What is a Co-operative?

Co-ops are based on helping each other and caring for others.

A co-operative is a special kind of business or organization. It is a group of people who are working together to solve their problems and meet their needs. Sarcee Meadows was formed so that people could solve the problem of having homes that were well built and didn’t cost a lot of money.

Co-ops are different from other types of organizations since they follow three main rules:

  • Co-ops treat people fairly and respectfully
  • Co-ops help people to work together and solve a problem that they have
  • Co-ops provide products and services to meet people’s needs rather than for the purpose of making money

Here are descriptions of the different kinds of co-operatives:

  • Agriculture Co-ops:
    Agriculture co-ops aim to increase the production and supply of agriculture products, and make food products like milk, grain, meat, fish, vegetables and crafts, more affordable. Agriculture co-ops also take care of the environment.
  • Consumer Co-ops/Food Co-ops:
    Their aim is to provide members with good quality consumer goods, like food, drink, clothing and housing at fair prices.
  • Housing Co-ops:
    The lack of quality housing is a worldwide problem. These co-ops provide people with homes that are more affordable and suited to their needs.
  • Banking Co-ops and Credit Unions:
    These organizations help members save money and create a common “piggy bank” available to everyone at a reasonable rate of interest. Banking co-ops and credit unions also advise their members in investing money and getting loans.
  • Fishery Co-ops:
    Fishery co-ops help their members fish, and then sell and distribute their fish. Fishery co-ops are important in countries with coastlines on the ocean.
  • Health and Social Care Co-ops:
    These co-ops provide health and social care. There are co-ops that provide day care for small children, care for the elderly and for handicapped people. They make access to good health care easier.
  • Worker Co-ops:
    Worker co-ops are businesses that are owned and run by the people who work in them. Every worker in the co-op is also a member and has voting rights in making decisions about the co-op. Worker co-ops are different from other co-ops because the members and employers are the same people. There are worker co-ops for all kinds of businesses: construction, manufacturing, distribution, services, and retailing and in most trades – from engineering to printing, from the arts to computing, from recycling to fashion design.