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The Cooperators: Podcasting about the Cooperative Movement
49 minutes | a year ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 25 Michael Peck on Worker Co-ops
by Robert McGarvey There are maybe 400 worker owned co-ops in the US today. How many will there be 10 years from now? Ask Michael Peck, a founder of 1worker1vote, and he says there will be four million. That’s no typo. He added, “I really believe we are at a tipping point.” Worker co-ops now are burning brightest in the constellation of cooperative initiatives. There is vastly more enthusiasm and energy around worker co-ops than any other kind. This year perhaps two or three new credit unions will be chartered. There will be hundreds of times more new worker co-ops. Peck however is no newcomer to worker co-operatives. He has been promoting them for at least a quarter century and he has long had a tie to Mondragon, the immensely successful Basque co-op that in fact is a global business. Peck accordingly sees immense potential for Mondragon-style co-ops to sprout in the US. A key, in his mind, is a cooperative ecosystem. A stand alone co-op has tough going. When a new co-op is surrounded by like mined people and businesses it’s just much more likely to prosper, says Peck. He works to create that ecosystem. For instance: he is very optimistic about the role labor unions can play in helping to develop new worker co-ops and that could be a win-win for unions which of course have suffered dramatic drops in membership and clout in the past quarter-century. But just maybe a focus on starting worker co-ops may produce a brighter outlook for unions. By Peck’s count maybe 10% of US workers have an ownership stake in where they work. But when workers are also owners they work harder and smarter. “Workplace democracy is possible for everybody,” says Peck. Listen in to hear the past, present and possible future of worker co-ops. Fyi: The Cooperators Podcast has often focused on worker co-ops. Past episode include Esteban Kelly, Melissa Hoover, Frank Shipper, and Alex Stone. Peck in the podcast mentioned the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative. Click the link to learn more. Also mentioned is a Barron’s piece on the good immigrants do for the US. Read it here. Listen to the Peck podcast here.
29 minutes | a year ago
The Cooperators Episode 26 Special Edition WOCCU's Mike Edwards on International Trends
This podcast initially appeared the CU 2.0 Podcast series. It appears here as a for instance of a community coming together and creating a cooperative to meet local needs. Quick now, what country has the highest participation in credit unions? Say the US and you are wong. According to Mike Edwards, senior vice president for advocacy at the World Council of Credit Unions, it’s Ireland, north and south, where 70% belong. In this podcast he tells why that participation is so high. He also tells why many regulatory matters in the US in fact originate overseas – risk based capital, Bank Secrecy Act requirements, AML, and more got their start overseas and that is why Edwards spends much of his time monitoring and attempting to influence regulations overseas. What happens in Basel does not stay in Basel. It may and probably will wind up in the US. Listen in to this informative podcast.
29 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Special Edition Maine Harvest Credit Union
Update: Maine Harvest now officially a new credit union. Hard work makes miracles happen. This podcast initially appeared the CU 2.0 Podcast series. It appears here as a for instance of a community coming together and creating a cooperative to meet local needs. *** It has taken some years but finally Maine Harvest may be in the final lap before gaining an official credit union charter. That’s because it’s met its fundraising goal, $2.4 million, with last monies ponied up by the Maine Credit Union League and what’s remarkable is that just about the whole credit union movement in the state has supported formation of this novel credit union. So, too, do the states two U.S. Senators and two House members. Maybe 30 credit unions have been chartered by NCUA in the past decade. So this is a big deal. We first covered the Maine Harvest story in 2015. We picked it up again in 2017. And in 2019 we may be covering the official opening. What’s special about Maine Harvest is that it intends to follow a specific, narrow business plan where it makes loans to small farmers – for land purchase, equipment purchase, and similar. No checking. In fact no cash in the till. No other institutions crave that loan business. But small farming is seen as very important to Maine’s future. Also essential to the business plan is that essentially all the back office will be provided by Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine League. That lets the start up focus on finding borrowers and making sound loans. Why do many credit unions fail? They don’t serve a clear need. This one knows its need and has a plan for filling it. Other states would do well to look into similar efforts.
