“A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise” (International Cooperative Alliance). Most co-ops are organized as non-profit corporations but, unlike typical non-profits, co-ops often distribute surplus revenues as “patronage dividends” to members. In a cooperative, each member has an equal vote.

General information about cooperatives
Cooperative businesses
Food Coops
  • Glut Food Coop (Mt. Rainier, MD), and a story about them in the Washington Post.
  • Harvest Co-op in Boston, MA, was founded in 1971 and now has two locations in the region.
  • The Lexington Cooperative Market (Buffalo, NY) was founded in 1971.
  • The Merc in Lawrence, Kansas, sells produce and meats raised on family-owned farms around Eastern Kansas. The Merc also offer cooking classes and classes in healthy eating.
  • The Park Slope Food Coop sources many of its products from within 500 miles of New York City.
  • Weavers Way Co-op, a community-owned food market in Philadelphia, recently expanded to a second store and is on its way to opening its third store.
  • Whole Foods Co-op, in Duluth, Minnesota, was founded in 1970 and, in 2010 had about 5,000 members in a city of 86,000.