The 2022 series kicked off in May with invigorating conversations around how the cooperative principles could advance our commitment to a more equitable future. Co-op members from across the country joined these discussions and grappled with questions such as: Do we need an 8th cooperative principle aimed at equity and inclusion?
Columinate Intercultural Facilitator Darin Short has worked with a range of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committees, task forces, and teams across many sectors. Darin recently led a workshop, “Why Some Diversity Teams Succeed While Others Do Not” at the Thought Leadership conference in Elkhart, Indiana, in May. “No matter what setting you’re in, DEI is an emotional topic,” says Short. “We need to create safe spaces where people can express their emotions and can say exactly what they need to say with respect for the collective goal.”
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.
For nearly a decade, the Columinate Co-op Cafe has been a way for workers, directors, consumer-owners, and leaders in the cooperative movement to gather, connect, learn, and tackle relevant issues. Although the Co-op Cafe looked a bit different in 2021, the event survived and, in some ways, even thrived in the face of adversity.
Carolee Colter and Mark Mulcahy previously presented a series of webinars for Canadian Health Food Association on “The Rewards of a Burnout-free Workplace.” They recommended that store owners and managers hold “Care Interviews” built on five questions, with each of their staff members. Here’s how a Care Interview might go.
Now more than ever communities are aware that racism is an issue that needs to be addressed. In this conversation, Columinate Consultant Darin Short speaks with Columinate's own Amaha Sellasie and Amaha's fellow professor and colleague Christa Agiro.
Baked into the being of every co-op are the Seven Cooperative Principles. These are ideals and actionables. Democracy, community, learning, and economic justice form our decisions as cooperators. Independence too is central to what roots these enterprises, yet shared interest in building an economy beneficial to all is central to measuring success. Your wine department is a place where you can honor this principle.
As the country rises in protest around the issue of police brutality and violence against black people in America, the need to have constructive conversations and effective dialogues with those who have differing viewpoints has never been stronger.
So much is changing so quickly right now, and our co-ops are uniquely positioned to serve our owners and community today, and be practical alternatives to 'business -as-usual' in the future. We don't have a crystal ball to see that future, but we can discuss together how our co-ops can have a larger role and how we can talk about our co-ops as important parts of a better society.
The authors of Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops believe that bridging the racial divide starts first with encouraging inquiry and engagement that leads toward greater awareness, problem-solving, and embracing radical change. They know starting and sustaining conversations about race are not always easy.