Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cooperatives and DC (II)

NPR's State of the Re:Union had a great piece on Cleveland and its community development experiments. In Segment B, they discuss the Evergreen Cooperatives, which are based on the Mondragon cooperative system in Spain (working since the 1950s).

These cooperatives are worker cooperatives (worker owned and controlled). As I discussed before, cooperatives are owned and controlled by their members. Cooperatives serve the needs of their members. There are different kinds of cooperatives, which are defined by their members. Evergreen Cooperatives are worker cooperatives, a cooperative organized by employees (the members) to finance, own, and democratically manage their business. Land O'Lakes is a producer cooperative, a cooperative organized by dairy farmers (the members) to market and distribute their dairy products. Best Western and ACE Hardware are purchasing cooperatives, cooperatives organized by businesses (the members) to share resources, lower costs, and be more competitive. Housing cooperatives are owned and controlled by their residents (the members). REI and the Takoma Park Silver Spring Food Co-op are consumer cooperatives, cooperatives organized by customers (the members). Each type of cooperative has a different kind of impact on community economies.

Here in DC:
  • Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC is exploring the creation of a food consumer cooperative in Shaw. They are looking for values-aligned entrepreneurs and employees to join a team of people working on this project. At this stage they are looking for those with experience in the food business, grocery stores, and cooperatives. Does this describe you or anyone you know? Please reach out to Allison (I'll forward it to Allison: to explore this idea further.
  • Some people may be trying to create worker cooperatives in DC similar to the Evergreen Cooperatives. Is this true? Any news?
  • I need to somehow include in the cooperative map some more DC cooperatives: GreenWorks Construction Cooperative and Brighter Days dog walking collective.
Do you know of cooperatives being formed now? 

P.S. [6/6/2012] See the Co-op Directory and Co-op DC Group.


  1. Most day care centers are cooperatives. On the Hill we have Jenkins Hill and Hill Preschool, both of which are cooperatives that have a boards consisting of parents and staff.

  2. is an online map and directory of many cooperatives. you can punch in your zip code and see what comes back.

    a large amount of the listings are credit unions, which owned and controlled by their members.


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