Our worker cooperative model

Pictured above:

La Siembra's 2014/2015 Board of Directors (Renato, Mélanie, Kelly, Brian, Isabel)

Why is La Siembra a worker co-op? What does this mean?

Since our modest beginnings, we have recognized the critical role that the co-operative plays within the Fair Trade model in assisting individuals, their families and their communities to improve their standard of living. We choose to identify with our producer partners by adopting the same model that they follow in their own co-operatives – one of democracy, participation and transparency. 

There are different types of co-operatives and for our organisation we chose the worker co-operative model. This means that employees are also owners of La Siembra.  Members (also called “worker-owners”) participate democratically in the governance of the company under the principal of “one member, one vote”.  Membership is open and voluntary and requires that workers (a) invest in the co-op financially and (b) participate in its governance. 

Beyond the basics, our worker co-operative structure has enabled La Siembra to attract a team of individuals who are not only passionate about Fairtrade and Organic foods, but who are also passionate in their ideas of how a “good business” should be run.  Our membership is instrumental in shaping the mission, vision, values and strategic direction of the co-operative. 

Our model is one of joint entrepreneurship.  Our staff is a crackerjack team of co-entrepreneurs!

What are the benefits?


  • Have a vote in member meetings;
  • Are entitled to run for board elections; and, 
  • Have the opportunity to participate in key organizational decisions.

We agree with the Ontario Co-operative Association that "co-ops are cool". Click here to learn why!

Did you know that four in ten Canadians are members of a co-operative? This exceptional rate of participation in the co-operative economy includes everything from banking with your local credit union to buying everyday items such as food and gas from a co-operative business. 


Co-operative trade relations account for more than 70% of our purchases and close to 50% of our total sales.

La Siembra Co-operative is a member of the Ontario Worker Co-op Federation (OWCF), On Co-op, The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF), the Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario (CCO) and Cooperativas sin Fronteras. 


La Siembra Co-operative guiding principles

Fair Trade: We promote trading partnerships based on fairness, dialogue, transparency and respect in the pursuit of greater equity in international trade.
Vibrant communities:  We support sustainable community development through a commitment to organic/shade grown sourcing and Fair Trade practices. 
Inter co-operation: We prioritize partnerships with other co-operatives at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Open membership: Membership is voluntary and non-discriminatory.
Democratic control:  Every member has one vote.
Economic participation:  Every member contributes equitably to the co-operative and participates in the democratic control of the co-op’s social capital.

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