About Us

group staff photo

Member-Owned Community Co-op
Everyone is welcome

Hunger Mountain Co-op is a democratically governed, member-owned, natural food cooperative. Our co-op has 185 employees, nearly 400 local vendors, and over 10,000 member-owners. Last year, we experienced $25.7 million in sales, 36.4% of which was from the sales of local products.

Our purpose remains deeply rooted in our belief that good food helps to create sustainable local food systems and vibrant, healthy communities. Hunger Mountain Co-op is so much more than just a grocery store. Come for the food. Stay for the conversation.

History

Our co-op began in Plainfield as a pre-order service in the late 1960s when community members joined together to buy groceries and other things in bulk. Members began grouping themselves by neighborhood, with each group responsible for breaking orders down and distributing them to the individual members. Co-op neighborhoods also held potluck dinners and picnics. Known then as the Plainfield Co-op, the co-op was steadily growing. And because of that, it needed a more streamlined pre-ordering process and a more central location.

In 1972, the Co-op moved to Montpelier and became the Hunger Mountain Cooperative. However, a storefront didn't come until years later. After the move to Montpelier, some of the founders from the Co-op's early days came together to reopen a Plainfield-based co-op, which they named the Winooski Valley Cooperative Market. Eventually, it was renamed the Plainfield Co-op. The "new" Plainfield Co-op went on to rent the old Grange Hall, the former home of the original Plainfield Co-op, from the Hunger Mountain Co-op. The Plainfield Co-op eventually bought the building for a nominal sum and opened their first storefront.

Hunger Mountain Co-op's first storefront was on the corner of Barre and Granite Streets in Montpelier, which is now a parking lot where Co-op employees park. Our second location was at 403 Barre Street, across from Sabin's Pasture and in the building that currently houses the Montpelier Veterinary Hospital. We enjoyed steady community-supported growth there before moving to our current location at 623 Stone Cutters Way in 1997.

Today, Hunger Mountain Co-op is thriving with over 10,000 member-owners, 185 employees, and nearly 400 local vendors. 2022 marks our 50th anniversary, with the Co-op's birthday on September 13.

Mission & Ends Policy

We are a member-owned, community-based natural market committed to building a dynamic community of healthy individuals, sustainable local food systems, and thriving cooperative commerce.

The Co-op Council governs by a system of policy setting and monitoring. The Ends policies state the Co-op’s purpose; they define what the organization must achieve to be successful. The Council reviews its policies according to an annual calendar. It also monitors compliance with its policies on an annual cycle, mainly through reports prepared by the General Manager.

More specifically, we will have:

•  A cooperatively owned retail outlet for natural and organic food-based goods and services that meet our Members’ and customers’ needs.

•  A community increasingly educated about food and health and considerate of the impacts of its purchases.

•  Local ownership and control of a comprehensive, sustainable food economy.

•  Financially sustainable operations that support and yield economic, social and environmental returns.

Cooperative Principles

Definition of a Cooperative

A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

Cooperative Values

Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Cooperative Principles

The cooperative principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

  1. Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.

  1. Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

  1. Autonomy and Independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

  1. Education, Training, and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

  1. Cooperation among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

  1. Concern for Community

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.