Friday, September 14, 2012


Hello friends!  I am hiring, please help circulate:
The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) is a national restaurant workers’ organization dedicated to winning improved conditions for the nation's restaurant workers. Founded initially after 9/11 by restaurant workers displaced from the World Trade Center, ROC has grown into a national organization with over 9000 members in nine states. Over the last ten years ROC-United has won ten campaigns for restaurant workers against exploitative employers, winning over $5,000,000 in unpaid wages and discrimination payments for restaurant workers, as well as improvement in working conditions; published 15 reports on the industry; won a statewide minimum wage increase in New York; opened two worker-owned restaurants, COLORS of New York and Detroit, and much more. ROC affiliates in New York Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Houston, and Philadelphia all engage in three areas of work: waging campaigns for justice against low-road employers; promoting responsible employers taking the ‘high road’ to profitability; and conducting research and policy work to lift conditions industry-wide.

ROC seeks a COLORS Events and Project Coordinator.
Under direct supervision of the National High Road Coordinator of ROC-U, the COLORS Events and Project Coordinator will engage in the following:
1) Assist COLORS with building and maintaining relationships with local organizations, unions, firms, and other entities as one sees fit to establish COLORS in NY’s catering and events market,
2) Increase sales and revenue at COLORS within 3 month,
3) Lead COLORS to a balanced budget within 6 months,
4) Assist the National High Road Coordinator with developing, implementing, and evaluating a new concept for COLORS NY,
5) Provide technical assistance to local ROC affiliates on the design and implementation of new worker cooperative structures, particularly in New Orleans, LA, and DC,
6) Assist COLORS NY and COLORS Detroit in implementing their marketing concept and maximizing overall business activities,
7) Other responsibilities as needed.

- Restaurant management experience
- Familiarity with worker cooperative model structure, experience with worker cooperatives a major plus
- Events coordination experience
- Significant network of relationships nationwide within worker cooperative organizations
- Strong financial management skills
- Significant network of relationships with NY organizations, unions, wedding planners, and others who would use COLORS for events and catering

- Knowledge of menu development for parties and menu pricing
- Strong Guest Service & Front of the House Skills a plus
- Knowledge of workforce development and/or relevant adult teaching experience a plus
- Understanding of community/labor organizing
- Demonstrated commitment to racial, social, and economic justice

COMPENSATION Negotiable based on experience, plus benefits. Immigrants, women, and people of color encouraged to apply. Send cover letter and resume to

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Help us make Co-opoly 2.0 Happen; Get Great Benefits in Return; Show off Your Co-op or Organization to 20,000 People

*Please forward widely!*

Dear friends and cooperators,

I wanted to reach out to you to let you know the exciting news that The Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA) is gearing up for Co-opoly 2.0. But, we need your help to make it happen. This game is entirely ethically produced (all in the US, primarily by other worker co-ops, and on sustainable materials), and so the cost is extremely high - as we're paving the road for ethical game production. Now, we’re turning to the co-op movement to help us raise funds for another run of Co-opoly, and we've lined up a bunch of amazing rewards for individuals and co-ops/allied organizations who make a tax-deductible contribution.

Our first pressing of Co-opoly is nearly gone; we’ve sold roughly 1,000 copies to people in 20 countries around the world. People who have played Co-opoly have given positive and enthusiastic feedback, confirming that Co-opoly is both a fun game and a powerful resource for building the cooperative community. That we have nearly sold out of Co-opoly in almost a year surpassed our wildest expectations, and having support from people like you made a sizable difference.

There are still many people who have yet to play Co-opoly, and so we plan to print 2,000 more games, which will reach 12,000 to 20,000 more people—from experienced cooperators to start-up co-op members, educators, families, organizers, and many others. Like when we launched, we are providing our individual supporters with amazing rewards. There's a whole other set of rewards for co-ops/allied organizations, too, such as being featured in the game, free copies of Co-opoly, your logo on the box, a custom version of the game designed for your co-op or community, being thanked in the instructions, and so much more. All of this could be seen by up to 20,000 people! And don't forget, thanks to CDI, all contributions are tax deductible!

