We started by opening a community grocery store, but the cooperative can become much more than that to help solve social and economic problems beyond just food consumption. That's why we registered the cooperative as a multi-sector cooperative, which will have several sectors of activity: the “consumer sector”, which manages the grocery store, is the only one that is currently active, but in the future we hope to open sectors for agriculture, commercialization, culture, services, and even housing.
This means that we can integrate all kinds of projects areas that, in the long term, provide our community of members with a democratic tool to develop a community-based, cooperative economy.
When a new member joins Rizoma, they have to choose which sector they want to join, and for each one there is a minimum of social titles they have to participate with. But that's for later! For now, there is only the consumer sector which requires a minimum of 3 shares (5€ each).
Organization and decision process
The core of Rizoma's organization are its working groups (or grupos de trabalho, “GT” for short). In each GT there is a representative, who has the role of the GT spokesperson at the monthly General Meetings, and a coordinator, who represents the GT in the also-monthly Coordination Circle. Each GT determines how it distributes responsibilities and makes decisions, ideally through the consent of all active GT members.
At least once a month, during the General Meeting, decisions about the organization of Rizoma are made jointly by consent. All Rizoma members are welcome to attend this meeting and help make decisions.
Twice a year, Rizoma members meet in a General Assembly, where topics such as the annual budget, the strategic plan and possible changes to the general internal rules and statutes are decided. The quorum for the General Assembly is 50% of active members and decisions are made by a qualified majority of 3⁄4 of votes.
The working groups (GT): Café, Community & External Communication, Space, Finance, Governance, IT, Members & Internal Communication, Products