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Last edited by Joel Brock Feb 4, 2015 Cooperative Cafe

This Month's Featured Video

Featured Co-op Cafe Video: The Language of Participation



Emily Lippold-Cheney, cooperative organizer



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.

Runtime: 07:17



    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!


    Co-op Cafe Roundups |  Growth & Participation |  Greetings From Co-op Leaders 

      Co-op Foundations  |  Co-ops & Community



    Co-op Cafe Roundups

    Rochester, MN 2014 Roundups

    Recorded Sat. March 29, 2014

    Video + Photos




    Runtime:  08:24

    Asheville 2014 Roundups

    Recorded Sat. March 22, 2014

    Video + