Democracy/Participation

Deepening the Work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By |2019-09-09T15:51:14+00:00October 26th, 2018|Cultivate Your Community|

By LaDonna Sanders–Redmond Seward Community Co-op (Minneapolis, Minn.) began its equity work in the fall of 2013. Seward’s second store, Friendship, and its first restaurant/commissary production facility, the Creamery Café, both opened in 2015. Building the Friendship Store in an historically African-American community required taking a closer look at the co-op’s commitment to equitable relationships as stated in the Seward ends statement. Taking a deep [...]

Using Marketing to Build Success: Making Cooperative Ownership and Governance Real

By |2019-09-09T15:37:22+00:00July 22nd, 2018|Cultivate Your Community, Develop Your Leaders|

By Rebecca Torpie, Thane Joyal 196 May-June 2018  What does it mean to be an owner of a consumer cooperative? At the most fundamental level, cooperative ownership means that we are in business together. And for the owners of a cooperative that is under substantial market pressure (and what business isn’t?), everything the business does needs to match the needs and aspirations of the community that [...]

Co-op Capitalization Campaigns that Engage and Inspire

By |2019-09-09T15:15:28+00:00May 9th, 2018|Grow Your Business, Startup Support|

Research suggests that public speaking tops the list as the number-one fear-inducing activity for most people. Put that together with asking people for money, and you’ve got a potent combination for high anxiety. If you have a project you believe in—especially if you’re a cooperator seeking to finance a startup or expansion—sharing your passion for why you think people should support it doesn’t have [...]

Leaders in Democracy: Seeking Win-Win through Assertive Cooperation

By |2019-09-07T02:06:32+00:00March 18th, 2018|Develop Your Leaders|

By Art Sherwood 191 July-August 2017 If we created opportunities in meaningful participation by seeking win-win, it would be a game changer—in our relationships, in our customer service, in our strategies, in our partnerships, and in our innovative approaches to solving pressing social problems.  Democracy is hard. And because it is hard, it takes skills and practice and a willingness to work with others. Why [...]

Telling Stories with Intention

By |2019-09-07T01:56:30+00:00January 11th, 2018|Build Workplace Culture|

In our digitally-connected universe, there has been an explosion of stories—and many of them come to us like processed food. Quick, canned, too many empty calories. So much of what people encounter in the form of news or stories about organizations or individuals feels inconsequential or insincere. All of us have experienced what that feels like, wading through an information overload to try to [...]

Autonomy and Independence: What’s Up with Principle Four?

By |2019-09-10T00:22:38+00:00December 28th, 2017|Develop Your Leaders|

By Ben Sandel Cooperative principle four: Autonomy and independence. What do you think about it? Or perhaps a better question is—do you ever think about it? In my consulting practice, I sometimes lead activities designed to get people thinking and talking about cooperative values and principles. I’d never accuse my clients of having forgotten a cooperative principle, but based on the lack of interest, perhaps principle [...]

What Kind of Experience Does Your Food Co-op Deliver?

By |2019-09-10T20:11:51+00:00September 13th, 2017|Improve Operations|

Customer service experiences are a very hot topic, especially online and in social media.  People regularly share the good and the bad, and social media has become the new word-of-mouth.  It’s where people hear from friends, family and acquaintances how they “rate” the businesses they frequent.  The Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods has upped the ante on how customer service for groceries is going [...]

Cooperative Service Training Helps Staff Promote the Co-op

By |2019-09-07T01:31:46+00:00September 13th, 2017|Improve Operations|

Friendly City Food Co-op Harrisonburg, VA Year founded:  2011 Membership investment:  $200 Number of members:  1,800 Number of employees:  34 Retail square feet:  5,600 When Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg, Va. opened as a startup in 2011, they quickly gained a positive reputation in the community for providing great customer service.  As Mary Beth Kannen, the co-op’s front-end team leader said, “The name [...]

Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops

By |2020-06-29T18:23:03+00:00August 30th, 2017|Build Workplace Culture, Cultivate Your Community, Develop Your Leaders, Grow Your Business|

By Jade Barker and Patricia Cumbie We believe that now is a critical time to engage our cooperative community in important conversations about racism and oppression. Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops presents a variety of perspectives on what can be done to make food co-ops more racially inclusive. Fifteen co-operators from a variety of backgrounds — class, gender, race, ethnicity, [...]

The Cooperative Advantage

By |2019-09-09T23:30:00+00:00August 24th, 2017|Cultivate Your Community|

Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious. Just because we have co-op in our name does not mean that people will really understand what that means. The formal definition of a cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. But we need to give that meaning life. [...]