Volunteer in your co-op

Enhance your Co-op Membership — Participate at the Davis Food Co-op!

People own, use, serve, and belong to the Davis Food Co-op.

OWN. Participation as an owner fundamental in the life of the co-op. This includes giving input on long term strategic direction, providing capital, attending annual meetings and voting for the board, and monitoring progress to make sure the co-op is properly benefiting owners. Some of this you can do every day, but investing or voting are usually only needed once a year.

USE. The co-op offers goods and services meant to be used. People help the co-op accomplish its goals by shopping here, being an employee, being a vendor, or even being a lender. This is high-frequency participation, and it provides owners a chance to give feedback about how well the co-op is meeting its stakeholders’ needs and how it can improve. For our part, we try to help you connect your individual choices to our collective impact. We do that by letting you know how your use makes a difference, and how it's part of our greater strategic goals, such as our Ends policies.

SERVE. Highlighting the co-op’s collective impact shows that when you participate as owners and use the co-op to meet their needs, you're also being of service to the cooperative. The co-op provides other opportunities for service. For example, a co-op needs people to serve as its leaders. It needs a board of directors, management and staff who are willing to serve the community. At a much broader level, anyone can serve the co-op by telling its story or by participating in an advocacy campaign.

BELONG. Our co-op is part of our community, and many of us find that our community enhances our well-being. Members feel good about our business thriving, about having access to good food, about efforts to make our food system more sustainable and improve the environment, about the education we offer and receive, and about employing local people who're motivated and satisfied by working here. Operating a retail store is our primary activity, and that allows you and us to do more than sell food. We own it, and we're stronger together.

Discounts for working members

Co-op members ages eighteen and over can choose to participate in the company they own. Working member households receive a discount of five percent off the shelf price on their Co-op purchases for each month that they participate (as compared to all other “active” members, who pay the shelf price). Household members between 15 and 18 should contact us about Co-op Hands-On Work Training.

If yours is a household of one or two adults, you will be required to participate for two hours each month to receive your working members' discount. Larger households volunteer additional hours each month to receive their discount.

A member who can volunteer on a regular weekly schedule may enhance their membership benefits by participating in our Superwork program. Most Superworkers spend four hours per week (depending on household size) in a variety of skilled and very-skilled tasks. Superworker households receive a sixteen and a half percent discount.

Some members participate in the office, others stock products on shelves in the mornings, still others help our elected Directors on a task force. We do restrict some members (e.g. former employees cannot move directly from paid work to the same tasks as a volunteer), and we reserve the right to decline the services of volunteer members, based on past shopping, volunteer, or employment history. We try to make reasonable accommodation for a wide range of abilities—please contact the Membership Director for more information.

We’re also looking for members who would like to earn Working Member credit by joining our Member Linkage Task Force. After attending an Orientation, please contact our Membership Linkage Task Force Chair for more information.

Member Orientation

If you are interested in becoming a working member, we ask that you attend a Member Orientation. Please look under "Cook & Learn" above for the Events Calendar, which lists upcoming Orientations. We hold from one to three sessions per month, depending on the season. They're almost always on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday nights, at 6 PM in our Conference Room.

Our Orientations cover what a co-op is, some co-op history, what difference we seek to make, the store layout, and some of the process for starting to participate in operations or governance. You'll have a chance to ask questions, pick up brochures, and learn a lot more about your co-op. We'll also make appointments for those interested in safety and sanitation information, what steps to take next, and what particular tasks we think we most need help with now. You cannot participate in store operations without completing the Orientation, and subsequent appointment. We try to make both fast-moving & cooperative; the first session lasts 90 minutes, while the appointment should be done in 40 minutes.

"Volunteer" or "Participate?"

There are legal definitions of "volunteer," and there are practical ones. Member participation in operations is NOT required in our co-op; participants DO enhance their membership benefits. Practically, most prospective participants understand "volunteer," so we use that word when communicating with a general audience. We tend not to use it much once people attend an Orientation, to make it clear that this program is not available to the general public, and is only for member-owners.