Cassia is a dedicated activist, a skilled community development professional, and a proud Kentuckian who brings 20 years of experience to the Columinate network. She is deeply rooted in the Kentucky local food movement, having organized farmer’s markets, established the Louisville Food Policy Council, and co-founded Louisville Association for Community Economics, which is opening the city’s only cooperative grocery store.
Columinate is proud to welcome Vernon Oakes as a new consultant. Vernon is a passionate advocate of the cooperative business model and brings a lifetime of diverse experiences to the Columinate network.
In February 2021, Columinate launched its Gender Equity Project in response to findings that grocery co-op general managers (GMs) who identify as female are paid significantly less than their male counterparts. We talked with project lead and Columinate consultant Carolee Colter to learn how the Gender Equity Project is going, one year after its inception.
Food access in low-wealth communities is a major problem that continues to grow. More and more, communities with food access difficulties are looking to the cooperative model to meet their needs. For a start-up cooperative, once the foundational questions of “why do we exist?” and “who do we exist to serve?” are answered, the next big question to address is “how do we pay for it?”
No matter how closely you work with your staff, there are some things that aren’t openly discussed. Regularly conducting employee surveys brings these issues — and satisfactions — to light. Taking the pulse of the co-op is perhaps more important than ever and prioritizing surveys pays off for all involved.