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The 7 Cooperative Principles

Our Values

Like other Co-Ops, we operate under a set of 7 principles that center people and community over profits. 

  • Member Economic Participation. Every member-owner makes a one-time investment and receives a share of the profits. This means that the people who live and shop in East Biloxi are the ones that invest the capital to open and operate the store. With many people making small investments and with the help of grants and loans, we can open our own grocery store.

 

  • Democratic Member Control. All decisions are made by member-owners and the board members they elect. Decisions about the kinds of products and services we offer, hiring and wage/benefit practices, the ways we support community efforts, and more are all up to us and not some out-of-state shareholders. Every member-owner has an equal vote and share within the cooperative.

 

  • Voluntary & Open Membership. Membership is open to everyone who wants to be a member. You do not have to be a member in order to shop at the store, and you can cancel your membership at any time. 

 

  • Autonomy & Independence. Businesses often enter into agreements with other businesses, organizations, and governments. When we enter into agreements we do so in a way that protects our autonomy and independence. In other words, we do not enter into any agreements that would compromise the member-owners' control of the store and share of the profits. 

 

  • Cooperation Among Other Cooperatives. As part of the global cooperative movement, we support and work with other cooperatives. We have already received support from the Food Cooperative Initiative and started connecting with farmer cooperatives in Mississippi, such as Indian Springs Cooperative. We also bank with Hope Credit Union, a member-owned bank. 

 

  • Concern For Community. We are first and foremost accountable to our member-owners. This is different from other corporate stores that are accountable first to a handful of shareholders. As part of the community, we are invested in building community health and wealth. That is why we hire local people at living wages and prioritize local makers and farmers. We want to grow together to build a strong, sustainable, and resilient local food system and economy. 

 

  • Education, Training, & Information. Our commitment and concern to the community go beyond providing healthy, fresh food at affordable prices. We support our community by providing opportunities for education and training. This could include things like a healthy cooking demonstration, urban farming education courses, job training, and much more. As member-owners, we get to decide on the kinds of activities and programs we have to help our community.

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