Friday, August 24, 2012

Course on "Creating a Cooperative Food Economy" at Greenfield Community College, MA

AGR114 "Creating a Cooperative Food Economy" at Greenfield Community College

Meets on *Thursdays, 6pm-7:30pm from 9/6 to 10/18 & Field trip Sun, 9/30 from 10am-2:30pm. *

AGR 114: Creating a Cooperative Food Economy 
(1-credit OR not-for-credit through Community Education) (15 hours total)

Course Description

Explores cooperative member-owned business models (co-ops) and their various forms of democratic ownership with a focus on the local food economy. Students form groups and receive mentorship in creating their own co-op enterprise with the goals of strengthening food security, sustainability, and/or food access. Interactive workshops and hands-on field trips to co-ops inform students' understanding of the local food economy in the Pioneer Valley. Field trips required. No pre-requisites.

Register here:

Creating a Cooperative Food Economy is being taught by next-generation co-op leaders from the worker cooperative Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA). The course is part of a broader national initiative
called Cooperative Teach-in, a component of the US program for the International Year of Cooperatives.

Email instructors with any questions: Brian Van or Andrew

This course provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our regional food system in the Pioneer Valley, gain professional development experience, explore co-operative business ideas, begin working on the foundations of a potential cooperative enterprise, and network with other cooperatively-minded students and entrepreneurs.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Job Opportunity: worker co-op in western MA

Local Food Delivery Collective-  Part time Customer Service & Logistics Coordinator

Valley Green Feast Collective is looking for a new part-time worker owner to join our team. VGF delivers fresh, local, and organic food to homes around the Pioneer Valley in an effort to support local agriculture and make healthy food more accessible in our community. We strive to create a just, equitable work environment that fosters growth, learning, and collaboration.  We are a worker owned collective business wherein decisions are made by consensus and all workers are part owners.  To learn more about the business visit

Job Description:
  • +/- 20 hours per week including Friday delivery shift (other hours flex)
  • Customer service and logistics coordination.
  • Compensation is $9.00/hr. to start plus mileage reimbursement @ $.56 cents per mile, surplus produce, and the ability to purchase local food at wholesale pricing.
  • This position starts October 1st, 2012.
  • We are asking for at least a two-year commitment

General tasks include picking up local products, packing boxes, delivering boxes in personal vehicle up to 100 miles per week, frequent email communication with other worker owners, and attending bimonthly meetings.  Specific tasks include answering phone calls, emails,  managing customer orders, designing routes, and coordinating weekly logistics.  There will be a one month training period, during which the current and new workers will work together to create a smooth transition.

  • Knowledge of worker owned Collectives/Cooperatives
  • Ability to communicate clearly and directly
  • Commitment to working in a collectively run business
  • Must be organized, reliable, good attention to detail
  • Familiarity with Excel and Google docs
  • Driver's license, car insurance, and a reliable car for weekly use in deliveries
  • Clean Driving Record
  • Availability on Fridays for a shift up to 10 hours 
  • Regular internet access and computer literacy
  • Must be self directed, motivated and energetic
  • Interest in and enthusiasm about local food and agriculture
  • Customer service experience

  • Knowledge of local farms, farmers and farm products 
  • Interest in Social Justice and Sustainability
  • Interest in Cooperative economies and inter-cooperation

To apply, please email to a letter of interest, resume, and two professional and two personal references by September 10th.  No phone calls, please.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Job Opportunity: Cooperation Texas Education & Outreach Coordinator


Position Summary
Cooperation Texas is seeking a full-time Education & Outreach Coordinator to build awareness and support for worker cooperatives in Texas.  While all small businesses face significant challenges, worker cooperatives confront additional obstacles as a result of widespread gaps in knowledge about the cooperative model and its benefits among workers, consumers, financial institutions and professional service providers. The Education & Outreach Coordinator creates a more hospitable environment for worker cooperatives to thrive through education, outreach and movement building — leveling the playing field for the development and support of a new economy based on democracy, sustainability and cooperation.

Founded in October 2009 in response to growing economic inequality, Cooperation Texas is an Austin-based organization committed to the creation of sustainable jobs through the development, support and promotion of worker-owned cooperatives. We believe everyone deserves equal access to dignified employment, which is why we place those most directly affected by social and economic inequality at the center of our work. We provide education, training and technical assistance to existing and start-up worker cooperatives in all sectors of the economy, helping launch and strengthen businesses across Texas that put people and the planet first.