34 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 24 Dennis Johnson on Senior Housing Co-Ops
by Robert McGarvey Co-op housing: a better way for seniors? Where to house the ever expanding numbers of American seniors? Ask Dennis Johnson, president of the Senior Cooperative Foundation in Minnesota, where seniors control their housing destiny. There are many such co-ops in Minnesota and Iowa and a handful more states, typically in the upper midwest. Why isn’t this housing popular elsewhere? Johnson tells why in this podcast. The guiding principles behind senior co-ops spell out what make them different, special. Such as: these co-ops “put the well-being of the members above other considerations.” As you listen to this podcast, dream about how your community would if it had senior housing co-ops. Then take it to the next step, action. Listen here Part 1 of our housing co-op series is here, student housing.
35 minutes | 2 years ago
NASCO's Brel Hutton Okpalaeke on Students and Co-Ops
Put Brel Hutton-Okpalaeke in your contacts if you are a college student searching for affordable housing. That’s because he is the director of development services at NASCO, North American Students of Cooperation, where the primary focus is on cooperative housing, especially for students. Now is the perfect time for NASCO – colleges have been raising student housing and board fees at a brisk pace and, unbeknownst to most, schools run those functions as profit centers. They are not usually loss leaders. What’s more, schools know that while all eyes are on tuition increases – jumps in prices for room and board frequently are under the radar. Enter co-op housing where, frequently, students put in work requirements and an upshot is that savings over university housing and board charges can be substantial. The downside? It takes a number of years to form a new student housing co-op. Schools increasingly are hostile to such co-ops (they want the revenues!). And many cities and towns are downright hostile towards housing options for significant numbers of unrelated adults. Add in difficulties in securing financing to pay acquire new housing. That’s why NASCO is crucial. It helps students navigate these difficult, churning waters. And know there are real plusses to co-op housing for students. The format teaches how to function in a democracy and, for many, co-op housing is an introduction to cooperatives in general. A few years in a co-op house can lead to credit union membership, membership in food co-op, and maybe even membership in a worker owned cooperative business.
40 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 21 Nigel Forrest on Arizona's Cooperatives
Go ahead, tell me you don’t think of Arizona when the conversation is about cooperatives. You would be right. The Grand Canyon State is not Wisconsin or Minnesota or Vermont. But your podcaster – me – lives in Arizona and so I asked Nigel Forrest, a research associate at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, to update me and you about the state of cooperatives in Arizona. Keep in mind that Arizona, in its comparative indifference to cooperatives, is akin to perhaps two thirds of the nation’s states. And the good news is that Forest believes there is real upside potential for growth in cooperatives in Arizona. He sees that as good, because cooperatives also bring more sustainability, more economic democracy. Right now he pegs the number of cooperatives in Arizona at 50 to 60, mainly credit unions and the second biggest group is rural electric co-ops. But he says there is vast potential for many new worker co-ops, especially as aging small business owners retire. They could close their business – or just maybe sell it to their employees. It’s obvious which is better, for the employees, also the community. Forrest also hopes for a new food co-op in Phoenix, the nation’s fifth biggest city and it has none right now. But he sees real possibilities. He also has ideas about how to grow awareness of cooperatives. And the ideas just may work in other states. He also reports on new platform co-ops that are surfacing in Europe and that just may find use in the US, Arizona included. Listen up. This podcast includes a reference to the Community Purchasing Alliance – podcast here. The food co-op expert whose name I blanked on is the Food Cooperative Initiative – podcast here.
40 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 22 Cathie Mahon Inclusiv on CDFIs
Talk to Cathie Mahon, CEO of Inclusiv, and it’s a fast ride into what mission makes a credit union special, distinctive and in her mind the answer is clear: serving the underserved and usually that means economically disadvantaged. She has tantalizing insights too. For instance: she tells why the business model of community development credit unions may in fact be primed for greater success than the model followed by most credit unions. This is all about making credit unions work for their communities. That’s cooperative principles in action. There are about 1000 so-called community development financial institutions (CDFIs). They do good work. Tune in to find out more.
