What is the role of language in elevating the meaning of participation in cooperatives? Emily Lippold-Cheney takes us through some fascinating linguistic demonstrations and challenges the viewer to make intentional use of the language we choose. “Language is key to changing a paradigm,” Lippold-Cheney said, and it is a major tool for creating change and new pathways for thinking. As an example she said, “I remember making the shift from understanding cooperative primarily as an adjective to primarily as a noun.”
A lot of the language of commerce in the world is focused on winning and losing, and she posits that changing that language through the values of cooperation “can change the conversation.” Lippold-Cheney added that cooperation can give people a new vocabulary for business that can be for the common good. Nobody has to lose for everyone to win. “We are creating a shared message and a common language regarding the work we are trying to do,” she said.
The CBLD team invites you to check out the videos in the Cooperative Cafe. This is an invaluable section of the CBLD Library that offers a collection of video presentations from recent Cooperative Cafes. This is an area of the Library that is always growing, so come back regularly. Check out this month’s featured video, then peruse as you will! We encourage you to browse them on your own or together with your co-op board and management staff, and use them to start conversations in your own community. The videos are organized thematically by content type (see the links below), and you will find videos of varying lengths to meet your needs. Enjoy!
Hear directly from the ICA President about the undeniable importance of Participation in building the success of the Cooperative Movement. Dame Green discusses the role of Participation as one of the components of a successful cooperative decade as laid out in the ICA's Blueprint For a Cooperative Decade.
We all have an idea of what it means to Serve our Co-ops. In this smart and informative video, Leslie Watson "cracks open the 'Serve' nut" for us and shows us that Service can actually be a much braoder concept encompassing far more than the few of us that agree to serve on a board.
Michael Healy invites us to expand our thinking around participation in our Co-ops, specifically how we look at measuring participation. According to Mr. Healy, there may be way more to examine if we can move beyond just counting voter turnouts and Annual Meeting attendance.
Tom Mattox gives a personal and compelling talk about new ways for us to invite genuine participation from co-op stakeholders. His perspective will have your whole Board thinking about participation in a new light. Highly recommended!
CE Pugh sheds his perspective, from the national level, on the importance of Participation in helping our cooperatives thive. There are many interesting questions we can explore if we look at data and trends from a national perspective and CE guides us along.
Learn about the Sacramento Co-ops recent success capitaling a large expansion project using Preferred Shares. Steve explains the program and shows a short video clip explaining the program and the impact it has had.
The Language of Participation
Emily Lippold-Cheney, Cooperative Organizer
Learn about the power of words and begin to understand how to harness that power. Ms. Lippold-Cheney takes us through some fascintating linguistic demonstartions and challenges the viewer to make intentional use of the language we choose.
Mr. Woodbeck shares the story of Lakewinds Food Co-op's success fostering a sense of belonging among its stakeholders by way of a branded loan program that has directly helped dozens of small local farmers in the region to thrive. Includes a short but moving video clip of those that have been touched by the Lakewinds Loan program.
Learn about the process, the challenges, and the triumphs of the unique "merger" that took place in Rochester. Michelle Schry, GM, tells about the engagement, the participation, and the support that poured from BOTH communities.
The cooperative principles gives us a competitive advantage and a raison d'etre. Mr. Edberg challenges the viewers to think about applying our deep comitment to the co-op values to the wider society we live in.
John shares a unique perspective he brings to his board by way of his professional work as a manager of public libraries in the Seattle region. You may be suprised at how much overlap exists between a public library system and a community-ownd co-op. A fascinating watch!
Kim shares an integrative view of cooperation as she see in her work the overlapping of co-ops in many sectors organizing around the same co-op principles & values. She even shares a co-op song at the end. Careful, it's catchy!'
Andrea shares the story of Daily Groceries as their tiny storefront has remained a fixture in the community and is on a course for rapid growth. Hear about how they got the support they needed to manage the growth at their co-op and ensure future success.
Shawn and her team of ~30 Co-Managers take inclusivity and openness very serious when they talk about providing "Safe and healthy food for ALL". Hear how the collective management at People's Co-op in Portland has led to a lot of difficult and important work around breaking down barriers to food access.
Dame Green takes us through the key components of the Cooperative Decade, as laid out in the ICA's Blueprint For a Cooperative Decade and challenges cooperators to take action to make the vision for 2020 a success.
Mark Goehring sets up the new Own, Use, Serv, Belong framework. Against the backdrop of the Co-operative decade Mark underscores the importance and the significance of the work of good governance and active participation.
Why Grow Co-ops: The Social + Economic Benefits
Doug Hoffer, State Auditor of Vermont
In terms that economists and policy-makers can appreciate, Doug Hoffer enumerates a handful (but certainly not all) of the benefits to local communities and economies of growing cooperative enterprises of all sorts.
