childcare – through cooperatives.
Last year the United Nations designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. The U.N.’s next step is an ambitious vision to elevate cooperatives in the hearts of minds of people all over the world. This 2020 Vision imagines a world where co-ops are:
• The acknowledged leaders in economic, social and environmental sustainability
• The model preferred by people
• The fastest growing form of enterprise
The food co-op sector shows evidence that the International Year successfully got the word out about the co-op advantage. A record number of food co-op start-ups are in various stages of development nationwide. Oregon has quite a few just forming, about to open or newly opened. Of course the closest to us is Medford Food Co-op.
What can you do to help the cooperative sector reach the goals of the 2020 Vision? Step one is to increase your participation in cooperation. This makes co-ops more engaging, more productive and more relevant in our modern world. Cooperatives are where we learn how to participate in democratic decision-making at the grassroots level. We want to hear from you so we can make better business decisions and create a stronger community.