Board of Directors: Co-op End #4

by Carolyn Gressit, Board Member

End #4:  The Co-op reflects inclusivity and diversity.

Mountain View Market Co-op Policy Ends

  1. The community benefits from outreach, support and education.
  2. The Co-op provides information and access to health food and health products.
  3. The Co-op models sustainable living.
  4. The Co-op reflects inclusivity and diversity.
  5. The Co-op is a viable alternative economic model based on cooperative principles and values.
  6. The Co-op supports local and regional production and encourages a diverse food system. 

We are so fortunate to live in a region that is diverse—culturally, linguistically, and geographically! Not only do we live close to Mexico and have many local residents who identify with that culture, but we also have native nations located in our midst, many resident immigrants from abroad, and a university that has long welcomed students and professors from all over the world.

For 40 years, Mountain View Market has served this diverse community, welcoming people from different backgrounds to its membership, and carrying products from both local and world cuisines, as well as hiring a staff that reflects these multiple cultures and comes from all over the US.

Zoom out with me for a moment: We are a member-owned co-operative—a fact that links us to the rest of the world. We are part of a worldwide alternative economic community that has over 800 million members in 100 countries. All of these co-operatives share the same set of Principles and Values, first established in 1895. The very first Principle is “Voluntary and Open Membership.” If we did not follow this essential principle, we would not be able to call ourselves a co-operative, and we would possibly lack inclusivity and diversity. All co-operatives also share the same set of Values, one of which is “Equality.” Thus, the Board’s End #4—Inclusivity and Diversity—is derived from the Principles and Values, first determined by the International Co-operative Association (ICA) in 1895, and since revised in 1937, 1966, and 1995, in order to reflect the impact of globalization and the growth of the co-operative movement.

This is not to say that other businesses in our community do not allow a diversity of community members to walk in their doors. Clearly, it is illegal in this country to discriminate against any person for reasons of “difference.” But having stated principles and values is a whole different matter.

What do you get from shopping at Wal-Mart or any other big chain store? You get a “good deal”? You save money? Does that chain have values and principles like those of co-operatives? Do you really want to give them your business?

What distinguishes Mountain View Market Co-op from other food stores is the fact that we have a stated and published set of principles and values that we must abide by—and we have an ownership option allowing any person to own a share in the Co-operative. Thankfully, we do NOT do what some co-ops did in the past: they only allowed owners to shop at their store. No one can be forced to be a Member-Owner of MVM Co-op in order to shop here—our doors are open to everyone, owner or not.

If you are not an owner, I ask you to consider supporting the important principles and values represented in our Ends by joining MVM Co-op. Believe me, it will feel so much better than “getting a good deal.”