Mission & Principles

The mission of High Country Cooperation (HCC) is to promote grassroots economies and inclusive community development based upon the values of cooperation, democracy, justice, and sustainability.



The principles of HCC are to:

1. Build diverse community economies that meet the needs of everyone in our region.

We believe economies should serve to ensure good livelihoods and a secure future for all based upon dignified, creative and fulfilling work, quality care for our children, elders and other vulnerable people, strong community ties, and the leisure to enjoy ourselves and spend time with those we care about. We aim for sufficiency rather than growth; beyond a certain point growth does not contribute to greater health and happiness, and is not sustainable. Many different economies in our area contribute to this goal, and make our communities strong and resilient.

2. Promote cultures of cooperation and revitalize commitments to the common good.

Cooperation, trust, mutual support, sharing, and reciprocity are the foundations of economies that help everyone. Working together for the common good makes stronger communities. HCC builds upon existing cultures of cooperation in transforming our people, our laws, and our institutions to support the expansion of community economies across the High Country.

3. Foster social justice and inclusive community development.

Virtually everyone can play a significant part in their communities, and no one should be excluded from access to the means to provide for themselves, or a say in what happens where they live. Further, diversity strengthens our communities. HCC promotes inclusive economies that benefit everyone in the High Country, regardless of gender, race, class, religion, sexuality, age, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, or national origin, including those previously incarcerated.

4. Nurture authentic democracy.

HCC recognizes that economic democracy is required for political democracy to flourish. Participatory and inclusive democracy depends upon ordinary people coming together to make meaningful decisions for the common good, including those about local economies. We work to build economies that strengthen inclusive local democracy, and self-government which build grassroots economies responsive to the needs and the will of the people of our region.

5. Center ecological sustainability.

Because we are dependent upon the natural world, livelihoods are not and cannot be placed in opposition to local or global environments. Healthy economies rest on the foundation of ecological restoration and meeting human needs sustainably. HCC incorporates this understanding into all aspects of our work.

6. Revive the commons.

We believe that the power of a community to meet its needs rests in part on its ability to protect, maintain, and create new forms of shared resources, or common wealth. The commons includes physical as well as non-physical resources, such as knowledge, youth, leadership, land, the natural environment, community institutions, and cultural traditions. HCC works to promote a participatory approach to the commons in our community.

7. Cultivate community.

Strong communities are the basis of strong community economies. By cultivating our social ties and creating networks and connections within our communities, we generate an environment of mutual trust and support. These common bonds are valuable in themselves as well as for our economies. By recognizing our interdependence and working together, we create reciprocity in our communities and satisfaction in ourselves.

8. Encourage localization.

Strong local economies benefit the entire community and region. People living in the High Country know how best to utilize their local resources, talents, and knowledge, and should be the beneficiaries of these resources. By focusing on local policies, markets, and cultural practices, residents can work and make decisions together for the common good of our community. A localized economy increases resilience by keeping production and surplus within the community, while reducing dependency on external resources or financing.

9. Promote and conserve local heritage and cultures.

Cooperative economies in the High Country must respect existing cultures while being open to new and diverse cultural expressions, when both are compatible with our other principles. The equitable exchange of knowledge and skills between traditional populations, new residents, and future generations is a vital and transformative feature of community enrichment. A highly integrated and collaborative society enables the survival of local heritage and acceptance of new customs and ideas.

10. Share with others beyond our region.

While we emphasize localizing our economies, HCC encourages cooperation and interdependence on all levels, from regional to global. Healthy, localized economies give our community the capability to communicate and share with surrounding areas in the region. Cooperation in the High Country maintains identity and strength at home, while also allowing the community to promote a global vision of shared responsibility and reciprocity.