61 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 20 Jake Schlachter We Own It
By Robert McGarvey Corruption. Greed. Ignorance. Racism. Sexism. Words you don’t usually hear spoken about cooperatives. But brace yourself because in the next hour you will as The Cooperators Podcast talks with Jake Schlachter, founder and executive director of We Own It, a Madison Wisconsin based organization aimed at energizing the 130 million of us who belong to cooperatives in the US to seize control, to put our cooperatives in the directions we want them to go. We have that power. We just have to know it. And use it. We are member owners. We Own It wants to remind us about that. And offer us tips on how best to use our powers. The primary focus of We Own It right now are electric cooperatives and, yes, they have a glorious history. They brought light to the darkness of rural America. It sounds like a Biblical moment. But now, at many rural electric co-ops, it’s more akin to the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Board members paid six figures for what many believe are volunteers jobs. Boards with no African Americans serving populations with many African American members. Boards with no women. Boards that could spell solar if you spot them the consonants. And many of those boards also just don’t get that adding broadband Internet to their services just may save them for generations to come. Some electric co-ops are grand indeed. Some aren’t. We Own It aims to energize members to transform the latter. We Own It also has its eyes on credit unions which talk a good game of member ownership – but many credit unions fail miserably when it comes to empowering their member owners. Have you ever voted in a credit union election? Ever? The podcast also detours into food co-ops – and what they can teach electric co-ops and what they can learn from other co-ops. BTW, Jim Blaine sits on the board of We Own It. He gets his own podcast here. Other, related podcasts include Stuart Reid (food co-ops) and C. E. Pugh (also food co-ops). And Chris Mitchell discussed rural broadband and electric co-ops here. To read my interview with scholar Robert Putnam on “Bowling Alone,” read my interview here. This is fundamentally a very optimistic podcast. But at times it may seem we stepped into Apocalypse Now and all we can do is mumble the horror, the horror. Buckle up. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
39 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Episode 19 Chris Mitchell on Rural Broadband and Co-Ops
If you live in the sticks and want broadband, Chris Mitchell is the man to know. If you are a cooperator and want to hear a co-op success story, Chris Mitchell also is the man to know. That’s because – as director of the Community Broadband Initiative – Mitchell knows the reality of what’s happening in bringing high speed Internet to rural America. He also records a weekly podcast, Broadband Bits. It’s a good listen. By his estimate maybe 85% of the lower 48 states land mass lacks high speed Internet. By contrast, 90% of significantly populated areas have that access. This is about a whole lot more than streaming porn and playing online games. It many ways it’s about the life of rural America, much of which faces a depopulation crisis. Good broadband just may cure that. Nobody thinks broadband alone will keep folks on the farm. But a lack of broadband just may be enough to send them packing. Where do co-ops fit in? As heroes in fact, roles played in much of the country by both electric co-ops and telephone co-ops (of which there are many hundreds by Mitchell’s count). A few decades ago the telephone co-ops began to offer broadband. In the last decade the electric co-ops – generally much bigger companies with deeper pockets – have entered the picture. Mitchell expects a stampede of co-ops entering the fight. This all is reminiscent of the rural electrification project that brought light to the countryside in the FDR New Deal. It worked then. Mitchell believes it will work again and is optimistic that rural America doon will enjoy quality broadband, very possibly better than what urban America gets. “The solution is in view,” Mitchell said. “There’s little that would stop co-ops from solving this problem.” Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
40 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 18 Christina Jennings Shared Capital
Need a loan? You want to know Christina Jennings, Executive Director of Shared Capital, a Twin Cities based loan fund that is itself a cooperative and makes loans only to member cooperatives and there are around 250 of them. In the past 30 years Shared Capital has made around 850 loans totalling $50 million. This year it will make around a couple dozen loans, said Jennings, with an average loan amount a notch over $100,000. Listen closely to this podcast to hear about the loan application process. Jennings is very explicit about what’s needed to succeed. As for the mix of co-ops funded, Jennings said Shared Capital has seen a huge spike in the number of worker co-ops – now more than half the applicants. It’s also seen a decline in food co-ops, in part because that sector is fiercely competitive right now. Jennings also discusses how to assess the viability