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Principle Six

The Co-operative Trade Movement is being launched at Willy Street Co-op to support small, local farmers/producers and cooperative or not-for-profit businesses. The Movement invites consumers to join in ethical commerce and economic democracy, the kind that Willy Street Co-op and hundreds of other grocery co-ops in the U.S. have been championing for nearly 40 years.

Around the world, cooperatives are organized according to the seven International Cooperative Principles. Principle Six—Cooperation Among Cooperatives—emphasizes the importance of cooperatives doing business with each other. We chose to name our new initiative Principle Six (P6) because we believe that it is only through purposeful cooperation that we will be able to build an alternative economy that reflects our mutualvalues. Given today’s financial and environmental crises, it is clearly time to build a cooperative economy in which the importance of multiple bottom lines (financial, social and environmental) outweighs conventional emphasis on mere profits.

The Co-operative Trade Movement was created by, and is being launched in collaboration with, Equal Exchange (a worker-owned producer cooperative) and six consumer grocery cooperatives. The Movement empowers consumers to use their purchasing dollars to create an economy that embodies our highest values. In 2008, Equal Exchange began engaging in discussions with numerous food co-ops to discuss our mutual successes and challenges over the past few decades. During the course of these conversations, it became clear that it was time to “take things to a new level” in order to increase our selling power, better differentiate ourselves and gain more leverage in the marketplace, find ways to more deeply engage our consumers, increase market access for small farmers, build cooperative supply chains and a solidarity economy, and ultimately change our food system. Six grocery co-ops shared this vision and wanted to co-create a new movement that could accomplish all of these goals.

“As our food system has become more globalized and its control more concentrated among an ever-shrinking list of large corporations, family farmers here in North America face challenges that are similar in many ways to those of farmers in the developing world. Indeed, farmers around the globe are caught between declining prices for their products, the consolidation of markets and distribution, and tightening control over inputs such as seed. For example, 50 years ago farmers in Europe and North America received between 45 and 60 percent of the money that consumers spent on food. Today that proportion has dropped to just 7 percent in Britain and 3.5 percent in the US. And between 1935 and 1997, the total number of farms in the U.S. fell from 6.5 millionto just 2.05 million. By 2003, there were just 1.9 million working farmers in the U.S. - less than the prison population. In terms of market consolidation, over 50% of the revenue generated globally by food retailing can be accounted for by just 10 corporations.” –SOURCE: Equal Exchange

(We share many of the same food policies about prioritizing local and sustainably grown or produced as well as a built-in commitment to local economies among the member co-ops of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).) Despite the $1.2 billion in sales each year from the 114 affiliated grocery cooperatives across 32 states, the economic impact on local economies stemming from grocery cooperatives is largely eclipsed by privately owned grocery chains that are focused mainly on increasing sales and profit. Green-washed marketing campaigns may fade into the background, but community-owned and cooperative grocery stores will continue to be the tried, true and transparent champion of family farming, local producers and cooperatives.

The symbol ‘P6’ was selected to represent the Movement and products in our store that represent at least two of the three following criteria: small farmer/producer, “local,” cooperative or non-profit organization.

If a producer/farmer meets the criteria, their products receive the P6 label or inclusion on the P6 list of products. At Willy Street Co-op, small farmer/producer is defined using these guidelines: a.) Independently owned and operated, and b.) Selling direct to store or through a local distributor with a regional distribution area. “Local” is defined as a product grown or produced within a 150-mile radius of the Capitol in Wisconsin. “Co-op” is defined by cooperative ownership of the business or non-profit organization that benefits our community (e.g., Troy Farm, Porchlight, Seed Savers).

[Currently, the six founding member stores across the United States are: Bloomingfoods Co-op (Bloomington, Indiana); Brattleboro Food Co-op (Brattleboro, Vermont); Community Mercantile (Lawrence, Kansas); Davis Food Co-op (Davis, California); Equal Exchange (West Bridgewater, Massachusetts); Seward Food Co-op (Minneapolis, Minnesota); and Willy Street Co-op (Madison, Wisconsin).]

