Meet Cathy, the Cooperative Development Institute’s new answerwoman! She can take on any co-op questions you might have, big or small. Today we address the question: “Are there examples of cooperatively organized tree care companies? We are thinking about starting one in Newark and would love to learn from existing examples.” See all of Cathy’s answers and ask your own on her home page. This blog post was written by Noemi Giszpenc, CDI’s executive director.
At first glance, I was only able to find a couple of companies that represent cooperation among small independent businesses: the Pacific Slope Tree Cooperative and the Bay Area Arborist Cooperative. In these cases each company or crew is privately owned, but the businesses market together and share back-office services.
There existed a worker-owned tree-planting cooperative called Hoedads from the 1970s to mid-1990s.
There is a mini-trend in landscaping/gardening worker co-ops. A few of these (some of which were conversions from existing privately owned businesses) include:
- A Yard and a Half Landscaping Co-op, Waltham, MA, founded in 1988, converted to a worker co-op in 2013
- Diggers Co-op, Worcester, MA, focused on permaculture
- Teamworks Landscape Cooperative, Sunnyvale, CA, focused on garden maintenance
- Restoring Roots, Jamaica Plain, MA, focusing on permaculture gardens
- DIG Cooperative, Oakland, CA, focusing on building greywater catchment systems
- Ventura Co-op, Ventura, CA, design/build of permaculture gardens
- Urban Eatin’ Landscapes, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- Earth Designs, Rosendale, NY, in process of converting to a worker co-op
- Mariposa Gardening and Design, Berkeley, CA, in process of converting to a worker co-op
There are also a number of nonprofit owned or driven tree care enterprises, such as D.C. Greenworks.
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