Thursday, May 23, 2013

NCBA Legislative and Advocacy Update: June 4

NCBA Education & Training

Legislative and Advocacy Update

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 • 12 - 1 pm, Eastern

Join NCBA CLUSA President and CEO Mike Beall and Capitol Hill professionals as they discuss cooperative legislative matters and current issues in Washington. With Congress working on important legislation such as tax reform, the farm bill and the appropriations process, now is the time to get updated on issues that are important to you, your cooperative, and your community. During this update, learn what NCBA CLUSA is working on legislatively to advance the cooperative business model within Congress, the White House, and the federal government.

Update Areas
  • Overview of the current work in Congress and the Administration
  • USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program consolidation proposal
  • Development legislation: “Creating Jobs Through Cooperatives Act of 2013”
  • Food Co-op eligibility for SBA programs
  • Credit Union legislation including the “Member Business Lending” bill
  • Tax reform and how it affects cooperatives including credit unions
  • FEMA housing cooperative disaster funding eligibility
  • R.L. Condra - Vice President of Advocacy, NCBA CLUSA
  • Mike Beall - President and CEO, NCBA CLUSA
  • John Weinfurter - Vice President, Government Relations, Witt | O'Brien's
  • John Harsch - Director, Government Relations, Witt | O'Brien's
  • John McKechnie - Partner, Total Spectrum
Who Should Attend
  • Cooperative developers, representatives, and volunteers
  • Members of community service organizations
  • Other groups/individuals that support the co-op movement and are interested in learning about cooperative legislative matters
Register for Free
Like Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Visit Our Website
The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the national association for cooperative businesses providing cross-sector education, support and advocacy helping co-ops thrive across a variety of sectors. For nearly 100 years, our mission has been to develop, advance and protect cooperative enterprises demonstrating that cooperatives are a better business model for advancing economic and social impact. For the last 50 years, we have supported cooperative development globally through our CLUSA international program.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Donate to the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy! $2500 matching grant opportunity

By now, I hope that you're aware that the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy--the high-energy, information-packed biennial eastern region worker co-op conference--will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia July 26th-28th.

In order to make a grant match, we're raising money in amounts of $100 or less from individuals, co-ops, and organizations.  Fund 4 Democratic Communities, a nonprofit in Greensboro, NC, has committed  $2500 for the conference if we can match that amount.  To do this, we need as many people as possible to pitch in at on  

ECWD's nonprofit fiduciary is EDINA.  If you'd prefer to send a check, make it out to EDINA/ECWD 13 and mail it to ECWD / 463 Lincoln Place #126 / Brooklyn, NY 11238-6201.

If you know of others who may be willing to help with this, please forward this information to them.  

Mary Hoyer
ECWD Advisor
Amherst, MA 

The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy will be held from July 26th-28th at Drexel University in Philadelphia PA. This year’s theme “Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities” will examine strategies to maximize growth and development inside of cooperatives and in the cooperative movement while maintaining cooperatives’ democratic values. 
In addition to the a full slate of workshops, discussions and panels and on cooperative mechanics, development and finances from expert developers and worker-owners from across the country this year’s conference will feature workshops such as: 
•Planning for Development: Strategic Planning and Goal Setting in the cooperative context 
•Scaling Democracy: Transitioning between structures to maintain workplace democracy 
•Changing States: Moving from “maintenance” to development in an established cooperative 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Job Posting: Equal Exchange banana team -- logistics and sales

OKE USA FRUIT COMPANY - Banana Logistics and Sales

Full time regular position (~45-50 hours / week)
Salary: Dependent on experience
Benefits: 100% individual health insurance premium coverage and significant portion of dependent coverage, vacation, holidays and sick days
Location: Equal Exchange Headquarters, West Bridgewater, MA

In 2006, three entrepreneurial organizations came together to create Oke USA. Their goal was to introduce small farmer, fair trade bananas to the US market. Today, Oke USA operates as the banana importing arm of Equal Exchange. We invite you to join us. Together we can create a more just food system and a healthier planet.

