The Butte Food Co-Op will be a member-owned, member-run, and community-focused cooperative grocery store that provides access to high-quality, locally-sourced, healthy, and delicious foods to nourish the Butte community (and beyond).
The Butte Food Co-Op’s vision is to create a marketplace that brings together local producers and consumers in order to collectively grow a healthy, supportive community, and a more sustainable food system in Southwest Montana.
The Butte Food Co-Op is a developing cooperatively-owned grocery store. Cooperatives (or “Co-Ops) are owned and democratically-controlled by their member-owners (who also happen to be customers!). Food co-ops exist to meet a community need (such as the lack of healthy, fresh, high-quality food), focus on sustainability, improve access to the local food system, and support the local economy.
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
Co-ops provide education and training for members, elected representatives, and employees so they can contribute to the development of their co-op.
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Although there are various types of co-ops, food co-ops (like the one we plan on starting here in Butte) are typically consumer co-ops. This means they are owned and democratically-controlled by their member-owners who also happen to be customers! Food co-ops exist to meet a community need (such as the lack of healthy, fresh, high-quality food), focus on sustainability, improve access to the local food system, and support the local economy.
Member-owners invest in co-op shares (a “membership”), shop at the store, and elect a board of directors to govern the co-op and help shape its future direction. Co-Op member-owners may also receive special benefits – such as special discounts, bulk discounts, or access to special in-store events.
Food co-ops are 100% independent from a single entity (such as a large corporate parent company) and owned by the community members who shop there (although you do not have to be a member-owner to shop there). Instead of focusing on profits for shareholders, food co-op focus on their local community and the needs the community has.