P6 is a national cooperative movement to build a fair food economy by promoting small, local, and cooperative producers.
P6 is a simple way to communicate information about the food on your co-op shelves. Products labeled P6 are made by small, local, cooperative producers. People around the country are shopping at grocery co-ops because they are looking for the best ways to support an equitable and transparent food economy. A P6 label helps customers think through the question “who is benefiting from my purchase?” and identify the products that meet our co-ops’ highest values.
We believe that small, local producers are the backbone of healthy and sustainable regional food systems everywhere. We believe cooperatives are a powerful model for creating economies based on equity, democracy, and community-based economic development nationally and internationally. That’s why P6 itself is a multi-stakeholder co-op that only co-op grocery stores and co-op food producers can join and own.
Through P6, we’re re-investing in the work that co-ops across the country have been doing for decades, which is building social justice and sustainability in the food system. Co-ops built the natural and organic marketplace, but over time incredible consolidation has occurred in our food system. Large corporations now own, control, and profit from a vast percentage of the natural and organic food industry. P6 examines ownership and control and redirects profit to producers who create the kind of food system we want to support by focusing on small, local, cooperative producers.
The exact definition of “small,” “local,” and “co-op” is tailored to each store’s local conditions. Each store develops a clear definition for each criteria and labels products in their store according to their own definitions with support from the P6 staff and peer co-ops. At all stores, a given product must meet at least two of the three criteria — small, local, co-op — in order to receive the P6 label. Each store’s employees carefully vet each potential P6 product to make sure it meets the spirit and definition of the P6 program.
P6 is a cooperative, owned by its retail and wholesale members. The P6 label will only be found at cooperative grocery stores. As cooperatives, our members exist to benefit their owners and communities, which goes beyond increasing the bottom line. P6 co-ops share a bold vision of equitable, transparent food systems and our members across the country learn from each other and leverage our collective impact. Our members are:
P6 gets its name from the 6th of the 7 International Cooperative Principles. The full principle is:
Principle Six: Cooperation among Cooperatives. Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
P6 is about more than changing spending patterns. P6 is about making the 6th cooperative principle real by building relationships, strengthening networks, developing new supply chains, exploring ingredient sourcing, opening deeper conversations, and searching out the untold stories in our food system.
P6 is about participation. We support customers, producers, and co-op staff to consider how their daily decisions can change the food system we build together.
If you’d like to bring P6 to your store or cooperative food producer, or you’d just like to learn more, contact P6 National Director Aaron Reser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.314.2012. You can sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter. Let us know what you’re thinking!
This video series was made with the generous support of the Farmers Advocating for Organics (FAFO) Fund.
Second Cloud On The Left Farm is a great part of the local food system in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. They were a recipient of the P6 Microloan program at Viroqua Food Co-op. Check out this great video by Deann Horack to learn more.
As we gear up for Perennial Plate’s video about P6, we’re highlighting some older Perennial Plate videos about P6 producers. Here’s one about Thousand Hills Cattle Company, a grass-fed beef producer in northern Minnesota. Thousand Hills beef is available and labeled P6 at Viroqua Food Co-op, Eastside Food Co-op, and Seward Community Co-op. This video is an interview with founder Todd Churchill about his philosophy on raising cattle in a healthy, humane way.