Duties and Responsibilities include:

  • Logistics (70%): producer relations support, fruit procurement, ocean transportation, quality control, customs, U.S. transport, and coordination of weekly fruit supply to ripeners and distributors;
  • Sales (10%): account maintenance, new sales, store visits and events, pricing and financial analysis;
  • Marketing and education (10%): grassroots marketing to build store and consumer awareness of brand mission through demos, social media, print, store staff trainings, educational lectures;
  • Team (10%): work with the Oke team to manage new sales, supply chain development and creative thinking around building alternative fair trade supply chains

  • Ability to manage complex logistics
  • Resiliency
  • Problem solver
  • Team player
  • Ability to work independently
  • Time management skills
  • Ability to relocate to Boston area
  • Willingness to travel domestically and internationally
  • Ability to work under high stress in a fast paced environment
  • Attention to detail alongside the ability to think big picture
  • Commitment to making a difference and passion for issues related to sustainable agriculture and food systems!

  • 2 or more years in produce
  • Experience with perishable commodity logistics
  • Experience with Latin American producer groups
  • Spanish language skills

Email (preferred) or mail a cover letter, resume and brief answers to the three application questions below to:

Oke USA, 50 United Drive, West Bridgewater, MA 02379


If you were a small scale banana farmer, what would you want out of a relationship with Oke USA?

The top five banana companies (Dole, Chiquita, Noboa, Fyffes, Fresh Del Monte) account for more than 80% of world banana market. Oke USA operates at a minute scale in comparison. What are the some of the challenges associated with this difference in scale and how would you approach those challenges?

Oke USA must compete with other produce companies on the most conventional terms while also carrying out our fair trade mission. What do you bring to a company with this challenge?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Congratulations Real Pickles on transitioning to a Cooperative!

Real Pickles is now a Cooperative!

Friends of Real Pickles:

As of today, we are now a worker-owned cooperative!  Hurray!!

Thanks to huge support from our community, a successful community investment campaign, and many months of hard work from our founding co-op team here at Real Pickles, this morning we signed the documents that made the conversion official.  Real Pickles is now "Real Pickles Cooperative."

We are still the same folks who bring you healthy, fermented veggies from regional, organic farms - but now we have expanded our mission to include a democratic workplace and access to ownership for our employees.  We have also secured our social mission for the long term!

If you are interested in reading more about our co-op transition, here are some links to pieces that we've developed throughout the process.  Enjoy!!
Best wishes from the founding co-op members,
Dan, Addie Rose, Kristin, Brendan, and Annie
Thanks for your support!

Real Pickles | 311 Wells Street | Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301

Job posting: Housing Program Organizer (Eastern and Central MA, Eastern CT, RI)

Cooperative Development Institute ( is seeking a new hire to join its New England Resident Owned Communities (NEROC) Program. The main work of the program is to assist the residents in the nearly 1200 manufactured home parks in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine to purchase their communities and manage them as resident-owned cooperatives. The program is part of the highly successful ROC USA Network (

This position will focus primarily on providing technical assistance to manufactured housing communities throughout Southeastern New England (Eastern and Central Massachusetts, Eastern Connecticut, and Rhode Island). The successful candidate will be enthusiastic, a good communicator, a self-starter, ready to learn, able to travel and work on some evenings and weekends. The housing program work is full-time (40 hrs/week). A new hire may also have the option of supplementing this work by taking on fee-for-service cooperative development projects that the Cooperative Development Institute is working on outside of the NEROC program.

See job description below. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume with references to This position will remain open until filled.

Job Title: Housing Program Organizer (Full Time).
Reports to: Executive Director, Housing Program Manager
Base Salary Compensation: $35-45,000 plus benefits (Exempt)
Full-time Position: 40 hours/week
Position Overview: Aids the Housing Program Manager in organizing manufactured home park residents to form cooperatives to purchase and manage their communities; provides training and assistance to existing resident-owned manufactured home communities, both individually and in groups; helps members understand their roles and responsibilities in order to more effectively manage their resident owned community; fosters a sense of empowerment and community spirit.

