What is a Food Co-op?
Everyone can shop, anyone can join! A Co-op is a business owned and governed by its members. As a cooperative, we serve our members, employees, and the Sioux Falls community.
It is our mission to offer the highest quality local, natural, and certified organic foods, as well as related products and services in ways that best promotes the health of our members, the community, and the earth in order to honor the cooperative tradition.
We're so much more than a grocery store! Our mission, the seven co-op principles, our history, and our dedication to local food and producers creates a fun and unique place to shop. We invite you to stop in! We are open 363 days a year. (Closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas.)
Cooperatives operate under seven cooperative principles, developed by the International Cooperative Alliance. (Last revised in 1995.) These seven principles are what keep us striving to improve the store, the local community, and the environment. Please join us in spreading the word about how cooperatives are different and benefit the communities and the world we live in.
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
We are a voluntary organization, open to all persons able to use our services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control
Our cooperative is a democratic organization controlled by our owners, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions through the owners they elect as their representatives to serve on the Board of Directors. In a cooperative, owners have equal voting rights. (One owner, one vote.)
3. Member Economic Participation
Owners of our cooperative are expected to contribute capital equitably and to democratically control the capital of the business. Each owner is required to make a $200 equity investment in order to join. (This can be spread out over 5 years for $40 per year.) These funds are used to capitalize the store.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Our cooperative is an autonomous organization controlled by our owners. There is only one Co-op Natural Foods!
5. Education, Training, and Information
The Co-op Natural Foods provides education and training for our owners, directors, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
We believe that cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together at the local, regional, national, and international levels. As part of the cooperative community, we work to strengthen and support other cooperatives. Visit the Stronger Together website, a national website for cooperatives provided by the National Cooperative Grocers Asssociation, for food news and recipe ideas.
7. Concern for Community
We seek to be a model of an environmentally aware, socially just, community-based business. We believe that we have an active role to play in the local community in building thriving, sustainable relationships between owners, the local community, and the environment.