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 nearly 170 employees, more than 500 local vendors, and over 8,000 member-owners. Last year, we experienced $24.4 million in sales, 40% 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.
Hunger Mountain Co-op began as a pre-order service in the late 60’s when a group of neighbors came together to buy bulk groceries. When the orders became large enough, the members voted to open a storefront in Plainfield.
After a few years, it was apparent that the store was too small for the needs of all its members. A new storefront in Montpelier opened as a separate operation on the corner of Barre and Granite Street. This was the birth of Hunger Mountain Co-op as we know it today. This building has since been demolished and, in recent years, the location has become a Co-op employee parking lot.
Hunger Mountain Co-op moved to 403 Barre Street and enjoyed a few years of steady growth from that location. In 1997, we moved one last time into what is our current building at 623 Stone Cutters Way. This building, nestled on the banks of the Winooski River, went through an expansion in 2008, bringing it to approximately 20,000 square feet. We are now more than ten times the size of our original Montpelier location on the corner of Barre and Granite.
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.
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.
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.
The cooperative principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
- Concern for Community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.