Housing Program Organizer

Essential Job Functions

1. Assists Housing Program Manager with community organizing and technical assistance to resident owned manufactured housing communities; includes door-to-door canvassing, community meetings and presentations, mailings, and incorporation assistance.
2. Assists in resident association board meetings, including preparation, agenda setting, running efficient meetings, follow-up, and review of minutes and financial statements.
3. Provides organizational and administrative assistance to the Housing Program Manager to ensure that the various elements of the Housing Program are running smoothly; includes meeting facilitation, fundraising assistance, and fulfilling reporting requirements.
4. Provides direct support and organizational training to cooperative board members, committees and residents. 5. In each developing co-op,
o trains committee and facilitates the production of Bylaws.
o trains committee and facilitates the production of Community Rules.
o trains committee and facilitates the approval of membership committee policies and procedures, as well as policies for general governance of Associations.
6. Contributes to the development and implementation of workshops for board and community members on range of topics including: board and members’ roles and responsibilities, working in teams, infrastructure and planning for the future, community building, motivating volunteers, corporate finances and communication.
7. Assists both established and developing resident-owned communities with all aspects of their financial and loan compliance responsibilities.
8. As needed, assists struggling cooperatives to assess their organizational health, identify problems, and develop goals and a plan of action.
9. Other tasks and special projects, as assigned by the Program Manager.

Organizational Expectations:

1. Responsible for conducting all activities within the prescribed policy and budgetary guidelines as set by the Board and administered by the Executive Director.
2. Functions as a participant in CDI's Cooperative Development Team, sharing information effectively to assist others in doing CDI's work. Builds positive and strong relationships with other CDI staff.
3. Demonstrates personal responsibility in job performance.
4. Responsible for role modeling professional standard of behavior. Takes this role within the organization, is consistently respectful and professional with staff and clients.
5. May be required to perform additional, related duties or functions of lesser or greater responsibility as negotiated to meet the ongoing needs of the organization.

Minimum Requirements

1. 3 to 5 years of cooperative business experience, including project management experience in for-profit, non-profit community or economic development organizations.
2. Experience with group facilitation, coaching a group through an autonomous decision-making process, and coping with conflict situations.

Knowledge Skills/Abilities

1. Advanced degree in related field welcomed, minimum of Bachelors degree or equivalent.
2. Strong knowledge of fiscal management, strategic planning and general business practices.
3. Working understanding of budgeting, real estate and financing.
4. Strong knowledge of and commitment to cooperatives and cooperative development.
5. Well-developed partnership, process development and integration and planning skills.
6. Familiarity with public policy process and development.
7. Excellent communication skills, including public speaking, consensus-building and facilitation skills.
8. Proactive and team-oriented leadership required.
9. Ability to think critically and solve problems creatively with small and large groups.
10. Demonstrated experience working effectively on a team.
11. Demonstrated success in community building and organizing.
12. Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills.
13. Demonstrated experience in working remotely/independently.
14. Computer literacy required.
15. Ability to work with diverse groups of residents as well as town and state officials, attorneys, engineers, and other professionals.
16. Available evenings and occasional weekends.
17. Ability to travel.
18. Experience with cooperative governance structures and working with boards of directors preferred.
19. Experience with meeting process, property management, or contractor negotiations a bonus.


1. Well spoken and articulate.
2. Calm demeanor; able to perform under pressure during difficult interpersonal conflict.
3. Plans ahead, able to complete tasks and meet tight deadlines.
4. Able to understand and manage multiple complex tasks.
5. Works collaboratively, self-motivated, flexible, enthusiastic.

In accordance with Federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the base of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (voice and TDD).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Press release: Homeowners purchase 200-site North Adams park; join Mass. trend of resident-owned manufactured home communities

For Immediate Release

May 2, 2013

Wheel Estates Tenants Association Inc. 

