Monday, December 19, 2011

Register now for FREE Food Co-op/Buying Club Start-up Training Webinars!

Food Co-op Initiative ( and CDS Consulting Co-op ( are pleased to present a series of all-new webinars addressing the specific needs of new food co-op organizers!

The series of six live presentations will begin on January 10. All sessions will run from 2:00-3:00 pm EST (1:00 to 2:00 Central; 12:00-1:00 Mountain; and 11:00-12:00 Pacific).

January 10, 2012
Creating a Vision
Presented by Bill Gessner, CDS Consulting, and Stuart Reid, Food Co-op Initiative

January 17, 2012
Create Priorities and Build Alignment for Each Stage
Presented by Bill Gessner and Jeanie Wells, CDS Consulting

January 24, 2012
Co-op Technology Toolkit
Presented by Jake Schlachter, Food Co-op Initiative

January 31
Starting a New Buying Club
Presented by Stuart Reid and/or Jake Schlachter, Food Co-op Initiative

February 7, 2012
Effective Boards and Teams: Structure and Accountability
Presented by Ben Sandel and Michael Healy, CDS Consulting

February 14, 2012
Effective Boards and Teams: Team work, process and decision making
Presented by Ben Sandel and Michael Healy, with Art Sherwood, CDS Consulting

Click Here: -- for detailed descriptions of each webinar and to register.

Note: You must register separately for each webinar you plan to attend. FCI and CDS-CC are providing these sessions at no cost to you; however, you may incur telephone or data charges to participate.

See you there!
Food Co-op Initiative

Friday, December 16, 2011

HR 3677 - It's Official!

It's official,
Congressman Chaka Fattah introduced the National Cooperative Development Act - H.R. 3677 on December 15th.

"It's high time for Cooperatives -- a great idea that has emerged from and gained success in our urban neighborhoods as well as rural communities – to move onto the national radar," said Fattah. "This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to the effort."

Spread the good news
Tell all of your fellow cooperators about this exciting bill, forward to your email lists and press contacts, talk about it on Facebook, and on Twitter use #HR3677. Be sure to send everyone to join the campaign!

Here's the press release from Congressman Fattah's office:

You can track the bill at:

The bill was introduced with 3 co-sponsors - Bob Brady (PA-1), Barbara Lee (CA-9), and John Tierney (MA-6).
We definitely need more - from both urban and rural areas and from both “sides of the aisle.” We expect more to follow soon - but we need you to make sure it happens.

If you HAVE met with or contacted your Representative's office, follow up with them and make sure their expressed support becomes an actual co-sponsorship.

If you HAVE NOT arranged a visit with your Member of Congress yet, call the local office, and ask to speak with the staffperson who works on small business, and economic development issues. Tell them about the bill briefly and ask for a visit to explain further.
Find your Representative's contact info at:
Check out the campaign website for advice on how to advocate.

Report back
Use this form to tell us about your visit. Let us know who you meet with, and their contact info so we can follow up and ensure they become a co-sponsor. You can always email or call too.

Thank you for your continued support!
Peter Frank
Cooperation Works! - Advocacy Coordinator

Copyright © 2011 Cooperation Works!, All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rep. Fattah Introduces Bill to Spur the National Cooperative Movement



Contact: Ron Goldwyn 215/387.6404

Rep. Fattah Introduces Bill to Spur the National Cooperative Movement

WASHINGTON D.C., Dec. 15 – Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Congressional leader for the national cooperative movement, especially urban co-ops, today introduced the National Cooperative Development Act.

“It’s high time for Cooperatives -- a great idea that has emerged from and gained success in our urban neighborhoods as well as rural communities – to move onto the national radar,” said Fattah, whose Philadelphia district includes numerous thriving co-ops. “This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to the effort.

“Cooperatives are a special kind of economic stimulus. Cooperatives benefit the communities they serve while building opportunities for shared wealth. Cooperatives are truly vehicles for protecting the middle class and creating economic growth,” Fattah said.

The Fattah bill, H.R. 3677, authorizes $25 million a year through 2016 to create and fund the National Cooperative Development Center.

Cooperatives are owned and controlled by the people who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods. They range in size from the local corner store to Fortune 500 companies, and can include insurance, healthcare, housing, recreation materials and equipment as well as more traditional uses such as rural electricity. Overall, U.S. cooperatives account for more than $3 trillion in assets, over $500 billion in total revenue, $25 billion in wages and benefits, and nearly 1 million jobs.

“We have food deserts in low-income urban areas where food cooperatives are often the only enterprises willing to bring food security and nutrition while anchoring the buy-local campaigns we see happening everywhere,” Fattah said. “Every new or expanded cooperative, regardless of the goods or services it provides, will be a job creator and an economic engine where it’s most needed.”

