Form a Local Cooperative Enterprise

The big corporations have the money and power because we give it to them.
We buy their products.
They don't make a big profit on our purchase, the store makes more on each unit than the manufacturer. They get the big money because we go back week after week to buy their products.
People complain about the big corporations, but unless they take action, the big corporations will keep on getting bigger because there is no alternative other than to keep buying their products.

I buy milk and bread, salami and cheese, toilet paper and laundry detergent. So do you, so do our neighbors, so does everyone else in town, and we all do it week after week.

Seems to me, if a bunch of people were to organize themselves and open a store of their own, they would have a vested interest in buying from their own store. If the store sells milk, bread, salami, cheese, toilet paper and laundry detergent, the money we are already spending would then be spent in our own store.

All we would need is the initial investment to get the store up and running. With enough people involved, that investment drops to a pretty reasonable figure.  With enough people involved serving as customers, the store would generate enough profit to keep the doors open. The profits from the store would then go to the people involved rather than the big box store corporations.

We then take it to the next level.
Instead of stocking the store with bread produced by another big corporation, we set up a bakery in the store. We bake our own bread. And pies, doughnuts, cakes, bagels, muffins, cookies, and all those other baked goods we are already spending our money on. We redirect all that spending to our own company.  Bakery, meats, dairy, deli, produce...these are all the outside aisles of a supermarket.

A little foresight at the start would have us setting up that store on a piece of land with room to grow vegetables. Several acres would be a fine start and could produce an abundance of vegetables. Why are we buying our produce from farms a thousand miles away when we could grow it right here, create local jobs, buy our own produce, and keep even more of our current spending within our local economy?

Take it to the next level...
We've already got that bakery. Extend it to be a full kitchen.
We've got fresh tomatoes, but some will be blemished or odd shaped and won't sell in the produce section of the store. Rather than see it go to waste, we could take those tomatoes into the kitchen and turn them into tomato sauce, tomato juice, and tomato paste. Add onions, peppers, garlic, hot peppers, we have our own salsa. Take the cucumbers, make our own pickles. Use our cabbage, make our own sauerkraut and cole slaw.

Instead of buying products from the manufacturer, we become the manufacturer. We grow it on the farm, process it in the kitchen, sell it in the store. We are the customers, the owners, and the workers.

The big corporations have the power because we are not locally organized.
By forming a local cooperative, we can begin to take back that power and improve our situation ourselves.

Take it one step further...
One cooperative group in my town can produce an abundance of blueberries. Another cooperative in the next town may not have the ability to grow blueberries, but they do have ideal soil to produce a surplus of raspberries. They buy our blueberries, we buy their raspberries. We could even go as far as sharing a truck. We have cooperating cooperatives.

Now imagine a lot of these co-ops springing up across the country...




Cooperative Enterprise Plan Outline