Multi-stakeholder Cooperatives

Some cooperatives have multiple classes of members. This is sometimes called a multi-stakeholder cooperative. For example, one food cooperative in Sonoma County, California, has three classes: workers, farmers, and customers.  Having several classes of member can make the structuring of the cooperative complicated because it is necessary to determine how surplus and voting rights will be allocated among the classes.  These cooperatives are sometimes called hybrid co-ops or solidarity co-ops.  Quebec, Canada, has over 300 solidarity cooperatives.  One successful U.S. solidarity co-op is Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, North Carolina, where both consumers and workers are members. (See “Solidarity as a Business Model: A Multistakeholder Cooperatives Manual,” Cooperative Development Center (Kent State University)).

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