The Rochdale Pioneers were a group of 28 working-class men from the town of Rochdale in England who are considered to be the founders of the modern cooperative movement. In 1844, the Rochdale Pioneers established the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, which was a consumer cooperative that aimed to provide high-quality, affordable food to its members.
The Rochdale Pioneers were motivated by the poor quality and high prices of the food that was available in Rochdale at the time, and they sought to create an alternative model of food distribution that was based on the principles of cooperation and fairness. They faced many challenges and obstacles, but they were determined to succeed and to create a better way of doing business.
The Rochdale Pioneers are considered to be the founders of the cooperative movement because they were the first to put into practice the seven cooperative principles, which are a set of guidelines that outline the values and operating principles of cooperatives. These principles include voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education and training, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community.
The Rochdale Pioneers' success inspired the formation of other cooperatives around the world, and their legacy continues to influence the cooperative movement today.