of a start up worker co-op. All in, said Jennings, this is a great time to be in the co-op world – they now are seen not as a fringe but as part of the economic solution. But opening a new co-op remains a long and tough slog that may take a decade to bring to fruition. That’s why a key question has to be: why are you forming a co-op? Want to become a Shared Capital member? Jennings tells the how to in this podcast. She also tells a great story about how Organic Valley, a Shared Capital member, is living the cooperative principles in its support for other co-ops. Along the way in this podcast you’ll hear mentions of previous podcast guests such as Stuart Reid (food co-ops), C. E. Pugh (also food co-ops), Paul Bradley (mobile home parks), and also Davil Gill of Marquette Brewing, a start-up that in fact Shared Capital has been working with. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
38 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 17 Cliff Rosenthal CDFIs
by Robert McGarvey You want to know about community development financial institutions? Cliff Rosenthal is the man you want to talk to. He literally wrote the book on CDFIs and also the longstanding credit union initiative to serve the unbanked: Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement. This podcast also posted to the CU2.0 Podcast series which I run. That’s a professional credit union series but the Rosenthal podcast has wider appeal because – fundamentally – it’s about bringing financial services to the unbanked and underbanked and stimulating more economic activity in communities that may be ignored by mainstream banks and even many credit unions. Credit unions of course are cooperatives. Not all credit union employees know that. But it is fact. Have CDFIs lived up to their potential? Have credit unions changed the shape of financial services in America? Rosenthal has opinions and he shares them in this podcast. Along the way he talks about his stint at the CFPB – and the ingrained credit union executive distrust of that institution. Which may not be entirely warranted. Rosenthal pulls no punches. He said, “It dismays me that 100 years after the birth of credit unions we still have a significant problem of the underbanked and unbanked.” And, note, about 25% of households falls into the category. Rosenthal also said that in 1990 there were around 13,500 banks and thrifts and a like number of credit unions. There now are about 5500 of each. “The number of credit unions falls by 200 to 300 each year. Ten years from now there will be 3000, 3500 credit unions.” That math is flawless. And it has to scare you. In this podcast, you’ll hear a discussion of the successes of a Mississippi CDFI credit union executive Bill Bynum. He told his own story in this podcast. You’ll also hear about Jim Blaine, the charismatic, longtime CEO of State Employees’ Credit Union in North Carolina, one of the country’s biggest. And you’ll also hear Rosental insist that many credit unions that focus on serving the underserved do better financially than those that focus on fighting with banks for more affluent consumers. If you enjoy this podcast, listen in to the podcast with Cathie Mahon, CEO of Inclusive, a trade group for institutions that focus on community development. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
28 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 16 Felipe Witchger Community Purchasing Alliance
Bulk buying means lower costs. That’s a fact of life in the US and it also works to the detriment of smaller, community oriented institutions – think churches, charter schools, various non profits. They are too small to win those discounts so they pay high prices for basic services and commodities. The Community Purchasing Alliance was formed to solve exactly that inequity for non profits in the Washington DC area. Right now about 75 non profits in the DC area are saving around $1 million annually on $17 million in purchases of electricity, trash hauling, security, copying, and other commodity services. That discount happens because they buy through CPA and its founder, Felipe Witchger, is the guest in this week’s podcast. He tells how his organization formed – he tips his hat to Paul Hazen, a longtime Washington DC co-op heavyweight as suggesting it function as a co-op. He also tells how CPA wins discounts for its members. Felipe also observes that CPA now also operates in southern Connecticut and North Carolina. It also is scouting cities for an expansion later this year and as many as five may be targets. Listen up to find if your city is on the list – and if it isn’t, you’ll hear what Felipe is looking for in partners. A couple housekeeping notes: * He says CPA’s biggest member is Kipp DC. That’s a network of college prep schools with an annual budget over $100 million. * There’s intermittent wind noise. Sorry about that. Some was deleted but some stubbornly persisted. The podcast can be heard and the content is valuable however, so persist. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
40 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 15 C. E. Pugh on Grocery Success
