As many of you know, the heart of the cooperative movement is the seven Cooperative Principles. These principles reflect an ethically driven set of social, political, and business objectives that unite cooperatives around the country. Principle 2, Democratic Member Control, states:
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
As part of our democratic commitment to the greater cooperative movement, next week I have the honor of attending the annual fall meeting of National Co+op Grocers (NCG). For those of you who don’t know what NCG is, here is a quick primer. NCG is a cooperative. Just as thousands of member-owners make up our co-op, our cooperative and many others make up the member-owners of NCG. Founded in 1999, NCG is a business services cooperative. It represents 149 food co-ops in 38 states, with combined annual sales of $2.4 billion. Thanks to NCG, cooperatives nationwide have much greater purchasing power and a strong, powerful voice in national and world affairs. Whenever I see an NCG program, or work with my NCG colleagues, or listen to our staff tell stories of their inspiring experiences at NCG conferences and events, I’m reminded that together our co-ops are stronger than we are individually. To quote NCG:
We are working to build a sustainable food system, ensure the fair treatment of people, protect and preserve a healthy environment and promote the cooperative business model.
This is huge, world-changing, humanity-affirming work, and I never want anyone to forget that this is the work our employees do every day and what they’ve committed their lives to when they work for a co-op.At the meeting next week, I know that my peers will want to know what’s new at our co-op, which will be a good opportunity for me to recap where we are and share all the changes we’ve put into place over the last few months. I can’t wait to talk about it with them, and I know it will inspire my GM peers just as our staff and members have inspired me. I look forward to sharing an update with you when I get back the week of September 26. Until then, thanks to all our members and staff for all that you do to serve our cooperative community, both here in the Upper Valley and throughout the national cooperative network that serves us all. —Amanda