Gleanings

Over the past decade, the Riverwest neighborhood has incubated a handful of small but exemplary cooperatives. People's Books (804 E. Center St.) converted from a sole proprietorship to a consumer-owned cooperative in 2007. In addition to selling books, it is home to an after-school program for neighborhood kids. The Riverwest Co-op & Cafe (801 E.

Earlier this month, the small city of Somerset, Kentucky drew national attention when it opened a municipally-owned and -operated fuel center in an effort to drive down gas prices for local residents.

Whatever its form, worker ownership should appeal to both liberals and conservatives for very different reasons. For liberals, worker ownership is a way for workers to increase their earnings while dispersing ownership in companies and possibly inch toward some semblance of economic democracy.

The village shop is a cornerstone of rural communities – but they are closing at the rate of 400 a year. Thankfully, the co-op movement is filling the gap, in the form of the village-owned store. There are now more than 300  in operation, compared to 27 just 20 years ago – but how do these small community co-ops engage such a small membership?

GRITtv has teamed up with TESA (the Toolbox for Education & Social Action) to make a short "how-to" video for people curious about co-ops. Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-Op At a Time is the exciting result of that work!

Watch more videos from GRITtv on their website

 

Compared to the second quarter of 2013, membership declined at 54% of the nation’s credit unions in the second quarter of this year, according to the NCUA.

A movement is emerging in many places, under many guises: New Economy (or Economies), Regenerative Economy, Solidarity Economy, Next Economy, Caring Economy, Sharing Economy, Thriving Resilience, Community Resilience, Community Economics, Oppositional Economy, High Road Economy, and other names.

In reading online commentary I have come across many schools of thought on credit union strategy, focus, branding, marketing, and the like. A disappointing theme I see more and more is the idea that cooperative values don’t matter and therefore should cease to be a concern to credit union leaders.

The consumer is beginning to understand that corporate ag is not anybody’s friend. We need to see to it that we aren’t seen as “corporate ag, only smaller.”

What is the answer? We have to promote food policy that benefits the family-sized producers, not just corporate agriculture.

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