In DC, there have been extensive discussions about implementing the Cleveland Evergreen Coop model here. At DC Coop Day, Steve Dubb from the Democracy Collaborative at University of Maryland updated us on these discussions. The Cleveland Evergreen Coop model includes a commercial laundry, and solar energy business, and a greenhouse. Similar and new businesses are being explored in the DC metro area, tied to anchor institutions such as universities and hospitals that would agree to contract with the new coops for these services. A feasibility study has been conducted on behalf of a group of foundations in the area, and plans are being finalized to identify a local sponsor for further exploration of this model. The Consumer Health Foundation posts updated information on this project on a regular basis. In addition to the main page, explore the videos on the left tab to see videos from the coops in Cleveland and other information.
Coop DC members Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo and Johanna Bockman will be on WPFW this morning around 11am. Councilmember and former mayor Marion Barry is scheduled to call in around 11:30am. We’re hoping to ask him about his Commission on Cooperative Economic Development starting in 1980, his work with Cornbread Givens, and his thoughts on cooperative development today.
As we gear up for an exciting conference next week, we’re pausing to note a recent commemoration that connects the cause for coops to the cause for global worker justice and the fight against poverty.
October 16th was World Food Day. The creators of World Food Day are a mega network of large and small international aid and anti-hunger foundations. See who sponsors them here. Their activities in the US mostly involve encouraging people to host events and get involved in the food movement in their region. This year, they have focused in on coops as a solution to food insecurity. Coincidentally, so is everyone else because the United Nations declared 2012 International Year of Co-operatives. Fabulous!
Watch the World Food Day video about cooperatives and hear the stories of how people have created cooperative solutions to help communities weather social, political, environmental, and economic turmoil.
It’s difficult to list with exact certainty the possible outcomes for this conference but it’s clear that it is time to have to start talking to these conversations. The pressures on the communities in the video aren’t exactly the same as ones we know of here but nor are they that different. For communities to survive and adapt to shifting conditions, radically creative ideas are necessary. If done right, cooperatives are one of them.
If cooperatives are really a useful tool for communities in and around DC to make decisions about how community needs are going to get met, then we’ve got to start talking to our neighbors and asking them the important questions. Are we working together? Are we making connections? Do we understand how much we need each other?
Please consider bringing a friend to the conference or telling someone you know why you’re interested in or curious about coops. Register today.