Fattah pointed out that cooperatives still face many problems, including difficulty in gaining access to capital, which can stunt the growth of even the most successful enterprises.

In addition, Fattah noted, “the unique nature of the cooperative ownership model requires that cooperative operators receive specialized training and assistance in setting up the governance, operations, and financial structures that are required to run a successful cooperative.

“Co-ops need help that the federal government will now be in a position to provide,” Fattah said. “The legislation addresses these problems by establishing the Development Center to provide capital, training, and other resources to foster cooperative development.”

The National Cooperative Development Center will:

  • Award grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges, and universities so that they can provide technical assistance to operating cooperatives or groups that are attempting to form cooperatives;

· Provide guidance, information on best practices and technical assistance to communities seeking to establish cooperatives;

  • Create a revolving loan fund to provide loans and seed capital to groups who are attempting to form cooperatives;

· Provide funding for training of providers of technical assistance and supporting existing professional development training for organizations engaged in cooperative development;

· Establish cooperative development centers in areas that currently do not have them.


Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) •

2301 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 • 4104 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (202) 225-4001(215) 387-6404

By Land and By Sea: Leveraging Co-ops for Business Success--Conference in Unity, ME Jan 19

Eat Maine Foods is sponsoring a one-day conference for Maine farmers & fishermen on the cooperative model of doing business. See, and go to to register.

CDI staff will be presenting a couple of workshops. One of the main organizers was CDI's board president, Erica Buswell.

More details:
Thursday, January 19, 2012 in Unity, Maine 9am to 5:30pm
  • Learn exactly what a cooperatively-organized business is all about. What are the advantages, what are the different types of co-ops, and why might it make sense for your business? We’ll cover the nuts and bolts of co-ops.
  • Connect with Experienced Co-operative Business People. What are the financing options for co-ops? What local resources are available for start-up, problem-solving and co-operative business development? Go home with connections and an action plan for moving your co-op business or idea forward.
  • Celebrate 2012: International Year of Co-operatives. Hear first-hand stories from other farmers and fishermen about how they have implemented a co-operative business. What worked? What obstacles did they overcome and how?
Sponsored by The Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine and its members: Putting more Maine food on more Maine tables more often!
With support from and participation of: Lobsters on the Fly, MOFGA, Maine Department of Agriculture, Penobscot East Resource Center, Maine Farmland Trust, Cooperative Maine, Island Institute, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Local Sprouts Cooperative, Cooperative Fund of New England, The Broadreach Fund, Cooperative Development Institute and more!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homestead Acres Vermont's newest Resident-Owned Community

Congratulations to the 26 residents of Homestead Acres Mobile Home Park in Swanton, VT for officially purchasing their community today! The residents' association, Homestead Acres Co-op, is the second to take ownership of a manufactured housing community or "mobile home park" in the State of Vermont in less than half a year--this after an 18 year period in which no resident owned communities were developed in the state. CDI provided the cooperative with pre-closing technical assistance and will provide ongoing support for years to come! Homestead Acres Co-op joins a nationwide network of 117 resident owned communities developed according to the ROC USA limited equity model (, which has ensured that nearly 7,000 units of housing will remain permanently affordable.

Many thanks to ROCUSA Capital and the Cooperative Fund of New England for providing financing! Also, stay tuned for pictures and a press release.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, a Tool for Building a New Democratic Economy, Released

For Immediate Release
Contact: Brian Van Slyke, 708-707-1784; Andrew Stachiw, 860-208-1404

Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, a Tool for Building a New Democratic Economy, Released

What: Co-opoly, a powerful resource for cultivating democratic communities, comes at a time when people are struggling to envision a new world. This game has been hotly anticipated with pre-orders from around the globe.
Released: November 28, 2011

Northampton, Massachusetts, Nov 28, 2011 – As the cooperative movement gains global traction, with 800 million co-op members and 100 million employees in 2011, the launch of The Toolbox for Education and Social Action’s (TESA) latest tool “Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives” marks another milestone for the cooperative movement.

Produced by TESA, a worker cooperative based in Massachusetts, Co-opoly is a new game of skill and solidarity: where everyone wins or everybody loses! While promising to keep players on their toes and in stitches of laughter, Co-opoly is much more than just a board game – it’s a tool that helps people break away from the ‘winner takes all’ mentality and discover the boundless possibilities that arise from cooperation.

Communally developed over a three-year period of playing, testing and revision, Co-opoly hits the stage not a moment too soon. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement in the U.S., people are demanding more democratic communities and economies. Frustrated by banks, businesses, and institutions that do nothing for the majority, citizens around the world are
pouring into the streets looking for alternatives.

And Co-opoly provides just that. From the classroom to the factory, the farm, the independent start-up, the grocery store, and more, this tool offers players the chance to think outside the box of pure profit and imagine new ways of social organization.

