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Co-op Newsletter 05/01/24

Updated: May 14

Dear Members,

In my last letter, I talked about one of the seven cooperative principles, “Cooperation Among Co-ops”, and how important it is that we as a staff and a membership support, speak with, and learn from other cooperatives across the country. Now, I’d like to share with you three of the other six principles on which the cooperative structure is founded.

Voluntary and Open Membership

Our members make up the foundation of our organization and without them, we would not exist. To maintain sustainability, membership in the co-op must be voluntary, and it must be available to all who would like to participate in the cooperative process. Newark Natural Foods is committed to equality and diversity within our membership and laid out in our mission statement to “connect with the community and welcome all”.

Democratic Member Control

In following with the ideals of democracy, it is important that members feel empowered to voice their opinions and concerns within their co-op. Members are always welcome to attend our monthly store meetings on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00pm. Members can also join committees and attend our annual General Membership Meeting in November, where all members get the opportunity to vote for Bylaws and Board Members.

Members’ Economic Participation

Members of Newark Natural Foods contribute equally to the economy of the cooperative with their $100 membership payments. It is also crucial that members patronize the store to continue to maintain our commercial viability. In the same way that members support their co-op, their co-op should support them. Both by making responsible financial decisions with the interests of the store and the membership in mind, and by delivering patronage refunds when profits allow. We are all in this together as we navigate the financial challenges of both our industry and the country at large. And as members of a cooperative, you get a voice when it comes to how we proceed.

In my next letter, I’ll go over the last three principles: Autonomy and independence; Education, training, and information; and concern for community. Stay Tuned!

All the Best,

Catherine Hallman

General Manager


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