Member Responsibility

Fertile Ground Food Cooperative Member Responsibilities:

(1) Providing the Necessary Capital. Each member must provide a portion of equity capital and pay a portion of interest on borrowed capital.

(2) Controlling the Cooperative. Members elect the co-op board of directors and should make sure that the board's policy decisions are in the best interest of all members.

(3) Patronizing the Cooperative. Members join the co-operative for mutual benefit, which can result only when each member provides maximum patronage. Co-op members, you, should use all cooperative services that fit your needs.

(4) Assuming Business Risks. Operating any business, including cooperatives, involves risks. Co-op members bear these risks in proportion to their equity and patronage.

(5) Paying the Costs of Operation. Members share their cooperative's benefits in proportion to the amount of business each does with the cooperative. The actual cost of operating the cooperative must be covered before any patrons receive refunds. Therefore, each member shares in the cost of operating the cooperative in direct proportion to his patronage.

(6) Keeping Informed. Members have a responsibility for keeping informed on the facts about their cooperative. Members should understand the nature, purpose, organization and operation of cooperatives to effectively use them as a business tool.

(7) Keeping Realistic Expectations. Members should recognize the cooperative's possibilities and limitations and not expect more than it can deliver.

(8) Remaining Loyal to the Co-op. Each member should give the cooperative complete loyalty and support, based on good performance and effective communication. Members should avoid an apathetic attitude, which can cause the selection of an indifferent or inactive board. Such a result could lead to one-person control by the manager.

(9) Allowing Manager to Manage. Through the board of directors, members should allow the manager adequate latitude in performing duties and in using his or her judgment and experience.

(10) Maintaining the Cooperative. Each member is obligated to maintain the cooperative by: a) Continuing to support it during temporary adverse conditions, such as low market prices and price wars. b) Bringing new members into the cooperative whenever feasible. c) Taking suggestions and criticism to the board or to membership meetings, rather than airing them on the street corners. d) Abiding by majority rule in decisions affecting the cooperative, even when personally disagreeing. e) Serving on the board of directors or committees when called on to do so.

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