OUR ROOTS

Boise Co-op is a community-owned food cooperative and marketplace that educates and connects our community to high-quality, natural, organic foods and specialty products.

We’re passionate about sustaining our local food system and strengthening the farm-to-family relationship. That’s why we source products from farmers and partners we know and trust.

 

OUR HISTORY

For a place that’s more than 40 years old, Boise Co-op is about as fresh and homegrown as it gets. The Co-op was founded in 1973 by health-conscious individuals searching for nutritious, great-tasting food at a reasonable price. Since then, we've grown into a community of more than 24,000 co-owners and have become a reliable resource for fresh, delicious foods.

 

What's a Co-op?

We all have childhood memories of parents, teachers and others encouraging us to work together. A co-op is what “working together” looks like all grown up. From the outside, many co-ops look like any other business, since a co-op provides products and services like conventional businesses do. But it’s what goes on behind the scenes that makes it different.

A cooperative exists to serve its members, but what makes co-ops unique is that the members are also the owners. So, in addition to getting the products and services you need, you also have a say in the business decisions your cooperative makes.

Rather than rewarding outside investors with its profits, a co-op returns surplus revenue to its members in proportion to how much they use the co-op. This democratic approach to business results in a powerful economic force that benefits the co-op, its members and the communities it serves.

 

Seven Cooperative Principles

Cooperatives around the world generally operate according to the same core principles and values, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance in 1995. Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844.

  1. Voluntary & Open Membership: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  2. Democratic Member Control: Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
  3. Members' Economic Participation: Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.
  4. Autonomy & Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative's autonomy.
  5. Education, Training, and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  7. Concern For Community: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members.

 

Our Partnership with NCG

In 2012, Boise Co-op joined the National Co+op Grocers (NCG) -- a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the U.S. NCG represents 143 food co-ops operating more than 190 stores in 38 states with combined annual sales of more than $1.7 billion and more than 1.3 million consumer-owners. NCG helps unify natural food co-ops to optimize operational resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to co-op owners and shoppers everywhere.

This partnership allows Boise Co-op to pass on savings to our co-owners, like our Co+op Deals Program!

Thanks to stongertogether.coop and ncba.coop for the information and media under What's a Co-op!