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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Cathy Statz, Education Director at Wisconsin Farmer's Union

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April 25, 2024
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Cathy Statz, Education Director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU), discusses its origins and history. She also discusses the many programs and initiatives of WFU.

Cathy discusses the original efforts to organize farmers in the area that began in 1902, which came far before the official Charter was received in 1930. When speaking about why cooperatives are so unknown she recites a statement made by an advocate of cooperatives from the 1930s as follows; "People do not know about cooperatives because of two things. First, a lack of information concerning cooperation, and second, the fact that its principles are opposed to privilege." Thus, she further cites that "Cooperatives have two things working against it; ignorance and selfishness." In the role of education director, Cathy Statz facilitates cooperative education programs for Farmers Union members, youth and the general public, including Farmers Union's 80+ years old cooperative camp program. She has assisted with cooperative youth leadership development programs on a state, national and international level, and co-coordinates the National Farmers Union College Conference on Cooperatives. Cathy is a member of the boards of the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE), the Ralph K. Morris Foundation and the InSPIREation Foundation, and has served as president of the Rotary Club of Chippewa Falls and the Lawrence University Alumni Association.

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