Principle Six - A Cooperative Trade Movement

Principle 6 Cooperative Trade Movement from Principle Six on Vimeo.

Shop Your Values with P6

Principle Six (P6) is a national initiative to promote small farmers/producers, cooperative businesses and local farmers/producers. P6 food co-ops promote “cooperation among cooperatives” and work together to leverage the power of cooperatives to build a sustainable, alternative food economy in alignment with our shared values.

Products with a “P6” label found in the store meet at least two of these three criteria: small Second Cloud on the Left P6farmers/producers, local farmers/producers and cooperative or nonprofit businesses. One of the biggest players in creating a just, sustainable food system is you, the consumer. P6 works to engage consumers at the shelf level to think more carefully about who is behind their food choices, whether it’s the farmers at Harmony Valley fifteen miles down the road who brought you your root vegetables, or the fair-trade cacao producers from cooperatives thousands of miles away in the Dominican Republic who grew the ingredients for in your Equal Exchange chocolate bar. Where does your dollar go at the end of the day? Who does it benefit?  The Viroqua area boasts an abundance of P6 farms and the Driftless region is cooperative country. VFC has identified over 1,000 existing P6 products.

Food co-ops are resilient because members are invested in the business and the values. Use the power of your consumer dollar to support a values-based community, economy, and food system. Read more about our P6 producers in the blog below.

P6 Producer Profiles

What is P6?

Principle Six (P6) is a new initiative which promotes small farmers/producers, cooperative businesses, and local farmers/producers in food co-ops across the country! P6 empowers consumers to use their purchasing dollars to create an economy that embodies our highest values.

What are the criteria for P6?

If a producer/farmer meets at least two of the three following criteria, their products receive the P6 label:

  • Local: A product grown or produced within 100 miles of the VFC, or having value added within that radius.
  • Cooperative/nonprofit: Cooperative ownership of the business, nonprofit status or the business sources the majority of their product’s ingredients from cooperatives or nonprofits. Some ESOP’s, Social Ventures, or alternative business models may qualify.
  • Small farmer/producer: Small producer is defined using these guidelines: 
    A) Independently owned and operated, and 
    B) Selling direct to store or through a regional distributor.
        For international producers, Equal Exchange defines small producers according to the guidelines established by Fairtrade Labelling Organization (

How can I tell which products are P6?

Look for P6 labels on the shelf (see "Wisconsin Meadows" story sign below), stickers on deli and produce products and ask any VFC staff member.

How can I tell if a P6 item is local?

In many cases, the P6 shelf tag will include a checked box for local. P6 may sometimes replace the local label because a significant majority of local items qualify for P6.

Are other co-ops doing this?

Currently, there are seven other member stores across the United States participating:

Bloomingfoods Co-op (Bloomington, IN)
Eastside Food Co-op (Minneapolis, MN)
Ozark Natural Foods (Fayetteville, AR)
Seward Co-op (Minneapolis, MN)
Three Rivers Market (Knoxville, TN)

Where can I get more information about P6?

Information is available at and look for signage and additional information on P6 throughout the store.