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There is no run of the mill day for the Hamiltons. Andy Hamilton and his wife Amy work late nights and early mornings raising three children and operating the decades-old Musgrave Orchard, which they purchased 10 years ago just before it ceased production altogether. Since then, Andy said the family has operated on farm time, building their day around the needs of their 300 apple trees and 2 acre vegetable patch.
Photo: Beverly Linguai, of Bloomington, fills her CSA basket Sept. 4 at Musgrave Orchard. The summer season was Linguai’s third with the CSA. She said this is the only CSA she has participated in. Because of the quality of the food, she has had no reason to look into others. – Isaac SmithRead the Full Story
When it comes to cooking at home, choosing the right ingredients and understanding basic kitchen skills can make the difference between a good meal and an amazing one.
A new video series, Co+op Kitchen, delivers handy hints from chefs and food enthusiasts who love sharing their passion for great food. You'll also find easy recipes for delicious homemade meals.Read the Full Story
A cooperative is a business that is formed and owned by the people it serves. Bloomingfoods is a consumer co-op, meaning that it was started by the customers who shop in the store and nearly 35 years later is still owned by the people who shop in the store. Other examples of co-ops include agricultural co-ops, credit unions like IU Credit Union, housing co-ops, electric co-ops like REMC, and producer co-ops like Organic Valley. Ranging from small-scale to multi-million dollar businesses across the globe, co-operatives employ more than 100 million women and men and have more than 800 million individual members.
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Cooperatives are member-owned, member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their members according to common principles agreed upon by the international cooperative community. In co-ops, members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone. Most simply put, a cooperative is a business:
Regardless of the goods and services provided, co-ops aim to meet their members' needs.
Most grocery store co-ops are consumer cooperatives, which means that they are owned by the people who shop at the stores. Members exercise their ownership by patronizing the store and voting in elections. The members elect a board of directors to hire, guide and evaluate the general manager who runs day to day operations.
All co-ops contain the following elements:
Consumer cooperatives are very different from privately owned "discount clubs," which charge annual fees in exchange for a discount on purchases. The "club" is not owned or governed by the members and the profits of the business go to the investors, not to members. In a cooperative, the members own the business and the profits belong to the community of members.
The specific goals of a cooperative are determined by its members, but all cooperatives adhere to the principles of cooperation that are based on practices of the first successful consumer cooperative, The Rochdale Pioneers Equitable Society , in Rochdale, England (founded in 1844). There are consumer, producer co-ops (usually agricultural) and worker-owned cooperatives. There are also housing co-ops, health care co-ops (the original HMOs were co-ops) and financial co-ops (credit unions). The overall goal of the cooperative movement is to create organizations that serve the needs of the people who use them. Cooperative businesses provide goods and services in a way that keeps community resources in the community.
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