Friday, August 10, 2012

Cooperatives in Ward 6

DC and Ward 6 have been unusually fertile places for cooperatives of all sorts. At the Coop DC website, you can see a list of the current, past, and future cooperatives. In Arthur Capper public housing from 1970, there was the MLK food coop. Around 221 11th St SE [correction: 219 11th SE], the Furies collective lived and published their magazine in the early 1970s. We now have the Capitol Hill Energy Coop, many preschool and daycare cooperatives (such as Capitol Hill Babysitting Co-op, Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery School, Capitol Hill Learning Group, Capitol Hill Cooperative Play School, G Street Cooperative Playgroup, Gan Shalom Cooperative Preschool, Jenkins Hill Child Development Center), and housing cooperatives especially in SW (such as Tiber Island and Harbor Square cooperatives). In the building pictured to the left (736 7th St SE), the Women's Community Bakery Collective worked from 1979 to 1992. Below are some details from a preliminary history written by Vernice Woodland. If you remember other cooperatives in the area, let me know. Thanks!

Women's Community Bakery Collective, 1976-1992

By Vernice Woodland. The Community Bakery, Inc. as incorporated in Maryland in May 1976 and for a couple of years operated in Hyattsville, MD as the Women’s Community Bakery. In September 1979, the business moved to DC…. 736 7th Street, SE. From 1979 through 1992, the business operated at this address. A two-story building, the bakery was on the first floor where the production and packaging took place, bakery office, employee space on the second floor. The business also had a delivery truck for deliveries...This is one of the few producer cooperatives located in DC at that time…they baked whole-grain breads, rolls, muffins and a few other bakery goods to grocery stores and restaurants. Their major operations were the preparation and baking of the products, packaging and delivery to regular customers. The bakery described itself as a “non-profit, community-owned businesses” – a women’s collective.. community ownership referring to the community of workers. The business also gave surplus products to social service groups including shelters, and a limited retail business with neighborhood residents, particularly those families located in what I think used to be the Carroll and the Arthur Capers (sp?) Housing that used to be located in the M Street SE area as well as the Potomac Gardens and Kentucky Court communities... Interesting group – they closed in 1992, not because of declining business… the principals were tired, wanted to do something else, and couldn’t find anyone to take over the business...


  1. Actually the Furies collective was located at, 219 11th st SE, not 221. My husband Robert Pohl wrote a house history of 219 11th st SE and discovered this. We even have a picture of them in our basement. See,

  2. Thanks, Toni! I'm looking forward to reading your husband's book.

  3. Your blog post is something that I learned to appreciate a lot. Thanks for this post.

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