The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) defines a cooperative as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise” ( According to the ICA, cooperatives are guided by values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity, as well as honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others. This approach is reinforced by seven co-op principles: (1) voluntary and open membership, (2) democratic member control, (3) member economic participation, (4) autonomy and independence, (5) education, training, and information, (6) cooperation among cooperatives, and (7) concern for community. The principle addressing education and information highlights the importance of democratic and participatory knowledge practices. Concern for community is shorthand for a commitment to ...

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