Homeowners purchase 200-site North Adams park; 
join Mass. trend of resident-owned manufactured home communities 

Andy Danforth, Housing Program Director, CDI (401) 439-9795
Michael Sloss, Managing Director, ROC USA® Capital: (202) 595-2690
Paul Bradley, President, ROC USA, LLC (603) 856-0709
North Adams, Mass. – Homeowners in this 200-home manufactured housing community took a big step toward securing their financial futures when they collectively bought their neighborhood as a resident corporation this week. 

The Wheel Estates Tenants Association Board of Directors said that while complex, the purchase process went more smoothly than they anticipated.

“It was hard work but it was all worth it,” board members wrote in a prepared statement. “The board is dedicated to the growth of our community with the support of our residents to put our best efforts into enhancing the community.”

The resident association purchased the community May 2 for $2.65 million with assistance from the Cooperative Development Institute. CDI is a certified technical assistance provider with ROC USA® Network, a national non-profit organization that works to help residents of for-sale mobile home parks form cooperatives and buy their communities. Technical assistance will continue to be provided by CDI to the association for the length of the mortgage — a minimum of 10 years.

In addition to a first mortgage that covered the purchase price, ROC USA Capital also provided a construction loan of up to $ 1.1 million to address infrastructure upgrades.

Wheel Estates is the sixth Massachusetts community supported by ROC USA Network. CDI and ROC USA helped more than 450 homeowners in two Carver communities purchase their parks in June and 66 homeowners in Plymouth in February. In these democratic associations, homeowners in the community each buy one low-cost membership interest. Each household has 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.

Andy Danforth, Director of CDI’s New England Resident Owned Communities (NEROC) Program, noted the extra challenge of for the first time working in a city with rent control ordinances. He joined the Wheel Estates board members in praising the efforts of city officials to accommodate a new model of community ownership.

“The city rent control board developed, in a matter of only three weeks, a new policy and rent adjustment application for resident-owned communities, and a new rent based upon resident member vote, contingent upon their purchase,” Danforth said.

Community owner Bob Morgan said selling to the residents was like any conventional sale.

“The transaction involved all the normal things, no surprises,” Morgan said. “Andy did a great job.”

Financing for the project came from ROC USA Capital. ROC USA Capital is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ROC USA and a U.S. Department of Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution.

ROC USA Capital Managing Director Michael Sloss pointed to the community’s prime location, with sweeping views of the Berkshires, hundreds of undeveloped hillside acres, the abutting Savoy Mountain State Forest and easy access to shopping, schools and more.

“We’re excited to meet both the community acquisition and community improvement needs with our financing,” said Sloss, noting that a significant portion of ROC USA Capital’s loan is targeted to water, sewer and road improvements. “The preservation of the homes in Wheel Estates through affordable, fixed-rate community financing will have lasting impact in North Adams.”

Cooperative ownership of mobile home parks as a way of preserving affordable communities is a priority for several national non-profit organizations that in 2008 formed ROC USA to make resident-owned communities viable nationwide. ROC USA is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, NCB Capital Impact, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

ROC USA is a non-profit organization with a national network of eight organizations such as CDI and a national financing source for resident-owned communities. “We solve the two basic barriers to resident ownership – access to expert technical assistance and financing to help homeowners become buyers when their community is for sale,” said Paul Bradley, ROC USA’s founding president.

ROC USA Network has helped 46 communities preserve nearly 3,200 homes in 13 states since its launch in May 2008.

The Cooperative Development Institute is a regional cooperative development center, founded in 1994, which has assisted dozens of new and existing cooperatives throughout New England and New York. It is involved in cooperative housing as well as agriculture, consumer, worker-owner, energy, and fishing cooperatives. For rural senior co-op development, CDI received support from the Cooperative Development Foundation.

This is the 10th resident corporation purchase for CDI in 29 months, with six in Massachusetts, three in Vermont and one in Maine.