What is a Co-op?

A co-op is an enterprise or organization jointly owned or managed by those who use its facilities or services. In our case, Food Conspiracy is owned by approximately 2100 residents of Tucson and the surrounding areas. Because ownership is equally distributed into many shares, we have a strongly democratic structure, ensuring that decisions are made to support our members’ needs rather than just increase profits for the benefit of a few.

The international cooperative movement began in Rochdale, England in 1844. With the aim of selling pure food at fair prices and with honest weights and measures, rather than simply for profit, the group known as the Rochdale Pioneers pointed the way for like-minded men and women to start similar co-operative societies. The governing principles that they laid out at the time are still the defining standard for consumer co-ops (we publish them in our bi-monthly newsletter). The Rochdale Principles are:

  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.

Food Conspiracy is a member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), which coordinates the national food co-op movement. To learn more about the NCGA, visit their website at: http://ncga.coop