The intention is to introduce movement to other co-ops and our plan is to double the number of participating cooperatives in 2011 and triple the number by 2012. More information is available at Also, look for signage and additional information on P6 throughout our store.

To use your purchasing dollars to create an economy that embodies our highest values, you can select food from the following P6 vendors at Willy Street Co-op:

Amelse Farms—maple syrup
Angelica’s Garden, LLC—kim chi, sour kraut
Avonlea—smudge sticks
Bandung Restaurant—tempeh
Batch Bakehouse—breads
Bear Clan Wild Rice—wild rice
Black Earth Meat Market—beef, pork, poultry
Black Sheep Enterprises—wheatgrass
Bleu Mont Dairy—artisanal cheeses
Burgie’s Organics, LLC—laundry soap
Burmeister Ginseng Co-op—ginseng
Capri Cheesery—goat cheeses
Carlanna Gardens—pesto
Cates Family Farm—beef
Cedar Crest—ice cream
Chalet Cheese Co-op—baby swiss, limberger, brick cheeses
Chicago Soydairy—soy cheese
Clasen’s European Bakery, Inc.—breads
Crow Pottery—pottery
Don’s Produce—tomatoes
Dreamfarm—goat cheese
Driftless Organics—sunflower oil
Elegant Foods—scones
Four Elements Organic Herbals, LLC—tinctures, soaps, salves, lotions, teas
Gentle Breeze Honey, Inc.—honey
Go Macro—protein bars
Gotham Bagels—bagels
Green Thumb Produce
Greenbush Bakery—baked goods
Harmony Valley Farms—vegetables
Heartland Bison—bison meat
Hidden Springs Creamery—sheep cheese
JenEhr Family Farm—vegetables
Jim’s Cheese Pantry—cheese
Just Coffee Cooperative—coffee
Kamm’s Farm Bakery—breads
Keewaydin Organics—vegetables
Kickapoo Gold, LLC—syrup
Krinkes Farm Market—popcorn
La Campagne Bakery—cookies
Lange’s Farm—meats
M & M Organic Farms, LLC—eggs
Madison Sourdough Co.—breads
Maple Valley—maple syrup
Mt. Sterling Cheese Co-op—goat cheese
Nature’s Bakery—breads, granolas
NessAlla Kombucha, LLC—kombucha
New Century Farm—eggs
Next Generation Organics—cheese
Norske Wood Works—firewood
North Bay Trading Co.—wild rice
One Sun Farm—pizza
Pasqual’s—salsa, chips
Pecatonica Valley Farm, LLC—beef sticks
Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms—lamb
Potter’s Crackers—crackers
Porchlight—salsa, jams
Prairie Bluff Farm, LLC—eggs
Quince and Apple—preserves
Red Oak Publishers—greeting cards
Renaissance Farm, Inc.—pesto, salad dressings
Rock Cheese Company—cheese
Roesler Farms—Chicken
Rolling Meadows Sorghum Mill—sorghum molasses
RP’s Pastas Company—pastas, pasta mixes
Schickert Distributing—mushrooms
Schumacher Ginseng—ginseng
Seed Savers—seeds
Simple Soyman/Bountiful Bean—tofu, pre-made tofu mixes
Slack’s. Inc.—jams
Sparkle Dog Company—music
Stoddards Meat—beef, pork
Sugar River Dairy—yogurt
Tashai Lovington—greeting cards
Tipi Produce—vegetables
Tomato Mountain Farm—tomato sauce, salsa
Troy Community Farm—sprouted grains
Uplands Cheese Company—cheese
Vermont Valley Community Farm—vegetables
Vern’s Cheese, Inc.—cheese
Voss Organics—tomatoes, seedlings
West Star Farm—vegetables, seedlings
White Jasmine, LLC—spice packs
Widmer Cheese Cellars—cheese
Willow Creek Farm—pork
Wisconsin Natural Acres—honey
Willy Street Co-op—deli and bakery items
Ys Organic Bee Farm—honey bodycare products
Yuppie Hill Farm—eggs
Zuercher Cheese Co—cheese

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