How Equal Exchange Saves Lives on Everything Coop on 12/18/2014

LJ TaylorToday at 10:30am on WOL 1450 AM, Vernon Oakes interviews L.J. Taylor, Board Chair for Equal Exchange. Vernon and LJ will discuss governance and management of Equal Exchange, as related to the core cooperative principles and practices.

LJ Taylor is one of the 117 worker-owners of Equal Exchange. He is both a sales person (based in central Virginia), and Chair of the company’s Board of Directors. LJ has broad experience in the co-op economy outside of Equal Exchange, as well. He has served as Board Chair of the Co-op Fund of New England, a non-profit lender that provides financing for co-operatives across the Northeast, and has worked at Weaver Street food Co-op in Chapel Hill, NC.. LJ has also helped in the formation of the Independents Coffee Cooperative in Philadelphia.

During this holiday season Equal Exchange offers an opportunity for people to be socially responsible while impacting the lives of so many people in the Congo, by one simple act of kindness. When a gift is purchased from Equal Exchange the lives of five groups of people are impacted at one time. Click Here to see selections and learn more about how you can participate in this solution. If the promotion code of voakes is used on a purchase order before January 31, 2015, a 10% discount will be issued on the customer’s first order.

Equal Exchange is a specialty food worker-owned co-operative headquartered in Massachusetts, that sources coffee, chocolate, tea and more from small farmer cooperatives all over the world. They helped introduce the Fair Trade concept to the US coffee industry in the late 1980s and today sell a wide-variety of organic, Fair Trade goods including coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas and other foods. Their pioneering work helped to jump-start the Fair Trade category in the US, now worth over $2 billion annual.

Vernon Oakes is President of Oakes Management Inc. As President, he has renovated and managed his own properties, and those owned by other entities since 1985. Mr. Oakes is the immediate Past President of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, and serves on several boards to advance the interests of cooperatives. He also formerly served as coordinator of the MBA program at Howard University, and is an MBA graduate of Stanford University, who has used his business acumen to benefit the community by providing quality housing for all populations. Vernon is a consummate advocate for cooperatives.

If you missed the last week’s interview with Beth Ann Caspersen, Quality Control Manager for Equal Exchange, Click Here!

Solidarity Economy Summit on Saturday

In the face of growing economic inequity and environmental devastation, we are called to come together to reimagine and rebuild our economy based on the values of equity, democracy, cooperation, self-determination, and sustainability. Please come to Impact Hub DC (419 7th St NW) on Saturday 12/6 to take part in a conversation with local activists, leaders and community members about how we can build a movement for a solidarity economy in Washington, DC, which is in many ways the heart of the current economic system that is failing us and our planet.

Saturday, December 6: Solidarity Economy Summit

2:30pm: Doors Open

3:30 – 3:50: Welcome

3:50 – 5:00: Deepening Democracy, Broadening Ownership: What are the models?

  • Farming Cooperatives
  • Participatory Budgeting
  • Community Land Trusts / Limited Equity Housing Coops
  • Public Banking
  • Worker Cooperatives
  • Healthcare
  • Time Bank
  • Prison Reentry
  • Accountable Policing
  • Transformative Finance
  • Environmental Justice

5:05 – 5:30: Learning from Natural Systems

5:30 – 5:40: People’s Platform

5:40 – 6:10: Break Out Groups

6:10 – 6:40: Report backs and next steps

6:40 – 6:55: Culture in our Organizing

7:00 – 8:00: Music, Video, Art, Solidarity Economy Market

To see a list of organizing groups and register for the event, please click here. We ask that those who are able to donate $10-20 please do so to keep this event free for others. To find and join the Facebook event, click here. Parents who need childcare should email by noon on 11/5 with the number and ages of kids that need care, and any special needs. Please note that the schedule listed in this email is the most up-to-date version–the event will take place 2:30 to 8, and NOT 11 to 5.

CPA Coop hiring

We have 500 kW of solar under development and have helped more than 100 organizations save nearly $1,000,000 on operating costs over the past few years. We’re looking to triple our size and hire a 2nd staff person to help us grow.
We’re looking to hire a mid-level person with some experience and who understands organizing, but with an appetite to grow and learn.
The job is based in DC and we’re looking for applications by mid December with somebody to start in February. 

Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth

New Democracy Collaborative Report: A New Anchor Mission for a New Century
Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth

Across the country, community foundations are adopting innovative strategies to catalyze community economic development and drive transformative local investment. This is a new anchor mission, using their placed based resources to build community wealth.

