Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Operation Cooperation Launches in MA

It's 2012, the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC)!

Today, we're announcing a new Massachusetts state wide initiative:


Our goals are to: highlight the importance and power of the Massachusetts cooperative economy; to forge better cooperation across our co-op sectors; to increase citizen awareness and support for our cooperative economy.

Find us online:
Like us on facebook:
Please share this announcement with your colleagues and friends

Join the conversation at

Q: How can my co-op participate in Operation Cooperation?
A: We will be publishing a list of participating co-ops. Join the list at: Through your participation we can start to promote collective actions that strengthen our co-op economy across all sectors.

Q: I don't live or work in a cooperative. What's my role?
A: First, join in support at . Help spread the word and encourage friends to join too. We are preparing a public campaign to promote actions that all citizens can take to support cooperation. These actions include: Move your money to a credit union; Join a food co-op; Do business with local cooperative enterprises; Support co-op food brands; Renting or sharing? Learn more about the benefits of cooperative living.

Q: What's first?
A: We have a Boston City resolution being prepared and the text of a State Resolution that we want to build support for. The draft text can be seen here

Q: I have a great idea or suggestion. What do I do?
Join the conversation at

In cooperation

Operation Cooperation Team

Peter T. Brown
Red Sun Press

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Report Highlights Role of Cooperatives Worldwide

Worldwatch Institute


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Contact: Supriya Kumar,, (+1) 202-452-1999, ext: 510

Membership in Co-operative Businesses Reaches 1 Billion

Co-ops offer democratic alternative to shareholder-owned businesses.

Washington, D.C.----The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, providing a great opportunity to raise the profile of an important organizational tool for spreading human rights and equality worldwide. Membership in co-operative businesses has grown to 1 billion people across 96 countries, according to new research published by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online publication.

Co-operatives, or co-ops, are a type of business characterized by democratic ownership and governance. They offer an alternative to the shareholder model of business ownership. Co-ops are governed by their members, who typically invest in the co-operative and have an ownership stake in it, as well as a voice in how the firm is run. Decisions are often made on a one-member, one-vote basis, so in many societies, co-ops provide a much-needed example of democratic governance amid otherwise inequitable conditions.

Unlike more conventional businesses, many co-ops do not struggle financially, because of their emphasis on democratic governance. In 2008, the world's 300 largest co-ops generated revenues of more than US$1.6 trillion. "Co-operatives are low-profile but powerful economic actors," said report author Gary Gardner, a Worldwatch Senior Fellow. "If these businesses were a national economy, they would rank ninth in the world----ahead of the economy of Spain."

Members of co-ops can use their collective power to fight for their common economic, social, or cultural interests: for example, members of a worker co-op might set working-hour limits and wage rates, while members of a financial co-op can access savings, loans, and other financial services that commercial banks might deny them. "Co-operatives can clearly play a key role in improving the quality of life of their members, particularly in countries where official protections for workers' or consumers' rights are not enforced," said Worldwatch President Robert Engelman.

In industrialized countries, consumer co-ops vastly outnumber other types of co-ops; 92 percent of co-ops in the United States are consumer co-ops. But globally, nearly one-third (29 percent) of the largest 300 co-ops are agricultural. This could mean that farmers in a community share the use of tools and machinery to save on overhead costs, or that they use their collective strength to negotiate higher prices for their goods at market.

In the financial sector, co-op businesses are valuable because they are a major driver of rural development, providing economic opportunities to the poorest sectors of many economies.Some 45 percent of the branches of financial co-ops are located in rural areas, for example, compared with 26 percent of branches of commercial banks. A 2010 World Bank report found that credit union branches account for 23 percent of bank branches worldwide and serve 870 million people, making them the second-largest financial services network in the world.

Further highlights from the study:

  • An estimated 7 percent of Africans belong to a co-operative, and their numbers are growing rapidly. The number of co-ops registered in Uganda, for example, grew 13-fold between 1995 and 2008----from 554 to nearly 7,500. Savings and credit co-operatives in particular are thriving in Africa.
  • Co-ops can generate a meaningful share of economic output: 21 percent in Finland, 17.5 percent in New Zealand, 16.4 percent in Switzerland, and 13 percent in Sweden.
In some countries, a sizable share of the population----up to 70 percent in Ireland----belongs to a co-operative of one sort or another.


Notes to Journalists: For more information and for a complimentary copy of this report, please contact Supriya Kumar at

About the Worldwatch Institute:

Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute's State of the World report is published annually in more than 20 languages. For more information, visit

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Worldwatch Institute | 1776 Massachusetts Ave NW | Washington | DC | 20036

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Consumer Co-op Management Association Conf.

