A common purpose is not so common
How many times have we heard the phrase from a thankful friend or colleague, “I couldn’t have done it without you,” and thought to ourselves, “Oh yes, you could have.” After years of experience, we understand how much value an individual can bring to a project, but we often undervalue the contributions we make together. As a cooperative, BriarPatch Food Co-op exists to serve its Owners, and every person who is an Owner is connected to the efforts of the Co-op as a whole. In a larger sense, BriarPatch Owners are connected to cooperative businesses everywhere because of the Co-op’s commitment to seven internationally recognized principles: Voluntary and Open Membership, Democratic Member Control, Member Economic Participation, Autonomy and Independence, Education, Training and Information, Cooperation Among Cooperatives, and Concern for Community.
People who decide to cooperate, agree to work together toward a common purpose. They join forces to accomplish tasks that one person can’t do by themselves. This cooperation builds bonds between people in ways that seldom happen when businesses are owned and controlled by out-of-area investors. Often stakeholders in businesses are at cross-purposes with many different competing agendas—rarely is there a real common purpose.
The Co-op’s commitment to serve its Owners, its suppliers, and the greater community that supports it is a common purpose that drives the daily effort to beautify our property, improve sustainability practices, update equipment to the highest energy-saving standards, bring greater visibility to our local and organic farmers, and create more space for a delightful and energizing shopping experience. In a cooperative business, everyone matters… a lot.