Cooperative Principles

The International Cooperative Alliance was formed in 1895 to advance the co-op model. Nowadays, all co-ops are governed by a set of 7 principles. On July 9th, 2016 our co-op’s Board of Trustees adopted 5 more! These principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice. Below are Sno-Isle Food Co-op's 12 principles as defined by our Board of Trustees.

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Principle #1: Voluntary Open Membership

Sno-Isle Co-op is a voluntary organization, open to all persons willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without discrimination based on race, religion, age, social status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other.

Principle #2: Democratic Member Control

We are a democratic organization governed by our member-owners. Representatives are elected to serve the Co-op. All owners have equal voting rights (one vote per owner account).

Principle #3: Member Economic Participation

As an owner, you contribute equity to the Co-op with a one-time $100 investment. You also contribute to the Co-op with your purchases and volunteer support. You may also vote for the local organizations the Co-op supports through its donations. And as an owner, you benefit from Co-op sales, store discounts, and Patronage Dividends.  

Principle #4: Autonomy and Independence

We are self-governed by our owners, following the governance policies enacted by the elected Board of Trustees.


Principle #5: Education, Training and Information

We provide education and training for our owners, elected representatives, and staff so they can contribute to the betterment of our cooperative and community. We inform the general public about the nature and benefits of these Cooperative Principles.

Principle #7: Concern for Community

We support economically, environmentally, and socially healthy and resilient local community through our co-op’s practices, policies, and programs. We work in cooperation with local governments, businesses, farmers, and others to improve the overall health of our community.

Principle #6: Cooperation Among Co-operatives

We work with the National Co+op Grocers and other cooperatives in the region to build our collective strength through education, information sharing, and combined buying power.



Principle #8: Concern for Ecosystems

We value the Earth’s living systems, beings, and resources. We are committed to minimizing our impact on them and to supporting their regeneration.


9th Principle: Concern for Workers

We are committed to providing safe, purposeful, and dignified employment at a livable wage. We encourage and enable staff participation in the governance and economic success of the Co-op.

10th Principle: Skilled Cooperative Management

We rely on skilled management that empowers staff and aligns with the cooperative business model. We seek to develop staff skills and improve understanding of our business and the broader cooperative movement.

11th Principle: Strategic Leadership

We are committed to cultivating leadership, accountability, and trust among all levels of operation. Leaders are aligned on principles and strategy, while demonstrating individual initiative. They seek diverse perspectives and challenge their own assumptions.

12th Principle: Innovative Culture

We are committed to fostering a culture of diversity, learning, innovation, and continuous improvement to better serve our owners, ensure the Co-op’s success, and improve implementation of the cooperative principles.