Over and over again we hear that the co-operative model is important to our members and investors, although they may not have known it when they first invested. At that time, the prospect of high returns from projects that benefit our planet was enough to convince them to invest. Over time, many have come to realize the benefits of a group of like-minded individuals coming together. Co-operative businesses are about building community and affecting change.

CED Co-op is just one of many co-operatives in Ontario. From housing, to food, to school, there are organizations across the province using the co-op model to benefit the community. Let’s take a look at a few examples of co-operative options for our members in Waterloo Region, Guelph, and Sudbury.

Financial Co-operatives

Tired of dealing with a big bank? Credit Unions are financial co-ops offering safety, convenience, and service, but they put ownership in your hands. It’s community banking at its finest. Financial co-ops are driven by more than the bottom line, they align their work with their values. Just like at a bank, you can take care of everyday transactions, take out loans, credit, and mortgages, and invest to reach your financial goals. Unlike a bank, you know the credit union supports the region you live, work and play in. Your dollars are aligned with your values, and profits are invested back into the local community.

Join a credit union for all the benefits of a bank, plus local, values-based service and support:

Energy Co-operatives

In addition to CED Co-op, there are other energy co-operatives with their own portfolio of projects making renewable energy accessible to more people. Each co-op operates in a similar way to CED Co-op – a portfolio of projects is owned, creating revenue by generating energy from renewable sources.

Renewable energy co-ops allow everyone to support and benefit from clean, green energy, whether or not you have space for solar panels and wind turbines:

Food Co-operatives

Support the local economy with your food purchases through food co-ops. These exist in every size from small farmers sharing their harvest, to major dairy and meat producers. Farmers in food co-ops often collaborate, sharing best practices to improve the industry for their members, and their products for consumers.

Join a food co-op and get fresh produce from local farms:

Next time you’re buying groceries for the week, look for products from co-ops:

Preschool Co-operatives

Do you have a little one at home? Have you ever thought about a co-operative preschool? Like the other co-ops on our list, co-operative preschools rely on members to contribute and shape the direction of the organization. As a co-op member you can have direct influence on the organization and philosophy of the school, as opposed to those run by churches or larger non-profits with their own mission.

Housing Co-operatives

Just like retail co-operatives, housing co-ops leverage the buying power of their membership to get reduced costs for services. Each member has a share in the co-op, and a residence in the co-op. Like all co-ops, members also each have one vote to help shape the future of the organization.

Other Co-operatives

The co-operative business model can be used for just about any venture. While researching local co-ops we found a few outside the box organizations that deserved a profile:

Avocado Co-op

This retail co-op offers eco-friendly household products delivered to your door. You can customize your own package with everything you need. It saves time, money, and allows you to feel good about the products you are using.

Together We’re Bitter

A brewery that uses the co-operative model to create hand-crafted beers. Unlike the big brewers, TWB has an always exciting, creative, and delicious rotating selection of local beer. Workers and community supporters own the brewery, so there are always fresh ideas and input keeping TWB a vibrant and inclusive brewery.

 Community Car Share

Ontario’s first car share, Community Car Share allows members access to a vehicle when they need it, without the financial or environmental burden of owning a car. With convenient locations, all you have to do is book, pick up, and drive away.

More Co-operatives

No blog post can do justice to the many co-ops we have making an impact here in Ontario. Which ones did we miss? Where else are you a member? You can find a list of co-ops near you on the Ontario Co-operative Association’s website.

One Response

  1. Not too far away is a wonderful new full service grocery store called the Mustard Seed Food Cooperative Grocery in Hamilton, Ontario. We are still members, though moved to Waterloo in 2015.

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