We know from experience that when cooperatives work together across silos, their impact on justice, sustainability and democracy exponentially increases. And yet, “cooperation among cooperatives” is overwhelmingly dictated by place and sector. We do business with other co-ops in our proximity; we partner with co-ops that share our business model: food co-ops working with other food co-ops, credit unions working with fellow credit unions. This gathering of the New York Cooperative Network seeks to realize the potential for cooperation between and among these silos.
To build a solidarity economy in New York State and beyond, we need to strong web of co-ops of all kinds, an ecosystem with a rich pattern of connections.
This gathering will:
- Outline specific initiatives for expanding the cooperative economy in New York State through strategic partnerships.
- Establish a framework to grow our informal network of cooperators into a statewide Cooperative Business Association (CBA), including determining an organizational form and laying out a start-up action plan.
We are seeking participants from across New York State who want to learn about and contribute to conversations on a range of topics, such as:
- Leveraging cooperative ownership models to establish and scale-up community solar initiatives, especially in low/moderate income communities.
- Creating value-added partnerships between food co-ops, housing cooperatives, and and community solar initiatives.
- Promoting public policy and funding for cooperative entrepreneurship and technical assistance.
- Building alliances with municipalities to create cooperative development programs that advance economic development, financial inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
- Financing and incubating cooperative businesses through Credit Unions.
- Incorporating, governing, staffing and sustaining a Cooperative Business Association (CBA).
- Organizing public awareness and advocacy campaigns led by a CBA.
Workshops will include brief presentations, followed by facilitated discussions and action-oriented, group planning. Be sure to let us know if you have particular expertise to contribute to the conversation.
This network gathering builds on four years of grassroots organizing. In 2012 and 2013, volunteer efforts to organize two consecutive New York Cooperative Summits mobilized hundreds of co-op directors, managers, workers, organizers, consultants, members and scholars from across the state to begin a process of peer-learning and strategic planning. In 2014 and 2015, local events built on this momentum by taking steps toward the development of a CBA with the National Cooperative Business Association. Now, through this 2016 network gathering, we will advance our work to the next stage by laying out concrete plans -- for both the creation of a CBA, and for programmatic “footholds” that can start expanding the benefits of economic cooperation.
Open to all interested in New York State cooperatives
You are also welcome to contact Krys Cail at krys.cail [at] gmail.com with comments and questions.
Frank Cetera (Senior Business Advisor with NYS Onondaga Small Business Development Center)
Krys Cail (GreenStar Cooperative Market, DE Squared)
Joe Marraffino (Democracy at Work Institute, American.coop, New York Cooperative Network)
Meagan Weatherby (Cooperative Federal, Syracuse Real Food Co-op)