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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

What If We Owned It?

Wanting to take a closer look at the emergent Black leadership in the food cooperative movement, I spoke with nine colleagues, representing six co-ops from around the country. I posed the question “What does organizing for sovereignty look like?” This led to deep reflections about the underlying nature of the communities they are working to support.


Exploring ways to solve for the specific needs of their communities, Black co-op leaders have asked, “Does the majority of food in a co-op need to be natural—in other words, minimally processed—or can there also be selections of conventional foods that are more processed but less expensive?” Five or six years ago it was a radical notion that a co-op could have a large percentage of conventional or “clean conventional” foods—foods that have been processed using minimal chemicals or perhaps none, but which have not undergone the expensive process of being certified “organic.” The decision to bring in conventional foods alongside natural and organic foods is one way that Black co-op leaders are innovating the co-op model to address the challenges of their communities.

Read the rest at Nonprofit Quarterly


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