October and November have been two incredibly active months for the Cooperative Development Institute! We have been out in communities, making waves in the co-op world, and working directly with allied movements and organizations to cultivate and support their co-op ambitions.

For CDI, it’s important that in addition to the daily work we do to develop cooperatives, we have an overall eye towards building the larger cooperative movement. That means engaging directly with co-ops and other co-op organizations as well as communities across the Northeast. In October and November, we hit the ground, appearing in webinars, news outlets, libraries, and community centers across the region. Below is a recap of our busy last two months, and we want to work with you too into December and the new year.

Want CDI to participate in your webinar, program, workshop, conference, or event in the new year? We’d love to chat! Get in touch.

October Was National Co-op Month…

CDI Staff Jessica Pooley presenting the Facilitative Leadership workshop at CLI Photo Credit: Mike Bullard/ROC USA
  • October 24: CDI hosted a workshop at the Maine Association of Nonprofits Food Systems Leadership Institute, on cooperative development in food systems businesses, as part of a year-long leadership training with fifteen individuals from for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, Bar Harbor, ME.
  • October 28: CDI facilitated a webinar on Transforming Businesses into Cooperatives: Bringing the New Economy to Scale, sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies. The webinar received rave reviews from its fifty-seven participants,and you can watch it here!
  • October 29CDI launched its “Ask Co-op Cathy” answerwoman series, which has already been used by nearly 1,000 people!

…But November’s Great for Co-ops Too!

  • November 6: CDI invited our Board member, Tanya Fields, to visit with us at our staff retreat and tell us about her work building food justice in the South Bronx and beyond with the BLK ProjeK. (Love what she’s up to as much as we do? Help make it happen!)
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Tanya Fields, CDI Board Member and Founder of the BLK ProjeK, at Libertad Urban Farm
  • November 9: Matt Meyer of CDI co-presented with Linda Brockway of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives on “Cooperative Housing Models” at the NASCO Institute 2014. (Don’t miss his contribution to Co-op Cathy’s archive of answers, “What are the types of housing co-ops and other shared housing models?”) Matt also served on the “Introduction to Community Wealth Building” panel and helped facilitate the “Ongoing Member Training” roundtable.
  • November 12: Maureen Carroll, CDI staffer and Worcester State alum, visited a class in her alma mater to raise the question of why young people should consider working in cooperative housing development.
  • November 13: CDI instigated a Topic Call within the CooperationWorks! professional cooperative developer network on Cooperative Principal, a new investment club venture being developed to provide a means to make it easy for regular people to invest in and help grow a cooperative economy.
  • November 15: Cooperative Fermentation invited CDI, along with the Cooperative Fund of New England and the author of Cooperative Farming, to help present Cooperative Farm Design Day, an intensive day-long workshop at MOFGA in Unity, Maine. The day brought together over 50 people to explore how to create worker and producer cooperatives in farming and included diverse participants including new farmers, landowners, refugee farmers, members of the Penobscot Nation, professors, and non-profit service providers. In the afternoon, participants designed new co-ops including a cooperative cider house, a farm to table co-op, an urban farming co-op, a textile co-op and a goat milk co-op.
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Ben Rooney of Wild Folk Farm and Maria Girouard of the People’s Garden, Cooperative Farm Design Day participants
  • November 15: CDI attended a gathering of NY state co-operators discussing the possible formation of a cross-sector co-op network.
  • November 20: We covered Ursula K. Le Guin’s powerful speech to the National Book Awards and made the argument for artist cooperatives.
  • November 24 and 26: As part of our role providing support and information to the 110 families residing in the Farrington Mobile Home Park in Burlington, VT, a community for sale that the residents must determine if they want to purchase and run as a co-op, CDI staff gave interviews on Channel 17 CCTV and to Seven Days. Our work continues in the months ahead.
Thankful for the Opportunity to Learn and Teach: Our Past Two Months
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