Our Co-op → A Consumer Co-op in the South Berkshires

Berkshire Food Co-op is a consumer cooperative.  That means our ownership is made up of the people who shop in our store.  These customers exercise their ownership through patronage, through democratic elections of the Board of Directors, and by maintaining a voice in the co-op’s activities.

While co-ops of the past existed solely to provide affordable food to their members, today’s versions have the ability to offer so much more.  Our co-op, as directed by our owners through the Board of Directors, believes that if we help to strengthen the community, we all benefit.  Therefore, our consumer cooperative exists not only to provide our owners with benefits, but to also empower our community in ways that are in line with a set of priorities defined by the Board of Directors.

Consumer co-ops are the largest kinds of cooperative, each with thousands, or even millions, of members.  As a result, individual members have relatively little direct influence on the co-op, other than electing the board members and occasionally voting on major policy changes.

At Berkshire Food Co-op, our Board of Directors acts as representation for the ownership. While  the owners have little direct influence , we believe in the concept of representative democracy and work to incorporate that belief into our operations.