The Loyal to Local Community Agriculture Cooperative is a farmer-created and member-run organization working to improve access to locally grown food. The Co-op strives to make local food more accessible to families, local businesses, and institutions, and builds collaboration amongst farmers and the community.
To accomplish those goals, we provide an online marketplace, distribution coordination, and marketing support in order for local farmers to expand their markets and sell more locally-produced food within our community.
Our marketing efforts include general education and awareness-raising about the value of eating local food and supporting local farmers, and we encourage buyers to honor their commitments to their current local suppliers. We're also collaborating with our community's chefs, groceries, and schools, to bring more farm-fresh foods into local businesses and institutions.
What is a cooperative?
Simply put, a cooperative is a business owned and democratically governed by its members. What that means is that unlike a corporation, our purpose isn’t to accumulate profits for investors, but rather to meet the goals and aspirations of the Bitterroot community. Any surplus we generate is reinvested in the business or returned to our owners at the end of the fiscal year. Owners have a say in how Loyal to Local conducts business and the services & support it provides.
What sets us apart is the way we directly cultivate and sustain a local economy right here in the Bitterroot Valley. When you spend dollars as a Loyal to Local customer, they stay in farm fields down the road and commercial kitchens around the corner. We’re proud of the way co-ops have transformed how people think about food and farming, and are working to get the Valley's freshest food to your table.
7 Cooperative Principles
Food co-ops and co-ops around the world are guided by the same 7 basic principles. We follow these principles to provide value to our owners, our community and to help change the model of how business can be done. We’re proud to be a co-op!
Voluntary and Open Membership
Democratic Member Control
Member Economic Participation
Autonomy and Independence
Education, Training and Information
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Concern for Community
What are the advantages of a cooperative vs. other business forms?
Cooperatives are unique to other corporations because they have three distinguishing principles: user-owned, user-controlled and user-benefited. The user-owned principle signifies that the users (buyers and producers) are the ones who are financing the cooperative by transacting business. User-controlled means that the Board of Directors is elected by the members of the cooperative and serves as the link between the membership and the manager. User-benefited indicates that the members are the ones profiting from the cooperative because patronage refunds are returned to the members based on the amount of business they conducted with the cooperative. The uniqueness of cooperatives is that the customers, owners, patrons and members could be the same person.
Who can be a member of a cooperative?
Great news! Anyone can be a member of Loyal to Local - customers, producers, interested community members - literally anyone! A one-time purchase of common share stock or preferred stock must be purchased to become a member. Once a member, producers can sell any of their Bitterroot Valley or Greater Montana produced products through the Co-op and have full access to our customer base. Customer and community members are not required to purchase an owner share to have full access to all of the products sold through through the Co-op, but may do so if they choose. As owners, customers and community members are invited to attend Co-op meetings and encouraged to participate in decision making, and share the same benefits as all other owner share holders.