Why are these community foundations moving in this direction? What exactly are they doing? In our new report, Democracy Collaborative Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly and Community Development Associate Violeta Duncan explore how community foundations are moving beyond simply disbursing grants toward a leadership or catalytic role in economic development, and are moving beyond paper returns in their asset portfolios to locally focused experiments in impact investing.

Through on-the-ground stories, A New Anchor Mission for a New Century examines the motives guiding this work, as well as the benefits, barriers, strategies employed, and steps involved in getting started. We share thoughts from leaders in the field on how this work might best evolve over time, and highlight the trailblazing work of 30 representative community foundations—the “Innovative 30.”

Download and read the report now

And make sure to join Marjorie Kelly and Violeta Duncan on Thursday, December 4th, at 2PM EST, for a national launch webinar exploring the conclusions of the report and highlighting exciting best practices from community foundations across the country.

Alexandria VA bike coop on the radio today

Christian Myers, Founder of Velocity Bike Shop Appears on Everything Coop on 11/6/2014

Tune in to WOL 1450 AM, tomorrow, on November 6, at 10:30 a.m. for Everything Coop, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon Interviews Christian Myers, Founder and Manager of Velocity Bike Shop. Vernon and Christian will discuss training programs, new initiatives, and the business behind the bike coop.

The mission of the Velocity Bike Shop Cooperative is to educate, encourage, and empower a vibrant and inclusive cycling community through learning. The Coop provides a non-profit, volunteer-run, educational do-it-yourself workshop offering training, rides, and events to empower all levels of cyclists in building, maintaining, and embracing the fun of bicycles.

To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio

Congratulations, Jessica Gordon Nembhard!

Jessica Gordon Nembhard has been awarded the Oni Award at this year’s International Black Women’s Congress:

The Oni Award symbolizes the essence of all that is good in African People. The word ONI is taken from the Ife culture of Nigeria. It represents a spiritual force that protects the people.  A recipient of the Oni Award has been identified as someone who protects, defends and enhances the general well-being of African people. A recipient of the ONI is diligent, persistent and uncompromising. We like to think of her as our unsung heroine.

Read her recent article “The Cooperative Solution”:

Cooperative businesses are also stable, community-based business anchors: Cooperative businesses have higher survival rates than traditional corporations and small businesses after the first year of startup and after five years in business. In addition, evidence shows that cooperatives successfully address the effects of crises and survive crises better than other types of enterprises.

From the employment angle, cooperatives, especially worker cooperatives, create not just jobs, but high-quality jobs. They tend to lead their industries in wage levels and benefits. In addition, as owners of the business, worker-owners share in the surplus (or profits) of the enterprise. Many worker cooperatives provide annual dividends to worker-owners, which increase the compensation level and also symbolize the member’s ownership. They enable their owners to not only generate income, but accumulate assets—equity in the cooperative—promoting economic independence.

Read the full article here:


New Book on Community, Cooperation and the Commons

Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good is an overview of the commons heritage which unearths and identifies pivotal commons practices within self-organizing, self-governing and self-informing principles, and brings them to the forefront of society today.

Students will find two comprehensive chapters on the Tragedy of the Commons, as well as eight specific capacity building practices and a manifesto exploring eight historical frames for current activism.

This overview is intended for students studying economics, politics, sociology, environmentalism, and history. Rich in historical detail, Reclaiming the Commons uncovers a denigrated piece of history, selectively culls elements that could be usefully revived today and ends with a vision in which some promising current initiatives, such as permaculture and the Occupy Movement, take on a deeper significance.

Heather Menzies is an award-winning writer and scholar and the author of nine books, including Whose Brave New World? and No Time. She has been awarded an honourary doctorate and the Order of Canada for her “contributions to public discourse.” A mother and grandmother, a gardener and social-justice activist, Heather regularly contributes to journals and newspapers, and is in high demand as a speaker, offering a thoughtful critique of our disintegrating social fabric.

Praise for Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

“It’s an admirable, even noble, vision, and expresses very eloquently what will have to be done if humanity is to escape the current race towards disaster. There’s not much time, and it’s a huge risk. I hope that this book has the impact it deserves.”
—Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, political theorist, MIT

“When the great Crash, ecologic or economic, comes, Heather Menzies’ brilliant critique, provides an understanding of why it came about and a path towards a truly sustainable way for humanity to live on the planet.”
—David Suzuki, author, Wisdom of the Elders and The Sacred Balance