Cooperatives and international development: What next?

Cooperatives and international development: What next?

By Anca Voinea, Co-operative News
This piece was originally published in Co-operative News

Can co-operatives bring an added value to international development? This was one of the key topics addressed in a special session in the run-up to the International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec.

Delegates from across different co-operative apex bodies highlighted what they were already doing to promote the work of co-operatives in development.

Consumers: take back the grid with co-ops

Consumers: take back the grid with co-ops

By Donald M. Kreis

This piece was originally published in The New Hampshire Business Review.

Electric consumers need a New Deal.

Yes, I’m talking about that New Deal – the one from the 1930s. When Congress adopted the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, the nation’s investor-owned utilities had simply refused to serve 70 percent of the continental U.S., consigning millions of Americans to a life of darkness and poverty because they were not in cities or suburbs. 

Today, unlike the 1930s, the problem is an industry that is unable to help consumers take full advantage of sweeping technological change and the vast opportunities for empowerment and savings this represents....

Before You Crowdfund Your Craft Brewery Startup, Consider This Model Instead

Before You Crowdfund Your Craft Brewery Startup, Consider This Model Instead

By Tara Nurin

This piece was originally published by Forbes. 

Here’s an admission that’s going to offend some of you: financial crowd-sourcing campaigns for business ventures—a la Kickstarter and Crowdbrewed—piss me off. Sure, I support your ambition to open a craft brewery (provided you’re going to make quality beer). But since when is it my responsibility to fund it? I’d like to buy anAudi A5 convertible but you don’t see me groveling, do you? 

Arguments over the legacy of barn-raising aside, this isn’t what was originally meant by the term “sharing economy.” Fortunately for aspiring entrepreneurs, there is a disciplined way to get others to pay toward your dream of developing a brewery, and though it’s an old European concept, craft brewers are only truly discovering it now.

Local businesses agree — keep it co-op

Local businesses agree — keep it co-op

By Kim Currie

This piece was originally published in The Sante Fe New Mexican.

How can I make a difference in my community? For many people, giving back means reinvesting in the people and the community that helped shape the person you are today. Surprisingly, there are simple steps that we can take to bring about real change in New Mexico. 

If you buy groceries, pay for electricity, bank at a credit union or even send your kids to preschool, chances are you're already impacting change at the local level by being a member of a co-op...

Using technology to feed our community

Using technology to feed our community

By Stacey Budd, Friends & Farmers Cooperative Outreach Coordinator
This piece was orignially published in the Centre Daily Times

Over the past 10 years, there has been a growing conversation around our modern food system and the implementation of sustainable alternatives. How do the products on your dinner plate get there? What processing and packaging take place?

As one of more than 100 startup food cooperatives across the country, Friends & Farmers took its vision of a brick-and-mortar store showcasing our small family farms and created an online market as a stepping-stone, while simultaneously raising startup capital through new-member equity investments. As a clicks-to-bricks model, Friends & Farmers online market is another way to help our community access fresh local goods while putting money back into the community economy.

Planet Forward Salon: Can urban ag help us feed 9 billion people?

Planet Forward Salon: Can urban ag help us feed 9 billion people?

By Mike Hower, Senior Writer, Planet Forward
This piece was originally published on Planet Forward.

Moderated by Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and Planet Forward founder Frank Sesno, this informal, interactive roundtable discussion hosted by Planet Forward Salon concluded that collaboration, education and engagement are key to bringing about a more sustainable urban food system capable of helping to feed the 9 billion people projected be on the planet by 2050.

Co-ops remain sturdy businesses

Co-ops remain sturdy businesses

By Keith Talor, Indiana Co-op Development Center Board Member

This op-ed was originally published in The News-Gazette.

You can argue that the economy has largely bounced back from the state it was in seven years ago, but it's no secret that traditional community economic development models have stalled and often fail. But one approach to community economic development is rapidly gaining attention: cooperative business development.

Cooperating for a better tomorrow

Cooperating for a better tomorrow

By Congressional Representatives Ed Royce and Mark Pocan

At a time when the American economy is recovering from the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the ugly truth is that we’re experiencing a persistent hurdle to spreading economic opportunity in the most impoverished communities across our country. As co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus (CCBC), we firmly believe that there is one tool that has proven time and time again to be an effective resource in providing for economic growth for all: cooperatives, or co-ops for short.

Work together to empower women

Work together to empower women

By Teresa Freeborn, President and CEO, Xceed Financial Credit Union

“Haven’t you heard? Women aren’t CEOs.”

The finance sector, where I make my living, remains among the absolute worst for women who aspire to leadership roles. Just 2.1 percent of CEOs are female. However, among financial cooperatives — which is what credit unions are — an average of 29 percent of CEOs across the country are women.

Black lands matter

Black lands matter

By Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

As we pay respect this month to the history of black America, we should also recognize the contributions made by the cooperative movement during the battle for civil rights. Historically, cooperatives have operated as vehicles for people to unify and lift themselves up above any challenge they face. In African-American communities in the South, cooperatives were born out of necessity. 

A little co-op helped end black disenfranchisement

A little co-op helped end black disenfranchisement

By David Thompson, President, Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation

It was a small cooperative store on a little-known island off the coast of South Carolina. During the harshest days of the civil rights struggle, embattled black leaders came through its doors seeking inspiration. The co-op was called the Progressive Club, but it’s what began in that co-op that led to a movement that would eventually reshape the South.

Incubators of better democracy

Incubators of better democracy

By Cecile Green, co-founder of Round Sky Solutions

Legal ownership of an enterprise paired with a democratic management process provides us with a powerful opportunity to evolve both our understandings of democracy and our practical communication tools. Through this practice in daily democracy, we have an opportunity to incubate better ways and means of governing ourselves at any scale, thus systemically combatting the pressures to conform to rule by the elite.

Cooperation key to reviving historic Marks, Mississippi

Cooperation key to reviving historic Marks, Mississippi

By Helen Godfrey-Smith, President and CEO of Shreveport Federal Credit Union

Between the new co-op market and the addition of Amtrak's latest flag stop, Marks, Mississippi has the potential to dig itself out of poverty and flourish as a stronger more self-sufficient community.

Co-op political pressure body launches in the US

Co-op political pressure body launches in the US

By Anca Voinea, Co-operative News

USA’s National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) marked its 100th anniversary in January with the formal launch of the bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus. The caucus was formed to promote the co-operative business model as a viable market solution and policy option and inform policymakers about the co-operative alternative. The group will work as a forum for dialogue between Congress, the Administration, state and local leaders and enterprises that promote co-operative businesses.

NCBA CLUSA press conference demonstrates impact of cooperative sector

NCBA CLUSA press conference demonstrates impact of cooperative sector

Last week’s press conference, which kicked off NCBA CLUSA’s 100th anniversary and marked the launch of the newly-formed bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus, was a key opportunity to demonstrate the economic and social impact of the cooperative sector to lawmakers and journalists.

NCBA CLUSA launches bipartisan Congressional Co-op Business Caucus

NCBA CLUSA launches bipartisan Congressional Co-op Business Caucus

NCBA CLUSA kicked off its 100th Anniversary at the National Press Club yesterday with the formal launch of the newly-formed bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and testimonies from a broad spectrum of co-op advocates ranging from top co-op executives to an Organic Valley farmer leading the “Generation Organic” revolution among new family farmers in the U.S.