Bloomingfoods has been a community-owned business since 1976. In 1975, a group of people got together and created a business that would have a local focus and bring them all the great food that they could not find anywhere else. We still remain dedicated to good food and good health, excellent customer service, local and regional producers, and giving back to the community we are all a part of. Food issues are central to our focus, and we want to keep folks up to date on what is happening in our community and the world. There are a lot of places out there to get information, and we look at a lot of them. It is time to share more of what we know with you.
Bloomingfoods promotes healthy, high quality, sustainable, and environmentally-sound products at a fair price. Our commitment to sustainable agriculture, artisanal producers of local products, and delicious regional foods are a few of the things that set us apart. Our purpose and mission as stated in our Bylaws, Article II, Section 2.1: As more fully stated in its Articles of Amendment, the purposes of the Co-op are: to promote and encourage interest in the local growing of food crops and to provide for the consumers of Southern Indiana locally grown, nutritious and non-chemically produced foodstuffs; to educate the community to the economic, social, and other beneficial values inherent in organizing community services, and in offering locally produced consumer goods and foodstuffs; and to help provide low cost food and consumer services to the indigent member-owners of the Co-op and to the local community as a whole whenever possible. A further mission of the Co-op is to foster a healthy and sustainable future through the development of community-based cooperative businesses. The Co-op shall at all times be operated on a cooperative basis for the mutual benefit of its owners.
Articulated by the BCS Board of Directors:
Because of BCS, people in Bloomington and South Central Indiana will have…
• A market for local, fair and healthful products, produced with care for the land, animals, and future generations.
• A democratic cooperative-ownership model that provides meaningful employment and strengthens the community.
• A robust and sustainable local food economy with fair prices for producers and all owner-members.
• Access to education on food systems, cooperative values, and the interconnectedness of food, health, and the environment.
What is a Co-op?
Cooperatives are member-owned, member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their owner-members according to common principles agreed upon by the international cooperative community. In co-ops, owner-members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone. Most simply put, a cooperative is a business:
Voluntarily owned by the people who use it
Operated for the benefit of its owner-members.
The Cooperative Values
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.
Cooperatives are built on seven core principles:
Voluntary and open membership
Democratic member control
Member economic participation
Autonomy and independence
Education, training and information
Cooperation among cooperatives
Concern for community
All co-ops contain the following elements:
Co-ops are owned and governed by their primary users (the owner-members).
Co-ops are democratically governed (one owner-member, one vote).
Co-ops are businesses, not clubs or associations.
Co-ops adhere to internationally recognized principles.
While the specific goals of a cooperative are determined by its owner-members, all cooperatives adhere to the principles of cooperation that are based on practices of the first successful consumer cooperative, the Rochdale Pioneers Equitable Society, founded in Rochdale, England in 1844. In addition to consumer cooperatives, there are also producer- (usually agricultural) and worker-owned cooperatives, housing co-ops, health care co-ops (the original HMOs were co-ops), and financial co-ops (credit unions). Most grocery store co-ops are consumer cooperatives, which means that they are owned by the people who shop at the stores. Owner-members exercise their ownership by patronizing the store and electing a board of directors to guide the organization. Click here to learn more about the benefits of Bloomingfoods owner-membership.
In case you were wondering, consumer cooperatives are very different from privately-owned “discount clubs,” which charge annual fees in exchange for a discount on purchases. These clubs are not owned or governed by the members, and the profits of the business go to the investors. In a cooperative, the owner-members actually own a part of the business, and, in a profitable year, they may be eligible for a patronage rebate.
Ranging from small-scale to multi-million dollar businesses across the globe, cooperatives employ more than 100 million people and have more than 800 million individual members. 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.