What is a co-op?
Co-operatives belong to, are operated by, and benefit the people who become members. Because the most important aspect of co-operatives is people, they also enhance the communities they operate in. They are formed by people with like-minded needs and aspirations which can be fulfilled by working together and taking responsibility to support the vision set by the members. The democratic nature of a co-op means that all members are equal decision-makers.
Co-ops worldwide adhere to 7 key principles:
- Voluntary and Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Member Economic Participation
- Autonomy and Independence
- Education, Training and Information
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community
HOW WE'RE GOVERNED
The Beechworth Food Co-op is a registered non distributing co-operative without share capital, this means any profits can not be distributed to co-op members and that the Co-Op is equally owned by all Co-Op members. Any profits the Co-Op does make can only be used to improve the ability of the Co-Op to deliver on its aim to service its members. A copy of our endorsed rules of association can be viewed here.
- Create membership prospectus and attract minimum of 40 members
- Sell only dry goods while the Co-op is being established
- Locate storage/retail space to call “home”
- Develop systems allowing smooth food distribution
- Create a forum where members can feel comfortable to come together and share ideas
- Establish partnerships with other food co-ops to ensure ongoing improvements
- Seek and build relationships with local producers who are keen to connect with the Co-op activities and share the Co-op’s vision and objectives
- Dedicated and improved webpage!
- Grow membership to increase financial stability
- Aggregate and distribute locally grown food as a food hub
- Introduce produce swaps
- Introduce member workshops
- Create recipe library
- Member celebrations
The Beechworth Food Co-op is a 100% community owned and operated business with over 800 individual members. From our members we have just 28 volunteers who contribute their time week in week out to order food, pick up stock, unpack, write newsletters, sit on the board, present workshops, apply for grants, create strategic plans, meet…Read More
The Beechworth Food Co-op Annual Report – 2016-17
Having moved into our third year as an associated body who operates a weekly food store, delivers a range of educational events and works tirelessly to advocate for the merits of a robust, resilient, local food system, it is with a subtly different energy that we continue to move forward.
2016/2017 saw success, we:
- found financial stability having paid off our start up loan and solidified an average 24% margin on sales.
- reached membership targets which allowed us to make financial projections.
- commenced employment of our first paid staff member - Shirley Douglas - who is paid for 12 hours each week (and works about 20 hours) providing consistent, reliability for both our volunteers and our shoppers.
- launched FRESH when re reopened after the Christmas break in January and have steadily grown our grower numbers and ‘in-season’ fresh range since then.
- purchased equipment - a much needed second refrigerator, 24 drop bins and a trolley.
As a Co-operative, it means we are equally owned by every single member for the benefit of the broader community and not for the benefit of any one person more than another. In order to get to where we are today we have relied solely on volunteer hours of many and on the unrelenting commitment of a few who have been willing to take leadership roles. No one of these has been more important than any other and without any one of them we would not be where we are today.
Thank you to every single volunteer who has contributed their time. You are committed, hardworking, and endlessly giving. Thank you!
Read the full 2016-2017 Annual Report here.