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October is National Co-op Month

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Did you know October is National Co-op Month? Do you know we are a Co-op?

What is a Co-op?

A Co-op is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet a common need. The community that makes up a co-op jointly-own and democratically control said business.

Simply put, co-ops are created by people who have a specific need and work together to operate a business that meets those needs.

Watch this short video to learn more.

Patchwork as a Co-op!

The purpose of Patchwork Alliance is to provide independent WNC regional growers, crafters, makers and service providers with ownership in a shared marketplace, and to connect them with WNC residents who want local, fresh and natural foods and products, and who value community-owned agriculture, local economy, and cultural diversity.

We ask that our owners abide by the Universal Cooperative Principles:

  • Voluntary and open membership

  • Democratic member control

  • Member economic participation

  • Autonomy and independence

  • Education, training, and information

  • Cooperation among cooperatives

  • Concern for the community.

There is also more than one way to become an owner at Patchwork! Our Workers and Producers are Owners too. We invite local entrepreneurs who produce their own goods or offer services to come onboard as producer-owners, and we also encourage those interested in becoming owners to contribute their skills in exchange for ownership through work-trade opportunities.

Learn more about how to become an owner of Patchwork here.

Why we all should support more co-ops!

From 1964-1970, the U.S. Government sponsored Co-op Month! Co-op Month has actually been a nationally recognized celebration since 1964, when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, a former Minnesota governor, proclaimed October Co-op Month. Why, you may ask?

Co-ops are capable of doing incredible things for our communities! Around the world, they are creating diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces! It has been proven time and time again that the co-op structure excels at meeting the needs of communities that have been excluded from economic participation and advancement. How? Because everyone is involved!

Here are some quick facts:

  • The average U.S. co-op worker is paid $19.67 an hour, $7 higher than minimum wage.

  • 3,000 housing co-ops in the U.S. provide 300,000 units of affordable housing.

  • More than 52% of credit union CEOs are women, 10x higher than commercial bank CEOs.

  • Food co-ops create 9.3 jobs per $1 million in sales compared to the 5.8 at traditional grocery stores.

Look around you and see what co-ops you can find! Here is a list of local co-ops to get you started.

  1. Patchwork Alliance

  2. French Broad Food Co-op

  3. Hendersonville Community Co-Op

Before your next trip to the grocery store, ask yourself, what is your grocery store doing for your community?

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