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Year of Co-ops to Co-operative Decade, Co-op Fair, October 2013
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Year of Co-ops to Co-operative Decade, Co-op Fair, October 2013


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  • 1. From%the%Year%of%Co-ops% to%the%Co-operative%Decade% Erbin Crowell, Executive Director Fiddleheads Food Co-op // First Annual Co-op Fair 19th October 2013 // New London, CT
  • 2. My%Background! •  10+ Years with Equal Exchange •  St. Mary’s University, Master of Mgmt: Agricultural Co-ops Co-ops & Credit Unions •  Co-operative Development •  National Co-op Business Association •  Teaching at UCONN & UMASS •  Neighboring Food Co-ops •  Co-operative Economy Worker Co-ops Community Food Co-ops
  • 3. Outline! •  Our Context & Opportunity •  Finding Inspiration •  Neighboring Food Co-ops •  The Co-operative Decade •  Looking Forward •  Your Thoughts
  • 4. Co-ops%&%Local%Economies! Co-ops are… •  …a viable economic alternative •  …an effective model for local ownership •  …innovative, change-makers •  …relevant across the economy •  …more prevalent than we think •  …our best tool for a sustainable future.
  • 5. Our%Context! •  Crisis of our Economic System •  Unemployment & Inequality •  Dramatic Shifts in Wealth •  Diminished Democracy •  Corporate Influence •  Instability & Change •  Hunger for Alternatives
  • 6. What%If…?! There was a business model that... •  …was democratic and sustainable. •  …was rooted in our local communities. •  …was part of a values based movement. •  …put common good before private gain. •  …was flexible and innovative. •  …was successful and resilient.
  • 7. England%in%the%1800s! •  Dislocation of Local Economies •  Dramatic Shifts in Wealth •  Concentration of Control •  Poor Working Conditions •  Limited Democracy •  Globalization •  Birth of the Co-operative Movement
  • 8. Co-ops%Today! •  Are innovative  Healthy food, organic, Fair Trade, relocalization •  Are successful  30,000 co-ops in all sectors of US economy •  Are resilient  Survived and grew during the global recession •  Are more prevalent than we think  1 billion people are co-op members worldwide:  …co-ops employ more people than multinationals  …more than directly own stock in corporations
  • 9. Co-ops%Today! The best kept secret in community economics… •  …neglected by the news media •  …absent from colleges, universities, and business schools •  …underutilized by government and community development organizations …but this is changing.
  • 10. Our%Opportunity! Co-ops “in their various forms, promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people, including women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples, are becoming a major factor of economic and social development and contribute to the eradication of poverty.” United Nations Resolution 64/136 (2010)
  • 11. International%Year%of%Co-ops! Contribution of Co-operative Enterprise to: •  Poverty Reduction •  Employment Generation •  Social Integration •  Fairness & Globalization •  Conflict Resolution •  Food Security
  • 12. International%Year%of%Co-ops! UN Goals for 2012: •  Increase public awareness •  Promote formation and growth •  Encourage governments to establish policies, laws and regulations conducive to the formation, growth and stability co-operatives of
  • 13. Our%Challenge! What are our goals? What is our vision? Where can we find inspiration?
  • 14. Finding%Inspiration! •  Rochdale Equitable Pioneers •  Founded 1844 •  Weavers, Unionists, Community Activists •  Member-Owned Store •  Established Basic Business Principles
  • 15. Beyond%a%Grocery%Store! The Rochdale Pioneers conceived in one association what now might make a multistakeholder cooperative movement. The complementary half of this multisectoral vision is that it was a localized vision: integrated co-operation within a geographically compact community. Brett Fairbairn, “The Meaning of Rochdale”
  • 16. An%Integrated%Co-op%Economy! 1.  Begin with a Store 2.  Accumulate Shared Capital for Growth & Investment 3.  Leverage Purchases to Start New Co-ops 4.  Grow the “Co-operative Commonwealth”
  • 17. A%Living%Vision! •  The Co-operative Group •  6 Million Members (2011) •  123,000 Employees •  5,000 Stores & Branches in UK •  Cross-Industry: Farming, Travel, Financial Services, Healthcare, Funeralcare, Legal Services, Auto Sales, etc. •  20 million members by 2020
  • 18. Mondragón,%Spain! •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Vocational school in 1950s 256 Co-ops & Subsidiaries $20 Billion in Revenue (‘10) 100,000 Employees (‘10) Industrial Production, Banking, Agriculture, Education, Tech, etc. Largest Domestic Grocery Resilient in Recession
  • 19. Emilia%Romagna,%Italy! •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  4 Million People 7,500+ Co-ops 30-40% of GDP 2/3 are members of co-ops 10% employed by co-ops “Full employment” Vibrant Local Traditions and Food Culture Cross sector co-operation
  • 20. Neighboring%Food%Co-op%Association! The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is a network of food co-ops committed to a shared vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system, and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise.
