Cooperatives have a long history in agriculture, and even today, rural areas across the United States are filled with Cooperative organizations with the sole purpose of supporting agricultural development. Cooperatives are voluntary associations of individuals organizing democratically to meet a common need. In the case of Brightheart Farm, we are a worker owned cooperative, which means that we, as the employees of the farm, are its owners. Like other cooperatives, we are organized around the seven cooperative principles:
Voluntary, Open Ownership
We are open to members regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, nationality, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc… Members are also free to leave at any time.
Democratic Owner Control
Each member has one vote, and all votes count equally.
Owner Economic Participation
Members share in the economic rewards and risks involved in starting a business together.
Autonomy And Independence
The Cooperative is autonomous, being controlled by its membership only. All decisions are made by members democratically, with no influence from investors or non-members.
Education, Training And Information
Cooperatives seek to educate and train their own members to effectively fulfill their roles within the cooperative. They also educate non-members about the benefits of cooperatives and their place in the economy.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives seek to expand the cooperative movement by working with other cooperatives, and by helping groups of individuals in the formation of their own cooperatives.
Concern For The Community
Because their members are also members of a larger community, cooperatives seek to make decisions that will be beneficial and sustainable to the communities in which they operate.