Can you give today to take Co-opoly to the next level? Organizations can get these wonderful benefits, and individuals can receive these. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions. Thank you so much for your continued support. 

In cooperation,
Brian Van Slyke

P.S. Haven't played Co-opoly yet but want to give it a shot? You can buy it here!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Job Opportunity: Equal Exchange Sales Reps

The positions will be based out of West Bridgewater.

Equal Exchange is seeking Sales Reps to join our team. 

Food Service Sales Rep:
This position is part of our cafĂ© sales team, partnering with coffee-focused customers who brew and serve our coffee.  Sales reps are expected to excel in building meaningful relationships around quality coffee and in communicating Equal Exchange’s unique program, starting with our commitment to sourcing from small farmers.  Sales reps work with existing customers and are accountable for securing new customers.  Previous experience preferred in some of the following: coffee, sales, training.

Natural Foods Sales Rep:
This position is part of our natural foods sales team, partnering with customers focused on offering products that both taste great and create social change.  Sales reps are expected to excel in building meaningful relationships around fairly traded products – coffee, chocolate, tea and snacks – and in communicating Equal Exchange’s unique program, starting with our commitment to sourcing from small farmers.  Sales reps are accountable for deepening programs with current customers, as well as securing new customers.  Previous experience preferred in some of the following: coffee, sales, co-ops.

To apply, please email your resume, cover letter, and your answers to the application questions below to  Full job descriptions for both positions can be found at

Application questions:
1.      Equal Exchange works with small-scale coffee farmers in countries such as Peru and Nicaragua. What do these farmers want from a relationship with Equal Exchange? How can Equal Exchange effectively help them to develop the resources to solve their pressing problems? 
2.      A new Sales Representative’s goal is to sell an additional $120,000 worth of products – or about 17,000 pounds of coffee – in a year.  This goal includes sales growth in current customers’ coffee programs as well as sales to new customers that the Sales Representative secures.  How would you go about reaching this goal? Why should Equal Exchange feel confident that you can reach this goal?
3.      What would you do as a Sales Representative in the following situation? You are approaching a Food Co-op that sells and brews coffee from their local roaster.  While the buyer believes in Fair Trade, they think that their commitment to a local roaster better serves their community and provides a great avenue to discuss sustainability.  How would you convince them to consider Equal Exchange’s coffee program?

October is Co-op Month: Events in Maine

    October is Co-op Month

    Each October, cooperatives all across America celebrate the role, accomplishments and contributions of our nation's cooperatives. Cooperative Maine will once again be sponsoring events and raising awareness about co-ops.  
    Cooperative Maine is a network of co-op advocates around the state,
    promoting support for existing cooperatives and encouraging the
    creation of new ones. These can be consumer (such as co-op food
    stores), producer (farmer or craft), worker (such as Fedco Seeds),
    housing (several in Maine and now the purchase of mobile home parks
    by tenants), electric (Eastern Maine Electric Co-op), and credit unions.

    The annual celebrations play a key role in promoting cooperatives to
    co-op members, the public and policy makers. Through a combination of
    media outreach, member education, and interaction with policy makers,
    co-op month events help raise the visibility of cooperatives as a way
    of creating democratic workplaces.

    Research shows that when consumers know a business is a cooperative
    or credit union (which are financial cooperatives), they are more
    likely to do business with it. And with consumer trust in co-ops
    topping investor-owned companies, promoting a business as a
    cooperative is a win-win proposition.

    In Maine, there will be a variety of events taking place during the
    month and stretching into the beginning of November, including Credit
    Union Week, October 14-20, film showings, forums, concerts, and more.

    For more information about Co-op Month and a directory of Maine
    cooperatives, email or go to

    October: Co-op Month, with events highlighting cooperatives in Maine
    throughout the Month. Cooperative Maine, 525-7776.

