Thursday, October 31, 2013

Food First trip to Basque Country to Explore Food Sovereignty and Cooperative Production

BASQUE COUNTRY: Food Sovereignty and Cooperative Production
 March 22-30, 2014
Join Food First and experience the Spanish Basque Country, Euskal Herria, through the eyes of local farmers and activists while exploring food sovereignty and cooperative production.

Specially hosted by the Basque Farmers’ Union, recent honorees of the 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize, you’ll have the unique opportunity to learn how agriculture and food play key economic and social roles within Basque society by preserving important threatened traditions. Tour the renowned Mondragón worker-owned cooperative and stay in farmer-owned guesthouses and learn about the struggles and triumphs of Basque history while sharing delicious, local, cooperatively grown food.

We want to honor the US cooperative movement, and are offering a $100 discount to members of cooperatives. Just enter Coop2014 upon registering. We also provide partial scholarships through our Scholarship Program.

*Scholarships available for qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.

*The trip prices reflect fair compensation for the many groups and individuals who contribute their time, energy and expertise to the delegations. Please see website for cost inclusions/exclusions.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Job posting: R.I. Food Co-op seeks General Manager

Job Announcement for Alternative Food Co-op General Manager position

The Alternative Food Cooperative of Wakefield, RI, is looking for a full-time General Manager and invites applications from the greater food co-op and sustainable living business community. Please see the job description below.

The Co-op, in business for 43 years, is located in downtown Wakefield, a village in the town of South Kingstown on the rural-suburban southern shore of Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island is four miles from the Co-op. The area has a vibrant and growing local food movement, with several farmers’ markets and Community-Supported Agriculture enterprises that include local fish and shellfish, vegetables, fruits, and meats.

It is a relatively small Co-op at 2200 sq. ft. with about 200 active members, and 14 staff members. Earlier this year, we formed a Strategic Planning Committee of Board members, staff, and members considering a move or expansion to let us better serve our membership. The new General Manager will be an integral member of this team and vision.

We are looking for a General Manager who has the ambition, experience, and energy to take the Co-op to the next level.

Salary will be commensurate with experience. Moving expenses not covered.

This is a wonderful opportunity for an energetic person dedicated to the co-op movement and local and organic food to “make a difference” by growing the Alternative Food Co-op to an organization that takes full advantage of the demographics of south coastal Rhode Island and the growing local food movement. We look forward to meeting our new General Manager!

Please submit a resume and a cover letter for consideration. Include the name, address, email, and telephone number of three references who can attest to your experience and abilities. Resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.

General Manager Position Description

General Responsibilities: To manage the Co-op Operations, to meet the goals and objectives of the membership and the Board of Directors, and to uphold the Co-op’s principles as defined in the Mission Statement

Supervision Received: Reports to and serves at the discretion of the Board of Directors

  • Demonstrated leadership, team building, delegation and motivation skills
  • Successful experience managing a retail food store, preferably in a natural foods, cooperative model including supervision, business planning, development and administration
  • Experience preparing and implementing annual budgets
  • A comprehensive understanding of current trends in natural foods industry, and commitment to local, sustainable foods and the cooperative model
  • Experience in all phases of retail store operations
  • Strong communication skills (both verbal and written)
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple demands, prioritize, and delegate appropriately
  • Demonstrated high integrity and commitment to ethical business practices
  • Demonstrated computer proficiency

  • Efficiently and effectively organize the Co-op’s operations to ensure profitability
  • Identify and address operational problems in a timely fashion
  • Plan for the Co-op’s ongoing operational needs, including technology, facilities, and equipment
  • Compliance with all applicable laws: licenses, permits, health regulations, workers compensation, & employment requirements
  • Administration of benefits and requirements
  • Assessment of member and patron needs and desires to increase membership and participation
  • Prioritization of goals and projects
  • Timely and accurate reporting including presentations to membership at Annual Meeting

Planning and Development - Assist the board with:
  • Development of long term vision (strategic plan)
  • Preparation of a business plan
  • Store development goals and priorities
  • Assessment of capital needs and development of sources

