In the summer of 1844, nine folks in #Rochdale, England (just outside Manchester) in the midst of crippling poverty, overpriced and rampantly tainted, adulterated food met to discuss the possibility of a “cooperative society” that that would provide “pure foods” at decent prices. Their store opened Christmas day less than 6 months later after the “Pioneers” began setting aside 3 pence/each per week to capitalize the business. Their store at 31 Toad Lane in Rochdale & more generally their principles of cooperation would become the template for modern consumer food coops and, indeed, the principle-backbone of the global cooperative sector that employees more people than all transnational corporations combined. #yesthatstrue
It started small but with mighty #dreams. From 9 people in a political discussion cranking simple savings math they dreamed of a store, coop housing, coop factories, coop wholesale distribution, a coop hotel, and coop land ownership (in order to achieve their rights to vote). Before opening up, their numbers grew to 28 members. They opened selling only flour, butter, sugar, and oats- and were only open two evenings a week. But before even opening, before they even registered the “Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers,” they experimented by pooling their pennies to buy a bulk sack of untainted flour to divide amongst themselves at cost. Small victories capitalized through thrift and self-help led to renewed cooperative commitment and expanding operational horizons. They would go on to achieve all of their initial dreams save the coop hotel, and their wholesale coop has become what folks in the UK know as Coop Food stores, which are countrywide and beyond.
I honor these pioneers of the #goodfoodmovement
I work to earn the right to climb atop their shoulders by taking small steps to help provide pure food- albeit with #overallsstyle