A cooperative is usually described as a business that belongs to the people who use it—people who have organized to provide themselves with the goods and services they need. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, food co-ops emerged as a popular way to provide food at reasonable prices. In the 1970s, when Ashland Food Co-op was born, a great number of communities responded to the need for safe, whole food by working together to form “food conspiracies.” Today, Medford Food Co-op is part of a new generation of cooperation. Regardless of when a co-op has been formed, what remains at the heart of co-ops is participation.
The participation of co-op owners is the steady beat that regulates the health of all cooperative enterprise. Healthy co-ops have high rates of owner engagement. Engaged owners participate in co-op activities. They attend events and board meetings, fill out suggestion forms, and inform others about the benefits of co-op ownership. They volunteer for the co-op. Participation can become a transformative experience!
How can participation be transformative? Your co-op is more than just a place to buy food. In the bigger picture, the co-op supports the entire community. Co-ops inform, educate and lead communities in finding more healthy ways to be nourished.
This year Ashland Food Co-op has put out the call for your participation. We ask that you engage with your co-op in a different way, not just as a patron, but also as a good citizen. Find ways to recognize the deeper meaning of cooperation and democracy. We’ve got lots of fun and enriching ways for you have a more active relationship with AFC. Participate, because YOU are the Co-op!