Principle #6: Cooperation among Cooperatives

The BisMan Community Food Co-op met with representatives from Basin Electric recently to discuss our current membership needs and to learn how we could support each other as cooperatives. We currently have 350 members and need 600 to secure a retail site for our store. As a start-up food cooperative in its early stages, our board of directors, members, and volunteers are standing where other cooperative pioneers in ND stood before us many years ago.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, most rural people in North Dakota lived without electricity. Power companies were convinced that they couldn't make any money by serving the rural countryside, so they declined to run power lines out to the country. All across the country, including in North Dakota, rural people were banding together to help themselves by forming electric cooperatives. By working together in cooperation, rural electric cooperatives helped light the countryside. They demonstrated that they could have their needs met by working together for a common goal.

So like other cooperators did year ago, we are banding together to achieve an outcome. We want access to healthier, fresher, local food and to support farmers who grow food in our region and make North Dakota their home. We want to be part of a strong local economy and to empower members to know where their food comes from. We want to support a democratically controlled business that is governed by its member-owners. We want to be an anchor business in the Bismarck-Mandan community for generations to come and we want you to invest in this co-op with us.

Membership is a one-time investment of $200 and Basin Electric has agreed to contribute $50 toward every membership purchased by one of their employees. That means a Basin employees could invest as a member-owner of the BisMan Community Co-op for $150 and Basin will contribute the rest. How great is that? Talk about cooperation!

Thanks to Baisn Electric for helping us build a healthier Bismarck-Mandan.

The 7 Cooperative Principles

The 7 Cooperative Principles