The annual CCMA Conference will be hosted by the Weavers Way Co-op in Philadelphia June 14-16. Plan now to attend; top-notch workshops include a series for new co-ops plus excellent speakers and networking. For more information, go to: The conference will be preceded by a super one-day cross-sector co-op conference by the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance; see

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Attend Farmers Market Manager Professional Development Seminar March 20th

manager reg logo 2012

Mass Farmers Markets,

2012 Farmers Market Managers Professional Development Seminar


Hoagland-Pincus Conference Center
222 Maple Ave
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Driving Directions

Tuesday March 20, 2012 from 8:15 AM to 4:15 PM EDT
Add to my calendar

It is the off season for most farmers markets, but as you know, market managers are busy preparing for the next farmers market season.

Join us on March 20th and gather with other market managers from across Massachusetts to share successes and failures, exchange ideas, fine tune your business plan and learn how to generate the much needed revenue your market needs for the many costs involved in managing a farmers market.

Click here to check out the program and have a sneak peak at the agenda for the day

Register Now!

Register by March 6 and save $$!

If you have any questions about this seminar please contact David Webber

If you have any questions about registering for this event please contact Martha Sweet

We look forward to spending the day with you!

Mass Farmers Markets | 240 Beaver Street | Waltham | MA | 02452

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Inescapable Network of Mutuality

What is the Power of Love?
Dear Co-operator,

Happy Valentine's Day, and Happy Black History Month. We hope that the power of love is at work in your heart, in your cooperative, and in your neighborhood.
Martin-Luther-King-1964-leaning-on-a-lecternWe are Bound Together

Martin Luther King Jr. preached in 1960 that everybody is “tied in a single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, where what affects one directly affects all indirectly.” And in 1967, "I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it."
A Salute to the Past, Present and Future

African Americans have a long history of cooperation. Here are just a few glimpses.
  • See this talk by Prof. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, a scholar of the history of African American co-operators
    Shirley Sherrod Co-op Hall of Fame
  • In 2011, Shirley Sherrod was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame for her work starting cooperatives among poor Black farmers in the South
  • The largest worker co-op in the U.S., employing over 1,700 mostly women of color, is Cooperative Home Care Associates in the South Bronx
  • The Ujamaa Collective in Pittsburgh brings together women of African descent to cooperatively market their work and support their micro-enterprises
  • New Entry Sustainable Farming project helps immigrants from all over the world, including Africa and the Caribbean, transfer their farming skills to their new Mass. home, marketing cooperatively through World PEAS.
We are proud of our colleague Omar Freilla, founder and coordinator of Green Worker Cooperatives, for being named one of the "Power 100" in Ebony's December/January issue.

A Roof over their Heads and the Land under their Homes

For those of you keeping track, our NEROC program has helped afifth group of manufactured home park residents buy their park and begin to operate it as a cooperative. So far, that's over 300 families who don't need to worry any more about rising lot rents, declining services, or the threat of eviction.

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."
--Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

An inspiration from MLK drives cooperation
Detroit Summer
Detroit Summer youth at work in a garden
"Rebellions tend to be negative, to denounce and expose the enemy without providing a positive vision of a new future... A revolution is not just for the purpose of correcting past injustices, a revolution involves a projection of man/woman into the future... It begins with projecting the notion of a more human human being, i.e. a human being who is more advanced in the specific qualities which only human beings have - creativity, consciousness and self-consciousness, a sense of political and social responsibility."

--Grace Lee Boggs, who has dedicated her life to helping to realize Martin Luther King's vision ofBeloved Community in her hometown of Detroit and elsewhere around the country, one grassroots project at a time.

Cooperative Development Institute
PO Box 422
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
877 NE COOPS (toll free) /

Cooperative Development Institute

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 Upstate NY Cooperatives Summit

The 2012 Upstate Cooperatives Summit will be in Syracuse, NY on Saturday, March 31st. The event is free or very low cost, open to the public, and is primarily being hosted by Syracuse-based Cooperative Federal Credit Union and the Onondaga Small Business Development Center. All sectors of the cooperative economy are invited, though cooperatives for job creation is probably the primary motivation of organizing the event.

If you are interested, please register or sign up on the website's mailing list for more information, and please spread the word. The event is also looking for sponsors to purchase advertising space in printed materials.

The schedule of speakers is still growing, and currently includes the following, with lunch provided and plenty of time for networking:

The Big Picture: The Cleveland Evergreen Model and Community Wealth Building
Steve Dubb, The Democracy Collaborative

The Story of Local Cooperatives
Ron Eherenreich, Cooperative Federal Credit Union
Travis Hance, Syracuse Real Foods Co-op
Naquia Edwards, Eat to Live Food Co-op

How to Legally Start a Cooperative
Deborah Kenn, Syracuse University College of Law
Jason Hirata, Syracuse University College of Law

Observations on Successful Cooperatives
Brian Henehan, Cornell Cooperative Enterprise Program

How Worker Cooperatives Work
Joe Marraffino, Democracy at Work Network

Using Media to Raise Capital
Bob Proehl, Buffalo Street Books

Rochdale Principle Six: Cooperatives Developing More Cooperatives
Howie Hawkins, South Side Community Coalition

Thanks and hope to see you there!