  • Annual operating, capital, and cash budgets
  • Timely and accurate reporting to board and membership
  • Goals and key indicators for operations: margin, sales, profits, turns, membership

Marketing and Merchandising
  • Set purchasing and pricing guidelines
  • Promotions and display
  • Newsletter, advertising, and other communications
  • Oversee keeping website active and up to date
  • Participation in community events

  • Wages and benefits
  • Grievance procedures
  • Participation and decision making
  • Hiring, orientation, training, scheduling, evaluation, promotion, discipline, dismissal

Board Relationship
  • Work with the Board to establish and implement goals and policies
  • Interpret financial statements and effectively convey them to the Board
  • Informational and leadership support

  • Perform other tasks as assigned by the Board of Directors

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Hampshire Community Seafood multi-stakeholder co-op featured in Rural Cooperatives Magazine, Sept/Oct issue

CDI's Lynda Brushett and Noemi Giszpenc teamed up to report on the new multi-stakeholder co-op in New Hampshire, NH Community Seafood, owned by fishermen and consumers. Using the community-supported agriculture marketing model, they are shoring up the basis for viable local fisheries. See, Sept/Oct issue, pages 24-25.
photo Sarah VanHorn

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Launch of web series: My So-Called Housing Cooperative

Craig Saddlemire, film-maker and founder-member of Faire Bande A Part in Lewiston, ME, writes:

    October is Co-Op Month and the perfect time to release the first episode in a short web series I'm producing called My So-Called Housing Cooperative.

    Episode 1: The New Member(s) will be released Monday, October 28th on Vimeo , Youtube , and Facebook.

    My So-Called Housing Cooperative is the story of young adults trying to live a life of cooperation and compassion... without losing their minds. Each month's webispode features a scripted parody based upon real life at the Faire Bande à Part Housing Cooperative (Faire-Op), a 3 story apartment building in Lewiston, ME. Founded in 2008 by four young idealists, the Faire-Op was Maine's first fully occupied housing cooperative. Since 2008, every month has brought about hardships, miracles, and mayhem. Rather than sell a glorified vision of cooperative living, members of the Faire-Op felt it would be more entertaining and informative to foreground the unique challenges they face. Each episode, the story is comprised of memories, premonitions, and exagerations of real events. All of the characters in the show are played by actual Faire-Op members, but the twist is that each episode, one member performs the role of everyone. My So-Called Housing Cooperative is not just a program to educate others about cooperative living. It's an opportunity for Faire-Op'ers to reflect on their home-spun experiment and consider - through roleplay - the perspective of their fellow housemates. After all, solidarity is no joke, but sometimes it can be pretty funny.

    This project is an extension of the project, Household: Four Stories of Kinship and Curiosity, which you may learn about at the website

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Job posting: GM for co-op store in Western MA

JOB POSTING: October 5, 2013
General Manager (GM) for the Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington, Massachusetts. After a three-year start-up period, we are off and running! We took ownership of the Old Creamery business and building on November 6, 2012 and are now operating as a member-owned community supported cooperative.
We are seeking a GM to ensure that the Old Creamery thrives as a vibrant center of the surrounding communities. A full-service grocery store, deli, and café, the Old Creamery currently has annual sales of nearly $1.7 million, 26 full- and part-time employees, and 640 member-owners. Our business plan projects increase of sales to $2 million by 2016.
Candidates must have senior management experience in a retail food business and strong skills in financial management, marketing, problem solving, communication, and community building. We seek an inspired leader who embraces challenge and who has vision, compassion, and a sense of humor. Our ideal candidate will help create the conditions and culture necessary for long-term success while managing the many and diverse activities of a recent start-up, including: final touches on a near complete building renovation and parking expansion, creation and innovation of operational systems, and ongoing management development of staff.
Immediate opening. Compensation and benefits dependent on experience, competitive with similar-type co-ops. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and we strongly encourage applications before November 30, 2013. Refer to our website ( for more information about the Old Creamery Co-op vision and values, and to find the detailed General Manager job description. To apply, please send an email to  with the following attachments in MS Office Word or PDF format.
  1. Cover letter, including your salary history and salary requirements
  2. Resume
  3. Three employment references with full contact information (name, address, phone, email, title, relationship)
While the Co-op strongly prefers applications via email, if access to the Internet is an issue for any reason, please apply via postal mail to Board President, Old Creamery Co-op, 445 Berkshire Trail, Cummington, MA  01026.
The Old Creamery Co-op values excellence and diversity in hiring and is an equal opportunity employer (EOE).

