1. Voluntary and open membership
2. Democratic member control
3. Member economic participation
4. Autonomy and independence
5. Education, training and information
6. Cooperation among cooperatives
7. Concern for community
1. Open membership.
2. Democratic control (one man, one vote).
3. Distribution of surplus in proportion to trade.
4. Payment of limited interest on capital.
5. Political and religious neutrality.
6. Cash trading.
7. Promotion of education
Travis Johnson wrote:We do not have a lot of co-ops in Maine.
The launch of the Portland Food Co-op (PFC) in Portland, Maine,
helps tell this story of ambition and resilience in the face of seemingly
When it opened in 2014, PFC wasn’t the first food co-op to have
operated in the city; the previous one had closed its doors in 1997. This
left eaters who were interested in alternatives to the big grocers to rely
on the Portland Public Market, The Whole Grocer (a privately owned
natural food store), and one location of the Wild Oats natural food
chain (which, by the way, to much disdain, had opened literally nextdoor
to The Whole Grocer in 2003). Then, in 2006, the Public Market
closed and Whole Foods moved into town. Whole Foods staked its
claim by purchasing The Whole Grocer and commencing construction
on a megastore that opened the following year. Whole Foods shut
down The Whole Grocer location, then announced its nationwide
plans to acquire the Wild Oats chain. Portland’s Wild Oats location
was soon shuttered. Whole Foods had effectively colonized the alternative
food scene in Portland, Maine.
Rather than surrender to the Texas-based grocer, in 2008, residents
launched the Portland Food Co-op — a buying club that relied on
distributors like UNFI, Frontier Natural Products Co-op, and local
suppliers. By 2012, 350 member–owners were purchasing $200,000 a
year through the co-op’s online ordering system. In their move toward
a storefront, a core group of fifty members began forming committees
in 2013, and by 2014, membership had grown to two thousand.
The required $1.3 million was raised to open the store — $800,000
of it provided by members, with the remainder contributed by the
Cooperative Fund of New England and the City of Portland. The store
opened in 2014. A pretty incredible story of “what’s possible.”
Jon Steinman wrote:Indeed there aren't many, but after having the pleasure during my spring book release tour to visit 4 of the 8 food co-ops in Maine, I'd say Maine is doing pretty well in the food co-op movement
Jon Steinman wrote:
Here's a directory of food co-ops - https://grocerystory.coop/food-co-op-directory
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