It’s perfect for educators trying to facilitate creative discussions about the world economy, for workers looking for ways to develop their own cooperative work-places, and for households that want to have a great time while creating true democracy. In fact, Co-opoly is launching just as cooperatives are stepping into the spotlight with the United Nations declaring 2012 to be the International Year of Cooperatives.

Already Co-opoly has received orders from countries on nearly every continent, from Massachusetts to Morocco and from Scotland to South Korea!

TESA aimed to reflect Co-opoly’s core values of democracy and a just economy in the game’s very production. Every component of the game was created in the U.S., using primarily recycled materials and produced predominantly by worker cooperatives, all of them within 70 miles of TESA’s location!

The ethical production of Co-opoly has made its manufacturing costs much more expensive than games produced in sweatshops. Yet, TESA is proud to keep the game’s price comparable to other independent board games. Co-opoly is for sale at for a sliding scale price of $42 - $65. This means the consumer decides how much they pay! What’s more, free additional resources on cooperatives will come with Co-opoly, including lessons plans, Introduction to Cooperatives literature, and more!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We are thankful for cooperation

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Campaign for Cooperation
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.
Campaign for Cooperation

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.

~ 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 (beta) to find a co-op near you where you can shop, eat, live, bank, or work in line with your principles
  • Shop for holiday gifts from co-ops
    • There are loads of ideas in the 2011 Cooperative Business Journal Holiday Gift Guide
    • 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
  • Dorchester Community Food Co-opSeed the future -- look for a co-op project to invest in on Kickstarter, Indiegogo,, or another crowd-funding service
~ With Gratitude ~
~ CDI ~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Contact Your Rep: National Cooperative Development Act

The National Cooperative Development Act has taken a big step. Congressman Fattah has written a letter to his Colleagues, asking them to become original co-sponsors of this important piece of legislation. In the letter, Congressman Fattah explains to his fellow Members of Congress some of the many benefits cooperative development has on communities:
  • Advancing the economic stability of local areas;
  • Increasing the circulation of capital in the local area increasing its economic multiplier and the impact of community investment, spurring locally oriented economic growth;
  • Developing, attracting and anchoring new productive capital in low-income communities; and
  • Expanding investment opportunities and asset creation for low and moderate-income Americans.
I'm asking you, my fellow co-op colleagues, to support the National Cooperative Development Act. This is an important time for us to rally early support for its passage. The Legislation needs support now in the form of original co-sponsors. And you are the ones to make it happen!

Here's how you can help:

  • Read the Dear Colleague Letter and the Legislation
  • Call your Representative's local office and make an appointment to talk to them or their staff in-person about the National Cooperative Development Act! Tell them about all the great work cooperatives are doing and can do in their district, and ask them to be a co-sponsor for this bill. Use this link to find your Representative's contact info
  • Participate in a webinar about the Legislation and how to effectively lobby your Member of Congress for support. (scheduled for next Tuesday - November 22nd - more details to come)
  • Spread the news - Share with your community of co-op supporters - and get them to join our campaign!
Thank you for your continued support, and don't hesitate to contact me with any questions,

Peter Frank
Advocacy Coordinator - Cooperation Works!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Donations to Farm Families Hurt by Irene and Lee, Kicked off by Farm Credit East and CoBank

Dear Northeast Agricultural Leaders and Policy Makers,

Farm Credit East in concert with United Way is coordinating an effort to help farm families hurt by Irene and Lee with personal donations (up to $500 to each family) to make their holiday season a little brighter. We would appreciate your help in getting the word out to affected farm families that suffered crop losses and damage as a result of the Irene and Lee disasters. This support is for any farm family with $10,000 of crop losses/damage in designated disaster counties in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. This is not limited to Farm Credit customers.

Farm Credit East and CoBank have both agreed to put $100,000 to this effort, so we have $200,000 to start. Farm Credit East employees are also making contributions and Yankee Farm Credit will be contributing (for the NY and NH counties that Yankee serves). United Way of the Greater Capital Region has also made a contribution. The actual amount of the grants to farm families will depend on the number of applications and the amount of total funds raised (up to $500 per farm family).
Other individuals and businesses are welcome/encouraged to make a contribution and will be recognized for their contributions in a final press release on this effort. The press release includes information on how to make a contribution to United Way for this effort – on-line or by check. This is a charitable contribution for tax purposes.

This assistance is not intended to cover business losses or make major repairs to homes and farm structures – it is intended to show “farm community concern” for the farm families hurt by Irene and Lee with the hope that their holiday can be a little nicer knowing that other folks care. In the attached release, Bill Lipinski says it better: “We just want folks to know we care and hope that they can be positive during the holidays.”

We do appreciate the on-going efforts of Northeast Congressional offices, State Departments of Agriculture, USDA, Governor Cuomo’s office and other NE state initiatives to support farmers at this time. These efforts are vital to help farms and rural communities to recover.