For many of us, our warmest, most intimate connection with a cooperative is our local grocer and at the National Co+Op Grocers the business of that co-operative is helping its 145 members, each a consumer facing co-op grocer, successfully compete against increasingly powerful national grocers. The good news is that most co-op grocers are holding their own. There had been tough times for co-op grocers, admitted this podcast’s interview, C. E. Pugh, CEO of the National Co+Op Grocers. A big reason is that in the past decade the big national grocers, from WalMart on down, all discovered the consumer appeal of organic, of brown rice, of soy and almond milk, the kinds of products co-op grocers had long depended upon for successes. And then they had a lot more competition. But co-op grocers also have a trump card, said Pugh. They can and should double down on local goods, local farmers, the local community. They are truly of the local community and to succeed, they need to accentuate that. Many are doing just that. Consider this podcast a guide to running a thriving food co-op. Want to know still more about food co-ops? Tune into The Cooperators Podcast Episode 9 with Stuart Reid of the Food Co-op Initiative. That discussion has a focus on starting new food co-ops, where the Pugh talk is more tilted towards succeeding at an operating co-op. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
57 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 14 Neal Gorenflo Shareable
Call this podcast a deep dive into platform cooperatives and more broadly the sharing economy. That’s what Neal Gorenflo, executive director of Shareable in San Francisco, spends his days noodling on. This is a wide ranging, largely unstructured conversation but there are headline moments strewn throughout, from Gorenflo’s Road to Damascus epiphany that prompted him to resign a corporate job and become a sharing guru through his bareful perspective on Uber – sizzling stuff – and musing about Emilia Romagna which he sees as something of a polar opposite of Silicon Valley because it’s a place where cooperatives really matter. In many ways this is a challenge to what Gorenflo calls Silicon Valley orthodoxy where the true believers are convinced their way is the best way to build a business. Is it really? Gorenflo has real doubts. Want some good news about cooperatives in the US? You’ll hear it here. We just may be on the cusp of a boom in cooperatives as more of us come to see that this is a flexible business format with lots of benefits for workers, communities, owners. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
56 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 13 Nathan Schneider
“Everything for Everyone” – that’s the title of Professor Nathan Schneider’s book that looks at many kinds of innovative co-ops and it’s a book that gave me optimism that there just may be a bold, bright next act for cooperatives in the US. In some ways co-ops look to have stalled – where are the new credit unions, the new grocery co-ops? There just aren’t many. Does that mean the end is nearing? Nope. Schneider in this podcast talks about wholly new energy for what he calls platform co-ops and also reimagined housing co-ops for instance. He also is a big booster of purchasing co-ops which, he says, often provide significant benefits to their members but without winning much public notice for the good they do. There’s also a lot of enthusiasm around employee ownership of businesses – worker-co-ops for instances – which, Schneider points out, won support from both Paul Ryan and Bernie Sanders and it is difficult to imagine them agreeing on anything else. New times call for new kinds of co-ops and that is happening. Not always smoothly, not always easily, but it is happening. Why aren’t there still more co-ops? A lot of this podcast is an exploration of the infrastructure requirements that will help enable more co-op formation and success. It can happen. And you’ll hear concrete ideas about the changes that should happen. And co-ops just maybe can bring improvement to many areas of our lives. Co-ops also faced what might be called PR problems in the cold war era, said Schneider. It was not a good thing to be seen as a cooperator which some believed was a step nearer Communism. But that stigma may be fading away. And that may also help an ushering in of a boom era for cooperatives. A word on format. This podcast started out on one medium – but after 15 minutes that signal vanished. Another 45 minutes were then recorded on a different channel. If you think you hear differences you are probably right. But the quality is good throughout. And the ideas are provocative. Listen up. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 12 David Gill Marquette Brewing, Drink Up
by Robert McGarvey Mark your calendar. Late June is when Marquette Brewing in Michigan is slated to open, making it one of around 10 cooperative breweries in the US. That number isn’t big but just about all these co-ops have formed in recent years. It’s a growing sector. Understand, Marquette is a small town, population maybe 25,000, in Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula. There’s not a lot of population to draw upon in forming a new co-op but over 200 have joined Marquette Brewing, ponying up $99 apiece. All in the co-op has raised over $200,000. An important takeaway from this podcast is how much help other co-operatives have given Marquette Brewing. The co-operative principles really work. Another takeaway: the rich information board president David Gill shares about this co-op’s journey to opening. He gives what amounts to a how to blueprint. Great stuff. Drink up. Listen to this podcast here. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
