Cooperative Values & Principles

Being a cooperative business model, the High Plains Food Cooperative (HPFC) is founded on a set of six values and seven principles describing a different, fairer and better way of doing business, which form the basis for every cooperative enterprise in the world today. These shared values are upheld by the International Cooperative Alliance.


  • Equity – HPFC is committed to fairness amongst every member.
  • Equality – HPFC gives all members an opportunity to get involved, while only one vote shall be entitled to one member regardless of the amount of contribution he/she has.
  • Self-help – HPFC members joining together and making a difference to change the High Plains Region’s local food system to economically improve the lives of our members and their communities.
  • Self-Responsibility – Every HPFC member is accountable for their actions, responsibilities, and duties, while each member does their part to make HPFC a success by supporting its activities, using its services and products and encouraging others to support it too.
  • Democracy – HPFC is controlled, managed and operated by its members, thus every member’s suggestions are accepted and heard for the betterment of their services or products being extended.
  • Solidarity – HPFC believes together Co-ops are stronger, so members join to help their co-op



  • Open and Voluntary Membership – HPFC is a voluntary organization, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  • Democratic Member Control – HPFC is a democratic organization controlled by their members who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In Primary, Cooperative members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote),
  • Members’ Economic Participation – HPFC members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their Cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the Cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their Cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the Cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
  • Autonomy and independence – HPFC is an autonomous, self-help organization controlled by our members. If we enter into agreements with other organizations, including government, or raise capital form external sources, we do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
  • Education, Training, and Information – HPFC provides education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their Cooperative. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of Cooperatives.
  • Cooperation Among Cooperatives – HPFC and all Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the Cooperative movement by working together through local, nationa l, regional and international structures.
  • Concern for Community – HPFC and all Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.