We are currently taking applications for this assistance – folks can apply by going on-line to The application includes more eligibility details. The application can also be found in Country Folks. Our deadline is November 26 in order that we can work with United Way to have checks received by farm families in mid-December. United Way of the Greater Capital District has been great to work with and is receiving funds and will write the checks.
Please forward this message to other organizations that may be interested.
Your efforts in getting this information out would be greatly appreciated!!!
Best regards,
Robert A. Smith
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Knowledge Exchange
Farm Credit East
2668 State Route 7, Suite 21
Cobleskill, NY 12043

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

United Nations launches the International Year of Cooperatives 2012

The United Nations has declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives. Why?

"Co-operatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility."
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

Or, as the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) puts it, it's about human need, not human greed.

The year launches October 31, 2011 in New York City

UN-IYC-aimsOur job during this year is to make sure that the public, policymakers, business leaders, and young people hear this message loud and clear. The three priorities identified by the UN and ICA are to:
  • increase awareness of the cooperative business model
  • promote growth of co-ops and the co-op economy
  • convince lawmakers to establish co-op friendly policies
There are as many ways to do that as there are co-ops and members of co-ops (so we're talking billions!). One exciting national initiative that allows us to hit all three priorities in the U.S. is to support the Campaign for Cooperation. The National Cooperative Development Act of 2011 promotes job creation and economic development in underserved communities through cooperative business development.
Campaign for CooperationRead more about it and find out how to contact your representatives at

For more national information and tools for celebrating the International Year of the Cooperative in the USA, visit

What's happening in the Northeast?

There is an amazing diversity and energy among cooperatives in the Northeast. Here are just a few of the activities underway:

Cooperative Development Institute Events and Resources

During 2012 CDI will be:
  • offering co-ops and associations the use of a new pamphlet, "Cooperative Business Solutions for the Northeast U.S." -- call for delivery options
  • revamping its website,, to bring you more and better news, information, and opportunities
  • touring to Plattsburgh, NY, Portland, ME, and Cummington, MA
  • offering a new series of online tutorials and webinars

What will you be doing?

Here's some suggestions:
  • Post your co-op's unique story to and
  • Make a video or snap a photo for My Co-op Rocks.
  • Invite local policymakers, chambers of commerce, and schools to tour your co-op.
  • Support the development of a new co-op nearby.
Thanks and stay tuned for more information, ideas and resources, coming your way.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pamphlet: Cooperative Business Solutions for the Northeast U.S.

Cooperative Development Institute, working with Jane Livingston of Indivisible, Inc. and David Gerratt of DG Communications, has produced a beautiful 4-page pamphlet describing the benefits of cooperatives in retail food, workplaces, housing, credit, agriculture, fisheries, and shared utilities, with examples from throughout the Northeast. The pamphlets were printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper by Boston worker co-op Red Sun Press (pictured on the front!). With the launch of the U.N.-declared International Year of Cooperatives 2012 today, we are making copies of the pamphlet available to the Northeast co-op community. Call for ordering information, 413-665-1271 or toll-free 877 NE COOPS.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CDI awarded $225,000 grant for rural co-op development

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Economic Development Funding To Create Jobs in Rural Communities in 26 States

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., - October 26, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 36 organizations in 26 states and the District of Columbia for grants to help rural cooperatives and small businesses expand, create jobs and strengthen their capacity to serve rural citizens and communities.
Vilsack said, "As we celebrate National Cooperative Month, USDA is proud to continue its support of local and regional efforts to bolster these cooperatives and help them bring increased value and economic opportunity to rural residents."

The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. Under this program, grants of up to $225,000 may be awarded to colleges, universities and non-profit groups to create and operate centers that help individuals or groups establish, expand or operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. Grants may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.
Cooperative Development Institute: $225,000 to build a cooperative economy in New England and New York by creating and developing cooperative enterprises and networks in the northeast region of the country.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Don't Let 'Em Go! How co-ops can keep vital businesses, services in rural communities"

In the current (Sept/Oct) issue of USDA's Rural Cooperatives magazine, a salute to noteworthy co-ops in celebration of National (and International!) Cooperative Month includes an article by Noemi Giszpenc on converting existing businesses to co-op ownership in rural communities. The article features the Old Creamery Co-op, Crown O'Maine Organic Co-op, Turtle Ridge Cooperative, ROC USA, and Maine Organic Milling, all examples of people cooperating to keep needed institutions and make sure they are serving their communities. See page 30 for the article, and browse the other great stories in this special Co-op Month issue.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Join the Campaign for Cooperation

Exciting news in the co-op world! A bill will be introduced this Fall in the House of Representatives to fund co-op development in underserved communities. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow the cooperative economy, create quality jobs and stable businesses, and build wealth in low-income communities throughout the country – both rural and urban. Join the campaign to support its passage at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Passion Makes Vision a Reality for Many Communities: 2011 Together on the Land Tour

Northampton, MA– The third annual Together on the Land Tour visited blighted urban properties being rehabilitated by the Holyoke Community Land Trust, a resident owned manufactured housing park in Ware, a successful co-housing development in Northampton, an organic farm in Granby tackling long-term farm affordability and green community-built housing in Amherst.

