Organic Valley: Our Co-op

Everything's Better Together!

"Many hands make light work." Cooperation is the first lesson we're taught as children. No wonder. We know that the more we work together the stronger we are.

For nearly 25 years, we at Organic Valley CROPP Cooperative have built a dream based on the belief that the world is a better place through cooperation. And we're not the only ones: Many of the people you work with every day--in credit unions, grocery stores, power utilities--do business as cooperatives.

In recognition of the International Year of Cooperatives, we will be sharing the stories of different cooperatives throughout the year. Please join us this year to celebrate the benefits of working together!

Co-op of the Month

Westby Co-op Credit Union (WCCU)

In tough economic times, it's the cooperative spirit and dedication to their members and communities that sets credit unions apart from other banking institutions. Because they are cooperatives like CROPP Cooperative—Organic Valley/Organic Prairie, credit unions don’t belong to shareholders hoping to turn a profit. Rather, credit unions are member-owned, and any earnings are returned to members in the form of competitive rates and lower fees.

Viroqua Food Co-op

The Viroqua Food Cooperative (VFC) has grown up with CROPP Cooperative here in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin. Actually, “grown up” is an understatement. Because this amazing “engine that could” has grown phenomenally in the short 17 years of its existence. VFC sprang from the roots of a buying club in 1995, and has evolved into a beautiful green-built store on Main Street with 2,800 members.

Frontier Natural Products Co-op

Since its beginnings in 1976, Frontier Natural Products Co-op® has been a member-owned cooperative dedicated to supporting and advocating the values of the cooperative community: integrity, openness, social responsibility, and respect for the environment. In other words, they have chosen to grow and prosper by contributing to the world rather than exploiting it.

The Wedge

The wonderful thing about food co-ops is that they belong to their communities in ways that go far beyond the footprint of the store itself. As Elizabeth Archerd, membership and marketing manager of the Wedge in south Minneapolis, Minnesota, puts it, “We are so much more than a grocery store.”

July: PCC Natural Market

We consider ourselves lucky to work with so many mission-aligned cooperatives across the country. PCC Natural Markets based in Seattle, Washington is a terrific example of what we love best about cooperatives.

June: National Farmers Organization

Forgive us if we get a little teary on this one, because this month’s profile highlights a partnership with an organization that was there for us from the get-go. While our partnership today with National Farmers Organization (NFO) is more equitable, we are nevertheless “joined at the hip,” as CROPP CFO Mike Bedessem likes to say.

May: Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op

All of our cooperative partners who work to get Organic Valley and Organic Prairie products from farm to table are crucial to our success. However, consumers don’t see the result of that hard work until they walk into stores like the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and find our products on the shelves.

April: Farmers Cooperative Creamery and Darigold

Organic Valley's Northwest Pastures™ Milk goes from farms to tables across the northwest via a network of cooperatives that work with each other in spite of the fact that they are also competitors. This month we spotlight two fellow cooperatives who make our own regional milk program possible.

March: Equal Exchange

Who knew the purchase of some of the tastiest chocolate on earth or the finest “cupping” coffees could be so deeply satisfying? Equal Exchange fans tend to sum it up perfectly: “It’s easy to choose organic and fair trade when it tastes great!”

February: La Montanita Co-op

Founded in 1976 by 300 families seeking healthy food, La Montanita Co-op Food Market now tallies about 15,000 members and serves New Mexico out of six locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Gallup. Learn what sets La Montanita apart from your basic grocery store.

January: CROPP Cooperative

Most folks think of Organic Valley and Organic Prairie as sources of delicious and healthful organic foods. What they don’t know is that the key to our success is our cooperative business model known as Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP).

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Lights, Camera, Co-ops!

Food co-ops are in the spotlight in a new video series from "Co+op, stronger together." Celebrity chef Kevin Gillespie travels to co-ops across the country to share their passion for delicious food and their local communities. You’ll quickly discover the many ways food co-ops, their shoppers and owners, and their communities are stronger together.

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