  • 21. Leveraging%Our%Shared%Strength! •  Peer Collaboration for Business Success •  Regional Sourcing to co cave o-op to c cave S S -op er umm n o w sheep milnkd er S y ri bloom umm ery y, butt hroom y, mus cream Farm dcock t Woo mon n, Ver Westo al $ 99 15. /po und Co-op Food ring artisan eighbo onal the N .coop on d regi hip of td an w.nfca t ww nal L rtners io visi a pa ternat op is please ns In to Coation, ovisio Cave inform n, Pr ore iatio For m Assoc ers. semak chee ci spe Sno •  Collaboration with other Co-ops w milk sheep y rind bloom ery y, butt room mush eamy, cr m k Far dcoc ont Woo , Verm eston W .9 $15 9/p oun d -op d Co g Foo n borin artisa Neigh onal p f the d regi a.coo o .nfc Ltd an ership www ional partn visit ternat p is a lease ,p o-o ns In ation visio e to C form Cav n, Pro ore in ciatio For m Asso ers. semak chee spe on cia l •  Communicating Our Shared Impact
  • 22. Telling%Our%Story…! The NFCA in 2012: •  34 food co-ops and start-ups •  94,000+ member-owners •  7,000+ new member-owners •  1,480+ employees •  $215 million in annual revenue •  $30+ million in local purchases •  $2.2+ million in Fair Trade purchases •  $2+ million in purchases from other co-ops
  • 23. …Across%the%Economy! New England & New York •  8,860 co-ops •  9.5 million members •  Employ 55,000 people •  $2 billion in wages •  $100 billion in assets •  $14 billion in revenue
  • 24. Cross%Sector%Initiatives% •  Cross Sector Networks   Shared marketing   Business development   Valley Co-operative Business Association •  Policy   IYC Resolutions   Legislative engagement   New England Farmers Union
  • 25. Cross%Sector%Initiatives% •  Products & Sourcing   “Go Co-op” Initiative   Promote co-op products   New co-op product development •  Education   Ads & press   Resources for co-ops   Events & outreach
  • 26. 312 F A R M E R S (1,817 Nationally) •!Organic*Valley** Co.op*Member*Farmers* Connec'cut! 1! Maine! 29! Massachuse2s! 2! New!Hampshire! 9! New!York! 134! Vermont! 137! 34 FOOD CO-OPS (90,000 Members) Food%Co-ops%&%Farmer%Co-ops:% Working(together(for(a(more(( just,(sustainable(and(resilient(( regional(food(system.( Neighboring*Food* Co.op*Associa4on* Member*Food*Co.ops*&*Start.Ups* % Map Updated 9/2013
  • 27. Co-ops%&%Local%Economies! •  Community ownership & democratic control •  Focus on service, meeting needs before profit •  Develop local skills & assets •  Ability to assemble limited resources •  Regional economic efficiencies •  Difficult to remove from a community or buy-out •  Anchor community wealth •  More sustainable and resilient
  • 28. Ontario Co-op Assocation //
  • 29. End%Result! Co-operative enterprises contribute to more stable local food systems, infrastructure, employment, services, and economy.
  • 30. A%Flexible%Model! •  Food Co-ops •  Housing Co-ops •  Agricultural Co-ops •  Utility Co-ops •  Fishing Co-ops •  Credit Unions •  Worker Co-ops •  Health & Insurance •  Artisan Co-ops •  Etc. •  Childcare Co-ops
  • 31. The%Co-operative%Decade! “The real opportunity, of course, is to use 2012 to help achieve a longer-term vision. ICA is committed to turning The International Year of Co-operatives into a Co-operative Decade...” Charles Gould, Secretary General International Co-operative Alliance INTERN ATIONA L CO-O PERATIV E ALLIA NCE BLUEPR A CO-OINT FOR DECAD PERATIVE E JANUAR Y 2013
  • 32. The%Co-operative%Decade! By 2020, co-operative enterprise will be •  the acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability •  the preferred business model for people around the world •  the fastest-growing model of enterprise by 2020.
  • 33. Opportunities%for%Growth! •  Existing Food Co-ops  7,000 new members in NFCA co-ops  Half of NFCA co-ops planning expansions •  New Food Co-ops  10 start-ups in NFCA membership  130 projects nationwide
  • 34. Opportunities%for%Growth! •  Collaboration  Education & marketing  Partnership with supplier co-ops  Support new co-ops  Gaps in local economy
  • 35. Opportunities%for%Growth! •  Converting existing businesses to co-ops –  Solution to challenges of succession –  Rooting enterprise in our communities
  • 36. Cooperation%among%Co-ops! “Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.” 6th Principle of the Co-operative Identity International Co-operative Alliance
  • 37. Looking%Forward! How can we take advantage of this opportunity... •  Events like this! •  Networking within and across sectors  Neighboring Food Co-op Association, Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops, Valley Co-operative Business Association •  Co-op to co-op business and investment •  From “My Co-op” to “Our Co-ops”! •  Focusing on the Co-operative Economy
  • 38. A%Co-operative%Economy ! WOCCU CUNA Credit Union International Farmer Co-ops Equal Exchange Domestic Farmer Co-ops Deep Root Organic Co-op Real Pickles Fiddleheads Food Co-op New Producer Co-op? Neighboring Food Co-ops Nat’l Co-op Business Association Internat’l Co-operative Alliance New Service Co-op? Organic Valley Nat’l Farmers Union
  • 39. Cross%Sector%Collaboration%as%an%‘End’! Because of the our co-op…   There will be a thriving, multi-sectoral co-operative economy in our region, increasing in both scope and impact, to which our co-op is meaningfully connected.” Sample ends policy thanks to Don Kreis Chair, Board of Trustees, Cooperative Fund of New England, and former member of the Board of Directors at the Co-op Food Stores
  • 40. What’s%Going%On%Around%Us?! •  Co-op model seen as a solution •  A reinvigorated, reinspired movement •  Young people getting involved •  Existing co-ops are growing… •  …New co-ops emerging across our region •  Entrepreneurs to “Co-opreneurs” •  Renewed vision for a “Co-operative Economy”
  • 41. Looking%Forward! How can we take advantage of this opportunity...  …to be ambitious in our vision for our own food co-ops and wider community of co-ops?  …to work together across co-op sectors to grow the co-operative economy?  …to consciously link our resources so we can leverage shared impact?
  • 42. Looking%Forward! …and make the Co-operative Decade a reality.
  • 43. I Y Our Co-ops! The Neighboring Food Co-op Association // Erbin Crowell, Executive Director Neighboring Food Co-op Association //