What do these places have in common? A vision and the passion to make that vision a reality.

The hard work of the pioneers at each tour stop was self evident. In Ware, residents of a manufactured housing park came together to raise $1.1 million to buy their park from their landlord so that profits from rents could be invested in their community, not sent out of state. This vision became a reality because of the passion of their volunteer resident board of directors and the technical assistance of the Cooperative Development Institute. Oakwood has been transformed to the Quabbin Sunrise Cooperative.

That same passion that encourages the residents at Quabbin Sunrise to work for free on behalf of their community was evident at each tour stop. The farmers at Red Fire Farm have built a successful organic vegetable farm in Granby, but want their passion for farming to take root. They are purchasing additional farm land in Montague with the assistance of Mount Grace Land Trust so that they don't have to rely on year-to-year leases on fields in Granby. And permanent farm affordability restrictions will ensure the next farmer has the chance to do the same.

The tour was an opportunity to learn more about the challenges of living communnally, establishing whole farm affordability, creating cooperatives and building homes with volunteer labor and much more. A program from the tour with resources is available online at

Photo Credit: Laura Mason – all photos from 9/11/11 Together on the Land Tour

2011 Tour Co-sponsored by:

Cooperative Development Institute, Co-op Power, Equity Trust,

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust & Valley Community Land Trust

2011 Media Sponsor: The Valley Advocate

2011 Special Thanks to Collective Copies and River Valley Market for their in-kind donations

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Campaign for Cooperation is On!

Fellow Cooperators,

For nearly a year, cooperative business owners and developers have been working to develop awonderful piece of legislation that will support the growth of cooperative businesses in underserved communities throughout the country. For months, many of you have been hearing about this, but recently we've been particularly quiet. That's because we've been hard at work, behind the scenes, preparing to grow our campaign to fully support the legislation when it is introduced.

I'm happy to announce today that our campaign has a home!

our campaign has a name!
Campaign for Cooperation

and our legislation has a name!
National Cooperative Development Act of 2011

We need your support. We could spend our days calling the offices of al Members of Congress, telling them about this terrific piece of legislation, but it wouldn't be very effective. Members of Congress are not interested in hearing what people outside their districts think they should support. They want to hear from their constituents, which is YOU!

The Campaign for Cooperation will work with you and help you spread the word about the National Cooperative Development Act, and to help you talk to your Representatives about how wonderful co-ops are, and how this legislation will benefit their constituents.

We expect Rep. Fattah to introduce the
National Cooperative Development Act this Fall, and the cooperative community needs to be ready to support it from day 1. We will let you know as soon as the legislation is available. While we wait for its introduction, there are a couple things you can do to help.
- Share with your community of co-op supporters
- Contribute to the campaign at our website (any amount helps!) - this helps us spread the word about the legislation throughout the country.
- Meet with your Member of Congress or their staff to talk to them about your co-ops, and that the
National Cooperative Development Act is coming soon, and you want them to be a co-sponsor.

You can read an interview with Rep. Fattah about the National Cooperative Development Act HERE

Thank you for your continued support!

Peter Frank
Advocacy Coordinator - Campaign for Cooperation

Monday, October 3, 2011

CFNE Position Opening: Maine Loan and Outreach Officer

The Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE) is a community development loan fund and a U.S. Treasury Certified Financial Development Institution (CDFI) that is a bridge between socially responsible investors and cooperatives, community oriented non-profits, and worker-owned businesses in New England (and parts of New York). CFNE’s administrative office is in Wilmington, NC. The organization has a “virtual” office set up, all workers using home offices.

Position: Maine Loan and Outreach Officer
Part Time (1-2 days a week)
Reports to: Executive Director
Position Description: The Loan and Outreach Officer will be chiefly responsible for coordinating and executing all efforts to represent CFNE in Maine. The individual will be responsible for identifying and attracting borrowers, investors, and funders to CFNE. The person will represent CFNE at events and conferences, visit current borrowers, and cultivate relationships with cooperatives, worker-owned businesses, nonprofits in the market area. The individual will also work with the Executive Director (ED) to shape the direction of the organization and support the ED in organization-wide strategic planning.