At Mississippi Markets, successful growth means defining the key stakeholders, and then working to align, engage, and foster participation. For their expanding Twin Cities cooperative, the formula seems to be working!
Credit Unions On Participation
George Hofheimer, Chief Research + Innovation Officer
Mr. Hofheimer explores the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for Credit Unions in their work fostering member participation. Plus he offers up some insight into the food co-op sector and areas of potential overlap.
Following the successful opening of Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, NH, Ms. Hudspeth share tools and strategies that were effective and instrumental in the success of Southern New Hampshire's newest food co-op startup effort..
RVM: A Story of Community + Success
Rochelle Prunty, General Manager
River Valley Market, Northampton, MA
Hear about the River Valley Market's 5-year young journey from startup to profitability, along with all the wonderful benefits the enterprise now brings to it's community, local farms, and its membership.
Professor Webb has unique perspectives which he brings to the topic of the Cooperative Difference [chapter 1]. He shares with us his compelling vision for a truly Cooperative Economy [chapter 2]. And poses a challenge to help spread the cooperative model across all sectors [chapter 3].
Brett Fairbairn, Fellow in Cooperative Thought & Ideas [bio]
Centre for the Study of Cooperatives at University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK, Canada
"Change is the new normal", says Professor Fairbairn. And it's up to us and our imaginations to stay on top of all this change. By considering cooperative ventures as both enterprises and associations, we can think about adapting nimbly to both shifts in the marketplace as well as shifts in our members' needs.
In this talk Walden shares with us his latest findings, and the subject of a forthcoming research paper, on the sales trends of co-op businesses across decades. What he has uncovered in the data is fascinating and Mr. Swanson believes, that if true, could help co-ops a great deal.
Co-ops: Where Democracy, Community, and Sustainability Meet
Widely known throughout the food co-op community, Mr. Gessner has travelled the country helping grow co-ops and start new ones. His experience gives him a unique insight into the strengths and the potential of the cooperative movement.
Seeing the Cooperative Landscape, Growing the Cooperative Economy
Erbin describes a shift in perspective from "My Co-op" to "Our Co-ops," and helps us see the cooperative landscape and the cooperative economy. He shows the density of co-ops in New England and New York (almost 9.000!), and addresses the potential of cross-sector collaboration. A cooperative decade? Where do we start?
Co-ops have been known to come up with some pretty amazing solutions to the ongoing challenge of competing in the open market. In this quick presentation Adam Schwartz takes us on a tour of some of these inspiring and successful cooperative solutions to market-driven problems.
Mayor Rogero tells an important story about the partnership between the Three Rivers Market Co-op and the City of Knoxville. The results of that partnership have been fruitful for all involved including the members, the citizens, the co-op and the City.
City of Burlington Community & Economic Development Office
Look at what is possible when there's the political will to cooperate! The City of Burlington, VT, and the Onion River Co-op, in a brilliant display of cooperation on a civic level, have forged a partnership now 10 years strong.
Remarks From Kathleen Merrigan: The Opportunities of Cooperation
Another successful tale of cities and co-ops cooperating to everyone's benefit. Mr. Wille takes us through the types of aid that were made available to the St. Peter Food Co-op, as well as the benefits to the city as a result of the partnership.
With over nine stores (1 more under construction) and 45,000 members, PCC has taken a bold approach to the idea of growth. Listen to the PCC Board Chair explain how they leverage the co-op's size to spread the co-op values to a wider audience.
Co-op directors and their managers are often seeking meaningful ways to tackle questions about the future, build alignment, and take steps toward realizing the goals and vision of their cooperative. A direct path to meeting this objective is for boards, along with their general manager, to participate together in the Cooperative Cafes offered through the CBLD program. It gives co-op leadership an opportunity to work together as a group in a dynamic environment with people from other co-ops.
Each year the Cooperative Cafes will have a changing theme and will contain new content about how leaders can engage constituents and gain support in their communities for co-op growth and development.
For example, the 2013 Strategic Seminars focus on Growing Our Co-ops, and participants address two of the most powerful questions in the food co-op sector today:
Why does growth matter? What might it look like if we are successful?
How do we as leaders get our community engaged, aligned and participating?
"When the board and manager share the seminar experience together, it deepens their common understanding and gives them a process for including others in the conversation," said Mark Goehring, board leadership consultant. From his perspective, this is one of the core benefits of the seminar. "The real value is to be able to take what you learn and build on it in your local co-op community."
Conversations will be highly interactive and focused. Using the World Café conference format, participants will contribute to small group conversations inspired by the speakers and framed by a few powerful questions.
All presentations made at the seminars will be available here in the CBLD Library.
Use the one-page "Bring it Home" Guide for ideas on how to share your discoveries with your board or staff back home.
For more information about the Cooperative Cafes and other CBLD events, please visit our website.