Here are just a few of the ways we work with others to help you work with others!
In the spirit of cooperation among cooperatives, food co-op staff are frequently asked to help new food co-ops get started. The “ask” can range from questions every now and then to a request for mentoring the new co-op through the various phases and stages of development. CDI and the Food Co-op Initiative are collaborating to research and develop food co-op peer mentoring best practices to address issues such as roles, responsibilities and expectations of mentors and mentees, the differences between a mentor and a consultant, board and management support, establishing a mentoring relationship, working with mentoring teams, mentoring agreement templates, and more.
Small and beginning farmers face challenges in gaining access to hard to come by specialized and expensive equipment and facilities that would make their operations more successful. CDI worked with the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts to research their needs and opportunities for collaboration. The result: “Farm Equipment Needs and Cooperative Solutions.”
As part of our support of the Democracy At Work Network, during the summer of 2013, we mentored DAWN intern Jenny Glazer, a worker co-op member at Rainbow Grocery at the time. Collaborating with TESA, we helped Glazer take her expertise in human resources at democratic workplaces and turn it into two dynamic workshops for CDI through the DAWN program: “Co-op Policy Workshop: Policy and Mission,” and the second on “Cooperative Accountability Workshop: Investigation, Discipline, and Termination.” These are designed to be used by other worker co-ops, highlighting the importance of connections within the co-op world. Afterward, Jenny told us, “I began with a giant, didactic, linear mess and worked my way to a clear, interactive, highly organized and user-friendly workshop.”