24 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 11 Mike Reuter on Credit Unions
From the Ukraine to Ireland and Dominica, this podcast travels the globe with Mike Reuter, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, as he shares stories of the challenges faced by credit unions and also the generous willingness of other credit unions executives to help. Exhibit one may be the rebuilding of the Dominica credit union sector after that island’s economy was flattened in a 2017 hurricane. Credit union execs want to help and they do. You may think credit unions don’t know that they are in fact cooperatives. I know I think exactly that often and it is frustrating because the nation’s 5000 credit unions could do a lot to advance the whole cooperative movement. It turns out however that, per Reuter, credit unions in fact do a lot of cooperating. He tells that story in this podcast. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
28 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 10 Chuck Conner NCFC on Farmers and Cooperatives
No country produces the agricultural bounty that the US does. We eat better, at lower costs, than anywhere else – and most of that food is produced through farmer owned cooperatives. That’s why you want to meet Chuck Conner, CEO of NCFC, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Ask Conner what the number one issue facing his members is and the answer is blunt: immigration. The estimate is that the nation’s farms are worked on by over one million workers lacking proper documentation to work legally in the United States. Take them away and, poof, there goes the agricultural bounty because those workers comprise over half of the workforce on farms. “Congress can’t seem to grapple with this,” said Conner and he chose his words carefully. But also honestly. Conner also tells in this podcast why a generation ago it was not common to proudly wave the flag of a farmers cooperative – and today that fact is proudly pronounced as more consumers want to know what where their food comes from. Want to know how to keep eating right? Listen to this podcast as Conner takes us on a tour of agri-business for the past century. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast Episode 9 Stuart Reid Food Co-Op Initiative
Want to control what you eat? Of course you do. Join a food co-op and become a member-owner. Across the country there are maybe 350 to 400 food co-ops and, said Stuart Reid, executive director of the Food Co-op Initiative, many more are attempting to form. That’s his turf. The organization has helped some 140 food co-ops form in the past 11 years. Reid knows what a co-op needs to do to actually open and he tells how in this podcast. A lot has to do with money but Reid tells how many would-be food co-ops are finding support from governments at various levels. That’s encouraging. He also tells why food co-ops matter. It comes down to really serving the community and that’s what food co-ops do. This podcast is everything you always wanted to know about grocery co-ops but didn’t know whom to ask. Ask Stuart Reid – that’s what I did and he gives the details. In spots the audio quality is scratchy. It’s audible but it may sound like an old vinyl record on a wobbly turntable. Sorry. Just the vagaries of Voip. Try and you’ll hear it all fine. Listen up. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
The Cooperators Podcast 8 Alex Stone CooperationWorks!
Alex Stone’s business is this: helping new cooperatives to start and helping existing ones to mature and do better. That’s the core mission of CooperationWorks! where she serves as executive director. How is she doing? The podcast opens with a simple question: how many new co-ops form in a year? Stone explains exactly why that question is a lot harder to answer than you might think. For Stone cooperatives got into her being early, during her student days at UC Berkeley where she lived in co-op housing and was also involved in a food collective. Cooperatives, she saw, just work better in many cases. That’s why she relishes her role in helping all kinds of cooperatives and in this wide ranging podcast she discusses worker owned cooperatives, housing co-ops, grocery co-ops and a lot more. A key CooperationWorks! function is providing training to would-be cooperators and also board members. We just aren’t born knowing how to prosper in a cooperative system – but we can learn how to do it. Another role of the organization is gathering data about co-ops but, as Stone readily admits, data is slim in many cases. Buckle up for a fast ride into cooperatives today and tomorrow. Like what you are hearing? The Cooperators Podcast seeks sponsors and supporters to help us spread the word about cooperatives and how they often are the better way. Contact Robert McGarvey to find out what you can do to sustain this podcast.
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