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Job posting: Landscaping co-op now hiring, Boston area

(español abajo)

Hi all - 

A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative, Inc. is a 1-year old, 12-person worker-cooperative buying our 25-year old organic landscaping company (design/build/maintain) from the retiring founder/owner. Most of us are from El Salvador, and we have an average of 10 years working in the company, from the ground up (pun intended).

We are looking to hire a few motivated, hard-working folks who believe in the cooperative principles and want to build a career creating beautiful, healthy outdoor spaces. See hiring brochure below to learn more about the co-op and current openings. 

In solidarity,

Carolyn Edsell-Vetter


La Cooperativa de A Yard & A Half Landscaping es una cooperativa de 12 trabajadores. Trabajamos en una compania de jardinería y construcción de paisajes. La duena de la compania se jubilara después de 25 años, y estamos en proceso de comprar la empresa.Somos hispanos por la mayor parte, con un promedio de 10 años trabajando juntos. 

Buscamos miembros motivados y trabajadores que creen en los principales cooperativos, y quieren una profesión donde se puede construir espacios saludables y hermosos. Interesado, llame a Geovani en 781-788-8855¡Gracias!

Green Careers…
Cooperative Opportunities
Come GROW with Us!
A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative, Inc.

26 Thayer Road
Waltham, MA 02453

A Yard & A Half Landscaping  Cooperative, Inc. is a 20-person landscape design, installation &
maintenance company. We are hiring team members for our landscape construction and maintenance crews.
Responsibilities include:

  • Safe operation of power equipment, trucks, and trailers.
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction with job performed.
  • Positive attitude toward work, customers, and crew leader.
  • Contributing ideas and opinions to assist with crew and company decision-making.
  • Performing work in accordance with high quality and company standards.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Valid MA driver's license and good driving record.
  • Ability to work in all weather and lift 50 lbs.
  • Spanish-English bilingual a plus.
  • A Yard & A Half is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

A Yard & A Half Landscaping was founded by Eileen Michaels in 1988. Over the years, she grew the company to over $2 million in annual sales by guaranteeing all of the company’s work and investing in
its employees. In preparation for retirement, Eileen offered the employees the chance to buy the company, and we incorporated as a worker-owned cooperative. The company has historically operated with open books, shared profits with employees, and involved employees in decision-making, so the cooperative model is a natural step for us.

We have received guidance in the transition from members of WORC’N, including Boston
Collective Delivery, Equal Exchange, Community Builders, and Red Sun Press, as well as Namaste Solar. We plan to continue a slow but steady growth pattern, so that current members can grow in our careers and areas of interest, while creating opportunities for right livelihood for others in our community.

Every employee has an opportunity to become a co-owner of the company, with one vote per person.
We currently have 11 employee-owners, representing all positions within the company, from laborers
to managers. Average candidacy period is three years, during which employees can begin accumulating owner equity through payroll deductions. Share price is $7,500, which does not appreciate/depreciate.
Co-owners democratically decide how much profit to pay out as dividends. When employees leave the
company, they receive back their original share price, plus any dividends retained by the co-op as
written notices of allocation. All co-owners can participate in board meetings. We review financials with all co-owners and employees at least quarterly.

Recognized by Inc. Magazine as a “Winning Workplace”, A Yard & A Half offers comprehensive benefits designed to meet the needs of all our employees:

  • Medical & dental insurance
  • Simple-IRA retirement plan 
  • Life insurance
  • Paid vacation
  • Paid holidays
  • Profit sharing
  • Uniforms, boot & rain gear reimbursement
  • Tuition reimbursement

For information on open positions or to submit your resume, email: