This year marks the 40 year anniversary of our local Co-op. What once began as the Organ Mountain Cooperative, has since changed it's name and image, but not it's message. There are many reasons why this organization has stayed true to it’s bottom line values, and this blog series will touch on those individuals. Such as: the long-time Member-Owners, who have helped support and promote the cooperative ideals through involvement and outreach; Our employees have been full supporters of the cooperative model and have continued to work at other food Co-ops around the country; The group of individuals who we lovingly refer to as “Co-op Kids” whom are people, often employees, that spent some of their childhood inside the Co-op; And the original buying group that was formed in the mid-1970s, whose vision changed the way that Las Cruces shopped for health food.
Over the last 40 years, the Co-op employees have volunteered and worked hard to keep this store up and running on a day-to-day basis. The consistent trend among most of our employees is the belief in the Cooperative model. Even though some of our employees have moved out of town, they still believe in the co-op enough to continue employment with their local co-op. Jason was excited to discuss his love and support of the cooperative model.
Jason has been involved with Co-op organizations for over a decade. He has since moved to Austin, where he works for a Co-op with multiple locations. Here is what Jason had to say about his experience working at Food Co-op's for the last decade:
"Working at a Co-op attracts a variety of folks bonded by passion for a food, social justice and who are typically more likely to question the status quo (my kind of folks). The coop was a place where I was able to grow as a person. I learned more about quality food, food politics, herbal/alternative medicine, management skills and more importantly, connecting with coworkers and customers. I feel the truly democratic nature of a Co-op, though not perfect, makes the nature of the organization much more egalitarian and allows the focus to be on the mission; which may be selling good food, or providing housing, rather than just the bottom line. Also, since there is typically more buy-in from the folks involved, it allows there to be a chance to branch out and try something different. For example: starting a farm or farmers market, etc. That's something that most traditional businesses would only do if there were a perceived financial incentive. Most folks don't realize how much power they have if they were to only involve themselves in the cooperative model".
Thank you Jason, for supporting and believing in the cooperative business model!