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We are one of Canada’s most successful independent natural foods retailers. We love to bring high quality, organic, local, fair trade and whole foods to the people in our community.

But that’s not all…

We are a Co-operative! All co-operatives are created to serve their member owners by fulfilling a member-defined Mission.

Here’s Our Mission:

All co-operatives exist to fulfill the mission determined by their members

Here’s our Mission:

The Kootenay Co-op’s mission is to promote community involvement by cultivating a cooperative, sustainable, organic way of life through:

Providing highest quality, affordable natural foods and products, and wherever possible organic, in a pleasant, comfortable environment;

  • Serving members effectively;
  • Encouraging a healthy local economy;
  • Community and member education;
  • Maintaining the financial health of the Cooperative;
  • Promoting community interchange of ideas;
  • Providing a workplace that reflects these values.

Everything we do at the Co-op serves our mission. We refer to it all the time: when we are deciding to bring in a new product, or sponsoring an event, even when we are deciding where to buy our office supplies!

Everyone involved in this business is accountable to do their very best to serve the mission with integrity. Which brings us to the next point…

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Co-operative Principles:

 All co-ops adhere to 7 principles.

If the mission statement is the brains of each co-operative organization, the principles are like the bones. Every co-op shares the same principled structure.

The principles were created at the dawn of co-operatives (circa 1768) so the language is a bit formal. Don’t worry, we’ve included a translation!

They are:

  1. Open and voluntary membership:   All Welcome – no pressure – no discrimination
  2. Democratic member control:   One member = one vote
  3. Member economic participation:   No free rides
  4. Autonomy and independence:  Self‐control, no parents
  5. Education, training and information:  Share, Learn, Grow
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives:  Together Everyone Achieves More
  7. Concern for the community:  Building strong communities

Our members took this concept one step further and created a Statement of Principles for the Kootenay Co-op that goes like this:

 The Kootenay Co-op Statement of Principles:

The Kootenay Co-op is an association which was set up to provide high quality, wholesome food at reasonable prices to residents of Nelson, the Slocan Valley and surrounding areas.

We believe that where possible, such food should be organically produced and that local growers or processors should receive preferential treatment as suppliers.
We believe in the principles of community cooperation and will further this principle through educational programs and any other means available.

We believe in building a truly democratic organization with complete member involvement, where the principle of one member, one vote will be adhered to irrespective of the number of shares held by any individual.)

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Co-operative Values

All cooperatives (all over the world) are based on a core set of common values.

Following the body metaphor, the values are like the beating heart of a co-op; they make co-ops a vehicle for…well, the betterment of humankind! The co-op values encourage members to carry out the mission with ethics and good will.

The co-operative values include self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of our founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.