Gleanings

The ninth Cooperative Issues Forum was presented at the Cooperative Hall of Fame induction ceremony in May of 2019.

 

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Pressure was starting to mount from our current angel investors, and although it was starting to seem like all was about to be lost, proverbial lightning flashed. “Have you ever considered a co-op model for Curafied?” my first angel investor asked me. When I told her I wasn’t sure how it could apply, she introduced me to a literal angel: Rachel Meketon at Co-op Dayton. Rachel and her organization help businesses determine if and how the cooperative model is a viable one for their mission and goals, and provide them with the resources to move forward with the conversion.

Darrin Lucas, resident and co-op board treasurer, said they’re trying to bring the park to a higher standard.

“People are taking ownership of the place. It’s not what it used to be,” Lucas said. “For the old owner, this was his business. He wanted it to make money. Now it’s our money working to fix our home.”

Jumping forward again to 2018, and I began talking about some of these ideas with Mark Simmonds. Mark is a highly experienced co-operative development professional, and it was fascinating to learn from his perspective and insights. I had been looking at the issues without any real knowledge of what was happening on the ground in terms of co-operative development in the UK, and what was on offer by way of service to people wanting to set up new co-operatives. The picture that Mark painted was concerning.

Scotland’s islands have the highest proportion of co-operatives of any part of the UK thanks to a long tradition of self-reliance, a survey has found.

The study by Co-operatives UK, the sector’s development body, said its survey of co-ops by local authority area found the Western Isles and Orkney topped the table with 8.16 and 5.91 co-ops respectively per 10,000 people. Shetland came in third, with 5.63. Eden in Cumbria came in joint fourth, with 4.55, followed by nearby Allerdale with 3.6.

Greg Brodsky, 42, founder of Start.coop, a startup accelerator for co-ops, says the interesting thing about co-ops is that people love them but don’t know what they are. He’s working to keep the former and change the latter by helping social entrepreneurs launch successful ones.

Playwright Darrah Teitel gives co-op living a good deal of credit for her artistic success.

“If I didn’t have the option of living in this kind of community, I probably wouldn’t be able to take the time and have the financial security to write,” she said. “Having the support of the co-op behind me makes a difference.”

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