The Co-op

The Belfast Community Co-op is a full-service market with a wide array of items and services. No matter what you’re looking for when you come through our doors, we’re happy to help you find it. Never been inside a co-op before? We’d love to show you around! We’re passionate about what we do.
The Belfast Community Co-op carries:

  • The freshest produce, sourced from area farmers as much as possible
  • Locally-raised dairy and meats grown and processed here in the Midcoast
  • Baked goods from Maine’s best bakeries, made with the finest ingredients
  • Vitamins, herbal supplements, homeopathics and natural body care items to meet all budgets
  • Cleaning supplies and goods to keep a healthy home
  • Grains, beans, spices and other essential pantry goods, packaged and in bulk
  • Delicious prepared foods like sandwiches, salads, and ready-to-eat meals made in house from scratch
  • Organic, gluten-free, nut-free, keto, paleo, vegan and other specialty foods
  • An international selection of sauces, snacks, and treats
  • Curated wines, craft beers and ciders, including local, GF and sustainable options.

Stop in to talk to us about cooking, health or taking care of the planet! The Co-op is your neighborhood resource, a place to find information and connect with others.

For your convenience, use our Shop for Me curbside pick-up program. Whether you’re juggling kids, immune-compromised or just in a rush, you can place your Belfast Community Co-op order online and let us do your shopping for you!

The Belfast Community Co-op takes great pride in knowing our farmers and vendors by name: supporting local farms and small businesses is at the heart of what we do, and is key to fostering a resilient food system.

Top Five Facts about the Belfast Community Co-op
  1. We are owned by you, our community. That makes us an alternative to big corporations and chain stores. Buying from us means supporting an independent retailer whose first priority is you.
  2. While everyone is welcome to shop, eat and hang out at the Co-op, our owners receive added benefits including discounts and dividends, and can vote on decisions that shape the future of the store. Becoming an owner is easy and affordable!
  3. We have a mission: to give you the food you need and want. We buy from area farmers and producers, support a thriving local food economy and provide wholesome, good quality food for all.
  4. Transparency matters to us. We tell our customers exactly what we’re doing and why, and we want to hear from you so we can meet your needs.
  5. We care for our workers and our customers alike, and want all to feel welcome and respected.

When you shop at a co-op, you are buying into a better world: a democratic food system that makes the planet a more equitable and sustainable place for all. The Belfast Community Co-op is here for you so that everyone will always have reliable, safe access to good local food.

What does it mean that we are a cooperative?

Food co-ops are similar to regular grocery stores in many ways, but it’s the differences that make co-ops special! We believe that eating well is just the beginning of what people achieve when we work together.

The Basics of Co-ops

A co-op is founded and organized by people who want goods or services provided to them through a democratically-controlled enterprise. It is owned by the people who support the business, use it, and invest equity into it. The member/owners share equally in the control of their cooperative and generally meet once a year at an annual meeting. They elect a board of directors and the directors in turn hire management to run the day-to-day affairs of the co-op. Owners invest in the business to provide capital (i.e., equity) for strong, efficient operation. Any financial surplus from owner sales is returned to the co-op owners in proportion to their purchases or is reinvested in the business.

Co-operative Values

Co-operatives are based on the values of responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity, honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

For additional info, visit the International Cooperative Alliance.

The Seven Co-op Principles

1) Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organizations, 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.

2) Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organizations 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 co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.

3) Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. 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 co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4) Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5) Education, Training, & Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6) Cooperation Among Co-ops

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7) Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

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