Member Agreement

Our Mission

The Bay Ridge Food Cooperative (BRFC) is a member-owned and member-operated cooperative whose aim is to provide quality, wholesome food and goods to its members at the lowest practical cost.  We strive to make BRFC membership welcoming and accessible to all residents of our diverse community and the surrounding areas.

BRFC’s products and business practices reflect the values and needs of its members, with emphasis placed on building community, promoting social and economic well-being and acting in an environmentally sensitive manner.

The seed has been planted. Help it grow.

A cooperative is a group of people working together for a common cause and building community in the process. As a member of the Co-op, your efforts are essential to our success. Your membership is vital to providing funding, labor, leadership and guidance to BRFC. We need you and your membership commitment, as well as your skills, energy and ideas, to help us move forward. When you sign this Member Agreement, you agree to BRFC’s terms. (Please note that membership terms will be further defined and revised by BRFC’s Board of Directors, committees and members as BRFC develops and its needs evolve.)

What does membership require?

Member equity

To join, each household member (aged 18 years and older) sharing in BRFC’s benefits must pay to BRFC (a) a one-time non-refundable administrative fee of $25 and (b) a one-time investment contribution of $175 that may be refundable upon withdrawing as a member and as further described from time to time in BRFC’s written policies.  These payments totaling $200 do not include any convenience fees provided for in connection with electronic or online payments elected by members.  Often members who leave BRFC choose to donate their investment to the Co-op.

A member’s investment in BRFC is just that, an investment.  In choosing to invest, members share risk and responsibility for the Co-op’s success.  Equity investment helps support our operations and development.  If a member requests a refund of equity upon leaving, it may not be immediate.  The amount and timing of refunds are determined by the Board of Directors, according to the Co-op’s fiscal health and other issues.  BRFC currently has a moratorium on membership equity refunds.  The moratorium will continue until the Co-op improves its financial position through increased membership and sales.

Reduced Equity Option

Persons participating in government-assisted programs who wish to become BRFC members may become members with a reduced equity option upon showing proof of eligibility and subject to BRFC’s other criteria as described below. The reduced equity membership share is $50 per adult household member, of which (a) $25 constitutes a one-time lifetime non-refundable contribution to BRFC and (b) $25 constitutes a contribution that may be refundable upon withdrawing as a member and as further described from time to time in BRFC’s written policies. Proof of eligibility for SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, WIC, Family Health Plus or Section 8 Housing is required.  Requests for use of the reduced equity option may be made at any time and are subject to approval by the Board of Directors or an approving body designated by the Board of Directors.

Work Responsibility

Running BRFC requires undertaking a wide variety of tasks.  BRFC operates markets regularly.  All active members are expected to work (approximately 3 hours/month and subject to the Co-op’s needs) to make them a success, or to take on other roles with BRFC as possible (such as a Board of Directors position, committee membership or other assistance with its startup operations). Persons with special needs or circumstances will be assigned to tasks that best accommodate their needs.  If a household member is unable to complete his or her work requirement, another household member or another BRFC member may work for him or her as described in the Co-op’s policies.

 Cooperation among cooperatives

BRFC and the Park Slope Food Cooperative (PSFC) currently are working together. Thus, a PSFC member who also is a BRFC member may satisfy PSFC work shift requirements (currently 2.75 hours every 4 weeks) through volunteer work done for BRFC.

 Termination of membership

If, at any time, you choose to terminate your membership, the refundable portion of your membership fees may be returned upon written request and subject to approval of the Board of Directors.

The Board reserves the right to terminate membership of an individual or a collective household at any time for reasons such as theft, violence, or harassment of staff members or shoppers.

General Release and Waiver of Liability

The undersigned member acknowledges that (a) member contributions are subject to risks inherent in any start-up enterprise such as BRFC (and such risks may lead to the loss of part or all such contributions (including, at least until opening of a store location, both the non-refundable portion and the refundable portion thereof)) and (b) membership equity investments are subordinate to all other BRFC debts.

A BRFC officer, director or other designee keeps a record of all membership investments and will provide an accounting of such funds to any member upon written request. Membership equity will not be entitled to dividends and will not be transferable.

The undersigned (a) acknowledges that he or she has read and understands, and specifically agrees, to the terms and conditions of this Member Agreement, (b) agrees to release BRFC from any liability associated with the loss of all or part of his or her equity in BRFC, and (c) certifies by his or her signature below that he or she is at least 18 years of age and has full mental capacity to enter into the Agreement.

Becoming a member-owner

Please choose a payment plan and complete this Membership Agreement.  Various forms of payment will be accepted from time to time. All investments include a $25 non-refundable administrative fee.  Payment is per adult household member 18 years and older.

Plan A:                                    $200 payment in full (one-time lump-sum payment)

Plan B:                                    $50 initial payment $50/quarter until $200 membership paid in full

Plan C:                                    $25 initial payment, $25/month until $200 membership paid in full

Plan D:                                    $30 initial payment, $17/month until $200 membership paid in full

Plan E:                                    $30 initial payment, $10/month until $200 membership paid in full

Plan F  (Reduced Equity)*:       $10 initial payment, $10/year until $50 membership paid in full                                                             *This option requires documentation as described above.

I certify that I am at least 18 years of age and have full mental capacity to enter into the Agreement.