This year we have a lot to be thankful for in regard to cooperation in the Northeast. Here are our top reasons for gratitude -- what are yours?
The Opportunity to Do Cooperative Development
We love our work, and we love working with all of you. We get calls every week from people seeking advice on every conceivable type of cooperative enterprise. You are our inspiration and our purpose.
Thanks to the hard work of the Cooperation Works! Urban Circle and of Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-2nd District) and his staff, we may have the opportunity to do even more work with underserved communities throughout the Northeast. Rep. Fattah is looking for original cosponsors of the National Cooperative Development Act.
Make an appointment with your representative over the holiday break and make a personal visit to tell them how great your co-op is and how much it would mean to have low/no-cost assistance, as well as loans and seed capital.
This is the big one! Reps need to hear from you, their constituents. Let's get major bi-partisan support to pass a relatively low-cost, high-impact bill to create wealth and jobs!
~ Thank you! ~
Attention from the Public and Policymakers
No doubt about it, the profile of cooperatives is rising. Between the economy tanking, appreciation for local food and local businesses deepening, anger at unresponsive banks and corporations flourishing, and the U.N. declaring 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, people everywhere are turning to cooperatives as a promising solution.
Certain areas are receiving specific attention: on September 23, CDI's Andy Danforth joined Paul Bradley, president of ROC USA and recently named Ashoka Fellow, to speak at a roundtable hosted by the VT Housing and Conservation Board on manufactured housing in the state of Vermont. Nonprofit leaders from the whole state learned about the possibility of converting manufactured home parks into independent, economically viable, democratically run, Resident Owned Communities -- like Bunker Hill in Windsor, VT, whose residents bought their park in June (see press). CDI is currently assisting two additional parks in VT that are working to become cooperatives by the end of the year. We are assisting about 20 manufactured housing groups in total throughout New England.
A Chance to Live Our Values in Daily Life
With the help of cooperatives, we can get all our needs met by principled economic actors.
Search Why.coop (beta) to find a co-op near you where you can shop, eat, live, bank, or work in line with your principles
We are especially fond of all those art and artisan co-ops we have in the Northeast. See for example beautiful photos of remarkable work by Sally Chaffee of the Shelburne Arts Co-op
And talk about co-op enterprises building a better world -- "Southern Alternatives Agricultural Cooperative (SAAC), located in rural southwest Georgia, is the only African-American-owned pecan-shelling facility in the United States — and it is run by women". They are selling yummy plain and candy pecans -- order by Dec 9!
Share your strength -- consider donating to the United Cooperative Appeal or to Farm Credit East and CoBank's campaign to support farm families hit hard by Hurricane Irene
Seed the future -- look for a co-op project to invest in on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, IOBY.org, or another crowd-funding service