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The Ebytown Food Co-Operative The Ebytown Food Co-Operative

Objectives of the Ebytown Food Co-Op

Given the problems in the food industry, the goals of the co-op movement, and a discernment of the "common" values of the active members of the co-op, these are Ebytown's current objectives:

  • to supply members with good quality, nutritious food
  • to keep prices to members as low as possible, while still maintaining a buffer of funds for emergencies and strength of the co-op
  • to minimize negative environmental impacts (ie. by using minimal packaging, by buying organically-grown food, etc.)
  • to provide a co-operative and non-hierarchical environment as an alternative to the depersonalization of supermarket shopping
  • to support boycotts based on social justice when possible
  • to buy from local and regional producers whenever possible
  • to give members a degree of economic self-determination (control over the source and cost of their food supply)
  • to support other co-operatives (such as ONFC, our main supplier)
  • to nourish a social spirit of community and co-operation that will hopefully extend beyond our co-op and its members

Most co-ops have similar lists of objectives; what varies is their order and priority. We cannot fulfill all the objectives because we have to balance various pressures: prices controlled by large conglomerates, the fact that food is grown and processed under conditions we can seldom examine (much less control), and so on. In practical, day-to-day terms, we often have to put some of our objectives aside in order to accomplish others, in view of our best faith judgments of their subjective importance.

Most of the policy disagreements that arise within a co-op happen not because our general goals are in conflict, but because of trade-offs we have to make between them. An example of this is the perennial argument between best-quality food and lowest-price food; unfortunately, they are often diametrically opposed. As a member of Ebytown, you'll have the opportunity to take an active part in this debate, and hopefully help reach a compromise that the majority of our members can live with.

Last updated: March 21st, 2009, by Kay Biefer