  • Develop creative educational materials on worker-owned cooperatives.
  • Facilitate workshops on the worker cooperative model in schools, churches and other community-based organizations.
  • Plan creative and engaging educational events throughout the year.
  • Set annual outreach & education goals, along with objectives and activities to reach those goals.
  • Coordinate a team of volunteers to support outreach & education efforts.
  • Develop and foster relationships with community-based partners and allies.
  • Write, edit and oversee the design of outreach materials, including brochures, newsletters, t-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc.
  • Manage online communications, including our blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • Assist in the coordination of fundraising events.
Required Qualifications
  • Excellent written and verbal communication.
  • Computer literacy in Word, Excel, Email and Internet.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse populations.
  • Commitment to social, economic and environmental justice.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Experience with social media, including Facebook, Twitter and blogging.
  • Sense of humor and cooperative attitude.
Desired Qualifications
  • A commitment to grow with the organization.
  • Spanish-language proficiency.
  • Experience with community organizing or economic development.
  • Knowledge of and/or experience with popular education.
  • Knowledge of and/or experience with cooperatives and democratically-run organizations.
  • Graphic design skills.
    Health care stipend
    Paid Time Off
    Professional development opportunities

To apply:
Send a resume, cover letter and three references to  We will accept applications until August 31, 2012, or until the position is filled.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

News You Can Use: Co-ops Building Healthy Communities

Co-ops Building Healthy Communities
In This Issue

  • Food Co-op Impacts
  • Healthy Food Financing
  • Co-op Job Openings
  • Training Opportunities

Cooperative Development Institute is growing! 

A big welcome to our two new staff members, Matt Meyer and Rob Brown. They are both joining the New England Resident Owned Communities Program, Matt as a Southern New England organizer and Rob as the lead organizer in Maine. We're delighted to be bringing more top-notch services to aspiring and beginning resident-owners!

Have you met with your Congressperson?

Summer recess is a good time to meet with your Congressperson. They are looking to connect with constituents, so let your Representative know how much you love your co-op and what a difference it is making to you and your community. Get your Rep. to become a co-sponsor of HR 3677, the National Cooperative Development Act, by reminding them Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World.

Now is the time to start planning for Co-op Month!

October is right around the corner. Hurry over to the Co-op Month website to get loads of resources and ideas on how to celebrate and educate about cooperatives.

And here you thought August was a time to relax... On the plus side: local watermelons at your food co-op! (Photo via River Valley Market Co-op)
Riverland Farm locally grown organic watermelons, via River Valley Market

Cooperative Development Institute: 
The Northeast's Center for Cooperative Business
Dear Co-operator,

What's to love about co-ops? So much!
Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities

How Does Your Grocery Store Check Out?The National Cooperative Grocers Association has just released a report, a result of a collaboration with the ICA Group, that details the many ways that consumer owned food co-ops out-perform their conventional counterparts in bringing healthy, local, organic foods to their shoppers, while recycling more, paying employees better, and contributing more to their local communities.

Millions of Dollars Available in Healthy Food Financing & More

The Cooperative Fund of New England announced that the US Treasury’s CDFI Fund has awarded it $1.7 million as part of its Financial Assistance program, one of the largest awards made this year. Of this award, $1 million will support its healthy food finance 
program with the balance supporting their general lending program. 

Congratulations to other awardees in our region, includingGenesis Fund (CDI's collaborator in bringing Resident Owned Communities to Maine), Coastal Enterprises Inc. (a long-time community economic development fund helping many Maine co-ops), Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (mainly focused on employee-owned businesses), Vermont Community Loan FundNew Hampshire Community Loan Fund and ROC USA Capital, and a whole lot of credit unions.
Job Openings

The Old Creamery Co-op has an immediate opening for a General Manager. They're looking for someone with senior management experience in a retail food business and strong skills in financial management, marketing, problem solving, communication, and community building. They seek an inspired leader who embraces challenge and who has vision, compassion, and a sense of humor. More information about the job posting is here, as well as a link to a detailed job description.

Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is looking for aCooperative Developer. Help this successful program continue to develop worker-owned cooperatives among a largely immigrant population. Apply by August 15!

Green Worker Cooperatives in the South Bronx is looking for aVolunteer Coordinator

Training Opportunities

Interested in being a co-op developer but need to upgrade your skills? Consider attending Session One of the Cooperation Works! professional development program in Madison, WI this September. Or stay on the lookout for the application to be part of the 2013 cohort of Democracy At Work Network (DAWN) peer technical advisors

To be a stronger co-op manager, you can get your master's in co-op and credit union management at Saint Mary's

For all co-operators: attend the NCBA Annual Meeting and Co-op Conference in Seattle, WA October 2-5 (youth scholarships available!), and Imagine 2012, the international conference on co-operative economics, and the International Summit of Cooperativesin Quebec, October 6-11. 

Donate to 4 Aspiring Worker Co-ops

There are four amazing nascent worker cooperatives raising funds now to participate in the Green Worker Cooperatives Co-op Academy Fall 2012 session. Give them a boost!