Responsibilities include:
  • identifying borrowers and following up on loan inquiries
  • visiting prospective borrowers
  • preparing site visit reports and distributing them to Loan Committee members
  • visiting current borrowers to check on progress and to maintain communications
  • providing technical assistance to or identifying technical assistance needs of current and prospective borrowers
  • meeting with financial partners, banks, loan fund officers to package loans
  • assisting in the development and implementation of a marketing plan to obtain borrowers
  • attending conferences, meetings to represent CFNE
  • speaking to individuals and groups about CFNE
  • attending all Board of Trustee meetings
Outreach at CFNE is a collaborative process, thus an ability to work well as part of team and also as a leader is critical to the success of this position.

Desired Qualifications:
  • College degree and a minimum three to five years lending experience
  • Experience in the community economic development or financial services fields a plus.
  • Commitment to social justice mission and to working as part of a diverse organization
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Excellent organizational, time management and interpersonal skills required
  • Ability to understand, interpret, and communicate organizational budgets and financial statements
  • Ability to work well as part of a team and within a diverse group of people and settings
  • Ability to act and react quickly to urgent, unplanned opportunities or needs
  • Ability to initiate and juggle multiple projects and work independently
  • Regular use of telephone, cell phone and personal computer.
  • Experience with Microsoft Word, Excel and Access, the Internet and associated programs.
For more information about the Cooperative Fund of New England, visit our website:

Please email your resume and salary requirements to Rebecca Dunn at

Fall Issue of Networks, newsletter of Cooperation Works!

The Fall 2011 issue of the Networks newsletter is out -- check out the great work that cooperative developers are doing throughout the U.S.

Happy Co-op Month 2011!

October is National Co-op Month -- an opportunity to celebrate, educate, and communicate about co-ops. Check out the online toolkit. What are you doing this month?

Cooperative Maine is publishing op-eds and releasing an update to its directory, Stronger Together. See for a preview.

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association is encouraging everyone to join their local food co-op and credit union and shop for co-op products.

Northeast CT co-ops are sponsoring a benefit concert to raise development funds for a group of nascent cooperatives in the region.

Cooperative Development Institute has published an article on converting enterprises to co-ops in Rural Cooperatives magazine (see PDF doc, page 30-31), featuring the Old Creamery Co-op, as well as Crown O'Maine Organic Co-op, Turtle Ridge Cooperative, Maine Organic Milling, and the ROC-USA program.

We are also participating in preparations for the launch of the International Year of Cooperatives 2012 at the United Nations in NYC at the end of October. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for co-ops to increase awareness, promote growth, and advocate for appropriate government policies. Start making your plans!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Seeking two student interns: Website Design and Outreach

The Toolbox for Education and Social Action is seeking two students in the U.S. to work as interns on a nation-wide education and outreach plan, the Cooperative Campus Initiative (CCI). See the listings on Idealist:

Website Design Intern:

Outreach Coordinator Intern:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

CDI to speak at Roundtable Discussion on Vermont Mobile Home Parks

CDI’s Andy Danforth will join ROC USA founder Paul Bradley this Friday as keynote speakers in a challenging discussion involving dozens of funders, representatives of non-profit housing organizations, and resident activists. The Roundtable is meant to engage stakeholders in an in discussion about a range of issues relevant to existing non-profit-owned mobile home parks and potential purchase opportunities:  property management, financing of homes, infrastructure, new home infill and resident ownership.

CDI recently assisted Bunker Hill Community Cooperative in Windsor, which became the first Vermont mobile home cooperative in over 18 years. It is currently involved with 19 MH communities throughout New England (including 3 in Vermont) in various stages of resident ownership.  Visit for more information on CDI's Manufactured Housing Program.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CDI co-presenting at Agricultural Strategic Marketing Conference

CDI's Food and Agriculture Cooperative Development Specialist Lynda Brushett will be presenting at this year's Cornell Agribusiness Strategic Marketing Conference, along with Senior Extension Associate Brian Henehan and Keystone Development Center co-op developer Lisa Stolarski. The team will help attendees explore the ins and outs of new agricultural co-op development.

There are scholarships available for the first 30 farmers who register -- hurry over to the conference website and sign up!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CDF Establishes Hurricane Irene Cooperative Recovery Fund

Contact: Liz Bailey
CDF Establishes Hurricane Irene Cooperative Recovery Fund
$10,000 in Pledges Received From NCB & NCGA

Arlington, VA—Citing the need to help in the recovery of the cooperative community that was in the path of Hurricane Irene, the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) today announced the launch of the Hurricane Irene Cooperative Recovery Fund at

The fund will direct tax-deductible contributions specifically to individuals and cooperative businesses along the East Coast and throughout New England who have experienced losses. The fund also will seek to assist organic farmers who are prime suppliers to food cooperatives.

CDF also announced that the first contributions to the fund are $5,000 from the National Consumer Cooperative Bank (NCB) and $5,000 from the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). The fund will seek contributions from all sectors of the cooperative business community and from the general public.

