Mission & Values

A Cooperative Serves the Needs of its Members

A co-op is an association of individuals united voluntarily to meet common needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

GEM’s Values

Good Earth Market was founded on a set of values that continue to guide our organization today and into the future:

We believe that the co-operative business structure is the most effective way of meeting consumers’ needs.

We believe all individuals should be treated with respect.  GEM exercises honesty and integrity in all relationships.

We believe that a healthy environment is vital to sustaining the quality of our lives and our community.

We believe in and value member involvement.  It develops inner community and builds value to whole community.

We believe in education to understand and evaluate food systems, leading to healthy food and healthy choices.

We believe in supporting the local economy, allowing us to influence its sustainability and support environmentally sound practices.

Co-op Principles

Historically, cooperatives emerged in response to the excesses of the industrial revolution. Cooperative pioneers developed a set of values and principles designed to shape and guide the structures and processes of cooperative businesses. These serve as the touchstones for all cooperatives, regardless of what segment of the global economy where they operate.

In 1995, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) defined the modern co-operative movement by revising the principles developed by the Rochdale Pioneers. As a member of theICA, GEM and its members have pledged their support to these standards.

All cooperatives and cooperators around the world are united by their acceptance of 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.

7 Cooperative Principles

  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.
  2. Democratic Member Control
    Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
  3. Member Economic Participation
    Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
  4. Autonomy and Independence
    Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
  5. Education, Training and Information
    Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees, and they inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
  6. Cooperation among Co-operatives
    Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
  7. Concern for Community
    While focusing on members’ needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members