Co-op Movement

The 7 Principles of Co-operatives

Co-operatives are formed by people who have consciously chosen the co-operative business model in preference to a private company. Co-operatives are part of a tradition and seven fundamental principles have been identified. They are shared by co-operatives worldwide, and the wording here can be found on the website of Fair Trading NSW, the body that oversees the business activities of all co-ops and many other organisations in NSW.

1. Voluntary and open membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all who are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without discrimination.

2. Democratic member control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in the setting of policies and decision-making. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).

3. Member economic participation

Members contribute equally to the funds of the co-operative and control the allocation of surplus funds.

4. Autonomy and independence

Co-operatives are independent organisations controlled by their members. Any agreements entered into with other organisations must ensure democratic control by members and the co-operatives independence.

5. Education, training and 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-operative. They inform the public about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together.

7. Concern for community

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

Business Council of Co-ops and Mutuals

The co-operative movement is supported by a representative body, the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals. It was formed in 2013 and represents “Australia’s member and customer-owned businesses and peak industry groups”, who number 13 million members by the BBCM’s count.

The BCCM has also launched a .coop domain, only available to co-ops, so that we can distinguish ourselves on the web as democratically controlled businesses.

NSW Food Co-ops Conference

In July, Flame Tree and almost every other food co-op in NSW attended a co-ops conference, held at UTS in Sydney. It was buzzing with people keen to work together on issues large or small, practical, economic or theoretical, to help each other do what we do. We hope there will be another conference in July 2015.

Co-opHistoryFrontPageCo-op History of the Illawarra

Local sociologists Dr Mike Donaldson and Dr Nick Southall have written a book Illawarra Co-operatives: The First Hundred Years describing the growth of co-operative dairy farming in particular and the exploitation from the largely monopolised private milk distribution companies that drove the farmers to start their own distribution network. Click on the image for the entire book (40 pages, pdf).

Other Co-ops

Here is a list of food co-ops around Australia. (We’ve included ourselves so that if you’re copying and pasting, you don’t have to add us in for a complete list.)

New South Wales & ACT

Alfalfa House

113 Enmore Rd Enmore NSW 2042
Ph:  02 9519 3374 / Fax: 02 9565 5053

Bathurst Wholefood Co-operative

Shop 5  Macquarie Plaza  William St  Bathurst

The Beanstalk Organic Food

St Andrews Anglican Church, 31A Church Street Mayfield NSW 2304
Ph:       0431 995 312  (orders)
Email:  (enquiries)

Blue Mountains Food Co-op

Shops 1 & 2 Ha’penny Lane, Katoomba NSW 2780
Ph: 02 4782 5890

Broadway Food Co-op (UTS)

Building 2, Level 13 Room25 Broadway, Ultimo  2007
Ph:       02 9514 1418

Candelo Bulk Wholefoods Co-op Ltd

34 Church Street, Bega NSW 2550
Ph: 02 6492 2597

Fairy Wren Co-operative


Flame Tree Community Food Co-op

374 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul NSW 2515
Ph: 02 4267 5792

Manly Food Co-op

21B Whistler St Manly  2095
Ph: 02  9977 0177

Rhubarb Food C0-op

Randwick, NSW
PH:       0415 304 369 (Rebecca)

Thoughtful Foods Co-op

Shop 5C Roundhouse Lower Campus
University of NSW (Kensington) Sydney NSW 2052
Ph: 02 9385 6097

The University of Sydney Food Co-op

Level 4 Wentworth Building University of Sydney
Ph:   02 9563 6059

Upper Clarence District Co-op

18 Court Street Tabulam NSW 2469
Ph: 02 6666 1200

Australian Capital Territory

The Co-op Food Shop (formerly ANU Food Co-op)

Childers Street, next to The Street Theatre Acton ACT  2601
Ph:  02 6230 7505


Community Foods

74 Shields St Cairns QLD 4870
Ph:       07 4041 5335

Eco-bug Food Co-op

Building 21, Union Complex University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4067
Ph: 07 3377 2255

Hot Banana (Griffith Uni)

170 Kessels Rd Nathan QLD 4111
Ph:       07 37357603

Maple Street Co-op

37 Maple Street Maleny QLD 4552
Ph: 07 5494 2088


Friends of the Earth Food Co-op

312 Smith St Collingwood  3066
Ph:  03 9417 4382

The Pantry South Melbourne Co-op

Corner of Bank and Montague Streets 217 – 239 Montague St. South Melbourne Vic 3205
Ph: 03 9682 5282

Melbourne University Food Co-op

1st Floor, Union House Parkville, VIC 3010
Ph:  03 9347 8716
Web: in progress

 Organarchy (RMIT Food Co-op)

RMIT Building 8, Level 4 Swanston St
Melbourne 3000

SKOF (St Kilda Organic Food Cooperative Inc)

Ecocentre, St Kilda Botanical Gardens St Kilda  3182
Ph:  03 9534 0670


Source Community Wholefoods Co-op

School of Geography & Environmental Studies University of Tasmania
Locked bag 78 Hobart Tasmania 7001
Ph: 62240055

Hobarg Organic Food Co-op

225 Murray St, Hobart

Lorinna Larder

Lorinna 7306 (towards Cradle Mtn)
Ph: 03 63635030

Channel Living Food Co-op

3399 Channel Highway, Woodbridge

South Australia

Flinders Organic Food Co-op

Enviro Space, Flinders University Sturt Road Bedford Park SA 5001
Ph:       0434 823 534

Good Food Co-op (Clarence Park)

Clarence Park Community Centre 72-74 East Ave (Cnr East Ave & Canterbury Tce)
Black Forest SA 5035
Ph: 08 8293 8166 \ Fax: 08 8293 2886

Playford Community Food Co-op, Smithfield Plains Shopping Centre

Shop 3, 240 Peachey Road Smithfield Plains, SA 5114
Ph: 08 8254 3641

Elizabeth Downs

Shop 5, 4 Hamblynn Road, SA 5113
Ph: 08 8287 4299

Northern Territory

Planet Oganic Darwin Wholefoods

Shop 31 Charles Darwin University
Casuarina Campus NT 0810
Ph: 08 8946 7736