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Seven Steps to Re-energize Your Cooperative Culture

BY ADAM SCHWARTZ #166 MAY-JUNE 2013 “Culture is to an organization what water is to a fish—it is the environment that exists all around us.” If I asked you to describe the culture of your food co-op in one word, what would it be? How would you know if others in your organization feel the…

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Mission Statements

Just about every co-op I know has a mission statement. Most of these declarations of purpose were started in the early days of co-ops to give our members something to connect with and our employees an abiding sense of direction. Unfortunately these days, many co-ops have allowed their mission statements to fade into obscurity, and…

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Re-Thinking Cooperative Scholarships

During my travels around the country visiting with co-ops in all sectors in both rural and urban settings I continue to marvel at the good work being done on behalf of the members. I see this amazing business model that: Allows family farmers to do what they love through co-ops like Cabot, Organic Valley and…

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Local Before Local Was Cool

Autonomy & Independence one of the Seven Cooperative Principles that give all co-ops Guidance   Whether you travel across the country or prefer to stay close to your home town, one of the things you may be noticing is the emphasis on “Buy Local” campaigns. This is based on the simple fact that it is…

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The Co-op Nation & Your Role

There is a reason we say member not customer By Adam Schwartz   Every Co-op is connected to a network of cooperatives. You are probably thinking, “Really? How does that work?” Most co-ops are members of national, statewide or sectorial associations. We do this to keep in close contact with our ‘sister’ co-ops to keep…

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There are Seven Cooperative Principles that give all co-ops Guidance By Adam Schwartz   Cooperatives around the world operate according to the same core principles and values, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844. Cooperatives are formed based…

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Hey, What’s Your Problem?

One of the reasons co-ops are so popular in so many different industries is that they answer the question: What’s in it for me? With a solution that also serves we.

Skin in the Game

Member Economic Participation is the third cooperative principle, it reminds us of our stake in the co-op   The following is from the International Cooperative Alliance summary of the third (of seven) cooperative principles, Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital…

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Worker Co-ops All-in

Worker cooperatives are “all in,” in a manner that is unique among cooperatives. While cooperative is the business model, it is as much about workplace democracy as anything else.

Co-ops as the Vehicle

Local investing in our values By Adam Schwartz   In his most recent book, “Local Dollars, Local Sense”– How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity– Michael Shuman makes a convincing case as to how and why we need to focus on local investing.  Of course for me…

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