“Regions throughout the continental United States have been hit by a devastating series of storms, tornadoes, floods and wildfires. In the latest major storm, Hurricane Irene, the victims again include co-ops and their members and we want to help. The devastation has been massive, with flooding and wind damage that has inundated both urban and rural areas from North Carolina to Vermont,” said CDF Executive Director, Liz Bailey. “The Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) applauds the resiliency of the people affected and the extraordinary work being done by government response teams and disaster relief agencies. We encourage your support for relief efforts that are providing invaluable support for victims, but we also ask you to consider a donation to this Fund which is focused on recovery of cooperatives and their members.”

“This is all about co-ops helping co-ops,” said Bailey. “Every time there has been a disaster, the cooperative community has responded with financial assistance and we know that they will be there again for victims of Hurricane Irene as well. We thank both NCB and NCGA for their early support for this fundraising initiative and their recognition that the cooperative community includes not only cooperative businesses and their members, but also their suppliers, such as the family farmers who the food cooperative sector relies on for its inventory of healthy foods.”

Collaboration with Other Co-op Organizations

CDF will partner on this fund drive with its colleagues in the cooperative community, both nationally and in the region to assure the maximum possible impact. CDF will take no administrative fee for funds raised to assure that 100% of the funds donated reach the people and organizations who need help. CDF’s primary points of contact in the affected area will be the Cooperative Fund of New England and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association who will assist in identifying the needs and dispersing funds to those with the greatest needs. Other partners who will assist in outreach and identification of needs include: Cooperative Development Institute, National Cooperative Grocers Association, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives, and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

Online donations to the Hurricane Irene Cooperative Recovery Fund can be made Checks can be made out to CDF-Irene Fund and sent to: CDF at 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22202. For more information, contact Ellen Quinn or 703.383.8094.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

TOGETHER ON THE LAND: Options for Sustainable, Affordable & Ecological Living in Community


Megan McDonough
Valley Community Land Trust
413-218-0683 or 413-624-5128

Options for Sustainable, Affordable & Ecological Living in Community

8:30am-5pm Sunday September 11, 2011
Pioneer Valley Massachusetts
$20 per ticket, discounts & scholarships available
Pre-Registration Required at

Co-sponsored by:
Cooperative Development Institute, Co-op Power, Equity Trust, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust & Valley Community Land Trust

Northampton, MA – Many people in the Pioneer Valley have shared an apartment or developed informal neighborhood communities, but few could explain the differences between co-ops, condos, and cohousing.

A group of local non-profits involved in community-based housing, affordable housing and land conservation have teamed up to organize a guided tour of several locations throughout the Pioneer Valley where residents and supporting organizations are creating affordability, sustainability and community.

The third annual Together on the Land Tour highlights long-standing and new examples of housing and land ownership that tackle tough questions about the problems and benefits of green and affordable housing, community involvement and interdependence. These examples cover a range of approaches for sharing resources between neighbors, providing onsite gardening, ensuring permanent home and farm affordability, permanently protecting land, plus other solutions to the problems of living together on the land.

The stops on this tour include:
  • A manufactured housing park that is now a resident owned co-operative (Quabbin Sunrise Cooperative – Ware, MA);
  •  A farm addressing the need for permanently affordable farm housing and land tenure (Red Fire Farm – Granby & Montague, MA);
  •  An established cohousing community with a common house, walkable multi-generational community and energy efficient homes (Rocky Hill Cohousing – Northampton, MA);
  • An urban community land trust helping to keep housing affordable by removing the cost of land from the cost of housing (Holyoke Community Land Trust, Holyoke, MA); and
  • A small cluster of homes that were built with lots of volunteer labor and meet high energy efficiency standards (Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity, Amherst, MA)
Register online at Information from tour co-sponsors will be available at the tour and online. Those who can not participate in the tour are encouraged to be in touch with cosponsoring organizations with questions.