    October 14-20: Credit Union Week celebrated by credit unions
    throughout Maine. Credit Union Day will be on October 18. For local
    events for more info: Jon Paradise, Maine Credit Union League,

    October 18: ""I Am" film shown in conjunction with Co-op Month, time
    TBA, Public Library, Rockland. Good Tern Cooperative, 594-8822 or

    October 21: "Concert for Cooperatives" performance w/Emma's
    Revolution, 7 PM, First Congregational Church, 22 Tenney Hill, Blue
    Hill. Blue Hill Co-op, 441-2785 or

    November 1: "Building a Stable Economy Right in Your Own Community"
    presentation/discussion, 6:30 PM, Public Library, Bangor. Cooperative
    Maine, deborahhawkins!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grants for Start-Up Food Co-ops Build Co-op Economy

Congratulations in particular to Northeast co-ops in Dorchester, MA, Barre, VT and Binghamton, NY!

Food Co-op Initiative is excited to announce the latest round of grants to startup food cooperatives. Full text of this press release is included below, attached, and available at


Grants Build Co-op Economy

Today Food Co-op Initiative announced grants to ten new cooperative grocery stores. An additional four co-ops will receive scholarships for board and organizer training. All fourteen awardees will bring a focus on local economy, community building, and healthy food options to their communities.

Food Co-op Initiative is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping communities make their co-op vision into reality. They are the only national organization dedicated exclusively to helping startup food co-ops. Their grants, free consultations, and extensive library of educational resources have helped dozens of co-ops get their start since Food Co-op Initiative’s inception in 2010.

Among those receiving funding is Capital City Food Co-op in Juneau, Alaska. Juneau residents began organizing in May, 2012 to bring a co-op to their remote northern city, which is accessible only by boat or airplane. “People are individualistic here,” says organizer Evelyn Rousso, “But the frontier sense of looking out for one’s neighbors is also a strong bond. Not many people could identify the Rochdale Principles, but, openness to all, democracy, honest business practices, benefits to those who participate, cooperation with others, and the good of the community are all things that really do resonate here, and are reflected in many, many ways in the daily life of our city.”

Another grantee is Dorchester Community Food Co-op, located in one of Boston, Massachusetts’s largest and most diverse neighborhoods. More than just a grocery store, in the words of organizer Jenny Silverman, “Dorchester will be a community and worker-owned market and food hub that provides economic opportunity, healthy affordable food access, and education around healthy food choices.” The Dorchester Community Food Co-op hopes to be part of an network of social enterprises that reinvigorates their inner-city commercial district.

This is the second round of grants distributed by Food Co-op Initiative. In 2011, $50,000 was awarded to eight co-ops. This year, nearly $100,000 will be distributed. However, Food Co-op Initiative Executive Director Stuart Reid says the financial support is only part of the package. “More important is the one-on-one mentoring we give our grantees. Along with regular contact through email and telephone, Food Co-op Initiative development specialists will make personal visits to each startup to provide educational workshops and organizational support.”  Food Co-op Initiatives grants are funded in part by USDA Rural Development and Blooming Prairie Foundation.

Stuart Reid

Complete list of 2012 grantees:
Capital City Market Co-op, Juneau, AK
Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, Detroit, MI
Dorchester Community Food Co-op, Boston, MA
Fuquay-Varina Community Market, Fuquay-Varina, NC
Gateway Food Cooperative, St. Paul, MN
Granite City Co-op, Barre, VT
Green Top Grocery, Bloomington, IL
Hub City Co-op, Spartanburg, SC
Many Hands Food Cooperative, Binghamton, NY
Wasatch Cooperative Market, Salt Lake City, UT

Scholarship recipients:
Deerfield Community Co-op, Deerfield, WI
Ellensburg Food Co-op, Ellensburg, WA
Hudson Grocery Cooperative, Hudson, WI
Local Roots Food Co-op, Buffalo, MN

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Accessing USDA Rural Development Programs for Cooperatives Webinar 9/20

