Too Small To Fail?
by: Jonathan Rosenthal
July 11, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the 4th Biennial National Worker Cooperative Conference that happened to be in my home town, Boston, with my dear friend and coop leader Hilary Abell. (photo is of the Equal Exchange Bike Café).
- Namaste Solar: an amazing democratic worker owned cooperative installing solar electricity in Colorado and beyond. I had two inspiring lunches with these guys who were inspired to convert to a coop by the Equal Exchange story. Keep your eye on these very sharp and powerful folks!
- Community Builders: to hear a few of the stories of CB, a collective of builders who grew out of the Clamshell Alliance anti-nuclear group in the late 1970’s was inspiring. They still walk their talk.
- South Mountain Company: 12 years into existence, they restructured as a worker coop (back in 1987). Since then, they’ve written a book and are a model worker owned design and build company.
- Aorta Collective: A new coop group to me doing organizational development and anti-oppression work. Very dynamic group. Look forward to learning more about them.
- Equal Exchange: my old company was there in force with well over a dozen members as well as one of their bicycle coffee carts. I was proud to meet some new EE owners and see how far they have come since I left in 2000.
- Coop Fund of New England: I have known, respected and worked with Rebecca Dunn for over 20 years. They continue to grow, add new services and stay true to their super efficient grassroots history.
- Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives: 5 Independent but related worker coop bakeries with a feisty spirit and a ton of real world coop experience. I like their creative and anti-empire building outlook on life.
- Japan Worker’s Cooperative Union: Wow, I had forgotten about these folks who are connected to the fair trade movement in Japan. The sheer scale and organizational capacity is inspiring and humbling!
- Rainbow Grocery: Awesome grocery and community institution. They have created a worker empowerment culture!
- Real Pickles: high quality fermented food company making pickles and more. Nice to learn of these small idealistic companies!
- Red Sun Press: my old friends from this long standing movement press were there in force. They are looking to expand their markets beyond the usual movement organizations.
- And many others.