Special Thanks:
  • Collective Copies Print Shop for their donation of copying services for tour flyers and handouts. Collective Copies was founded in 1983 by recently unionized workers from a long-gone copy shop. Committed from the start to worker-ownership and collective decision-making, Collective Copies remain the only worker-owned cooperative copy center in the nation.
  • River Valley Market for their donation towards snacks for the event. River Valley Market is a communityowned, full-service grocery store specializing in fresh, local and organically grown food. We offer fresh produce; meat & seafood; groceries; a deli with homemade soups, a hot and cold bar, sushi, house-made pastries, desserts, and organic, fair-trade coffee; gifts; and a complete wellness department.
  • The Valley Advocate for their media sponsorship. The Valley Advocate is a free weekly magazine that provides news, arts & entertainment information for the Pioneer Valley.
Co-Sponsors include:
  • Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) is the Northeast's center for cooperative business education, training and technical assistance. CDI's mission is to build a vibrant co-operative economy through the creation and development of successful co-operative enterprises in diverse communities in New England and New York.
  • Co-op Power is a multi-class, multi-racial movement for a sustainable and just energy future, with regional councils in Southern VT, Boston, Franklin County, Hampshire County, and Hampden County.
  • Equity Trust is a small, national organization that provides education, technical assistance, and financing to farmers, land trusts, and community groups working to save farms and to create affordable housing. Equity Trust’s programs support ownership structures that balance the needs of individuals with the needs of the community, the earth, and future generations.
  • Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust protects significant natural, agricultural, and scenic areas and encourages land stewardship in North Central and Western Massachusetts for the benefit of the environment, the economy and future generations. In 25 years Mount Grace has protected nearly 25,000 acres of farmland, forestland, water resources, and wildlife habitat.
  • The Valley Community Land Trust (VCLT) is a non-profit organization that holds title to land, considering it neither as private nor public property, but as a sacred resource to be held in trust for present and future generations. Land held in trust by VCLT is made available to the community for affordable housing and sustainable agriculture.
Contacts from tour sites and co-sponsoring organizations are available for pre-event interviews. Free tickets available for Media Representatives who would like to cover the tour. Please contact Megan for details! 413-218-0683 or

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bunker Hill Community Cooperative Purchases the 14-home Bunker Hill

Press garnered about this story:

Windsor, VT – Nearly half a year after receiving news that their community was likely to be shut down forever, homeowners at Bunker Hill Mobile Home Park are now celebrating taking ownership of their community on June 30, 2011. The community’s land and facilities are now owned and democratically operated by Bunker Hill Community Cooperative (BHCC), an association comprised of all of the park’s residents. BHCC is the third resident-owned mobile home park in the state of Vermont, and the first new co-op in almost twenty years.

“At first, when our park was at risk of being shut down, I looked at this glass as being half empty, now it's overflowing,” states Bunker Hill resident and co-op member Barbara Adams. Co-op President Dave Furman adds that this recent resurgence of optimism and pride has already made a mark on the community: “The formation of the co-op has brought everyone closer together, almost like a family. Everyone has been working hard on the grounds, and in the units, taking pride in the community”.

Yet, the path to resident ownership was not an easy nor certain one. When the park’s former owner, Rockingham Community Land Trust (RACLT), sent out a notice of their intent to shut down the community back in October, 2010, Bunker hill residents were given three options: Work with RACLT to obtain relocation money in the form of a state grant, wait and hope for another nonprofit to purchase the property, or look into the feasibility of resident ownership. Intent on saving their homes, Bunker Hill residents ventured into what is unfamiliar territory in Vermont and investigated the feasibility of resident ownership. To this end, Bunker Hill residents enlisted the services of two technical assistance providers, the Vermont-based Mobile Home Project of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) and the Massachusetts-based Cooperative Development Institute (CDI).

RACLT indicated that they believed the costs of running the aging community were too high and cited the location of the community in a flood zone. Under a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, CDI completed an independently reviewed feasibility study that showed that a residents’ cooperative could in fact continue to operate the community affordably. This feasibility study now forms the basis of an operating plan that, combined with the ongoing technical assistance and training provided by both CVOEO and CDI, will ensure that the residents’ cooperative will remain successful for years to come.

And success at Bunker Hill not only benefits the 14 families residing there who get to keep their homes. According to CVOEO’s Mobile Home Project Program Director Shaun Gilpin, “this cooperative is a success not only for the community in Windsor, but for mobile home communities throughout the state as we hope to help usher in a model of community ownership that has worked so well elsewhere in the country and fits well with Vermont values of independence and strong communities.”

Mobile home cooperatives are democratic associations in which homeowners in the community each buy one low-cost share, and have one vote on matters of the community. The members elect a Board of Directors to act on day-to-day issues and vote as a membership on larger matters like the annual budget, By-laws and Community Rules.

The CVOEO Mobile Home Project (MHP) is a private non-profit that assist residents of mobile homes throughout Vermont. The MHP is the only non-profit in the state that works exclusively with residents of mobile homes and assists residents with community organizing, understanding and exercising their rights under Vermont law and accessing resources to better their standard of living.

CDI is a Regional Cooperative Development Center, founded in 1994, which has assisted dozens of new and existing cooperatives throughout New England and New York. CDI is a certified technical assistance provider with ROC USA, a national nonprofit organization that works to help residents of mobile home parks form democratically-run associations and buy their parks. CDI is working with the residents of 14 mobile home communities throughout New England. CDI is not only involved with manufactured housing but provides technical assistance to agriculture, consumer, worker-owner, energy, and fishing cooperatives.

Financing was secured through Icarus Social Capital LLC of Foxborough, Massachusetts to purchase and rehabilitate the residents’ community. Secondary Financing was provided by the Vermont Community Loan Fund and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.