Accessing USDA Rural Development Programs for Cooperatives Webinar 
September 20 • 2-3 pm, Eastern
Did you know cooperatives are eligible for over 15 different funding programs within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)? In this webinar, NCBA Director of Public Policy R.L. Condra will host a panel of experts from USDA who will discuss a variety of funding opportunities available through USDA Rural Development. These officials and program staff will provide overviews of the agency’s programs and discuss other co-op-related funding opportunities.
  • Find out about USDA Rural Development funding programs available to cooperatives
  • Understand the array of funding opportunities available, such as the Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, Intermediary Relending Program, Rural Community Advancement Program and Rural Energy For America Program and other energy programs
  • Hear the latest updates on the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program
  • Opportunities to interact with USDA officials and get your questions answered
  • John Padalino, Administrator for USDA Rural Development, Rural Business-Cooperative Service
  • Chad Parker, Deputy Administrator, Cooperative Programs, Rural Business and Cooperative Programs
  • Additional USDA Program Staff (To Be Announced)
Who Should Participate?
  • Senior leadership of credit unions, electric and utility co-ops, and other co-ops that could benefit from USDA funding
  • Mayors and community leaders
  • Economic and community development staff
  • Cooperative developers, representatives and volunteers
  • Grant writers
  • Members of cooperatives

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Co-opoly's Second Printing Needs Your Support!

Dear cooperators and cooperative allies,

We, the Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA), a co-op based in Northampton, MA, are preparing to print the second edition of the hit board game Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, and we need your help! 

Last year, we launched Co-opoly, and in ten months we have sold nearly 1,000 copies of our independently produced and marketed game to people all over the world. We are almost out of stock and are seeking contributions to help us print the second edition. In return, we’ll give you amazing rewards, benefits, and publicity. All contributions are tax deductible! 

Co-opoly has reached thousands of people around the world and has proven to be both a fun game and a powerful resource for building the cooperative community. Our game is also the first of its kind that we know of to be manufactured in accordance with sustainable and ethical business practices. While the game’s popularity thus far has been great, we need support to print the second edition. 

Our goal is to print 2,000 games, which will reach 12,000 to 20,000 people—from experienced cooperators to start-up co-op members, educators, families, organizers, and beyond. In return for your tax-deductible contributions, you can receive an array of benefits, such as being featured in the game; your logo on the box; free copies of Co-opoly; free advertising for your organization; and so much more! By helping us make this game available to more people and communities, you will also be spreading the word about your organization and mission. 

Visit our website to download the information kit and find out more details about our campaign to fund the second printing of Co-opoly. You can reach us by phone at 617-252-8799 or by email at We look forward to talking with you about Co-opoly!

Job Opening: catering coordinator Local Sprouts worker co-op

Local Sprouts Cooperative, Portland, Maine's only worker co-op, is hiring for a catering coordinator/worker-owner.  If you ever thought of moving to Portland and you love catering, here's a great opportunity. 

Job Opening for Catering Coordinator at 
Local Sprouts Cooperative

Do you want to work in the local food movement? Do you want to work in a democratic workplace where your voice and ideas are respected?  Do you love catering and sharing food around Maine? 

Local Sprouts Cooperative, Maine's only worker-owned cafe and caterer is looking for a Catering Coordinator. Candidates should be able to provide detailed coordination of catering jobs from start to finish and feel comfortable both in kitchen and service roles. Duties to include meeting with prospective customers, menu planning and execution, details of service, delegation of staff on site, invoicing, and working with other coordinators to execute jobs. Must have flexibility in schedule, good communication skills, be able to work independently and with a team, be able to deal with stress, be able to work long hours, and want to work in a cooperative setting. Catering experience is necessary and job coordination or management experience is helpful.  

All regular workers at Local Sprouts Cooperative become worker-owners of our cooperative.  If you apply, you should want to become an owner of Local Sprouts and be prepared to put extra energy and commitment into your work.  All worker-owners are expected to invest time and money, and participate in at least one committee.  We have monthly worker-owner meetings where all worker-owners come together to discuss proposals and make decisions together.   If we have surplus revenue at the end of the year, all worker-owners share our profits.  Together we are building a great work environment where workers are respected, we practice positive communication and mutual support, and we cook and serve delicious local food for our community.

To read more about our cooperative go to or to read more about worker cooperatives you can go to

Please apply by 9/14 and include a creative cover letter (it can be a picture, poem, song or a letter) and resume detailing your experience.
Please send emails to or drop-off at Local Sprouts Cafe, 649 Congress St. Portland, ME.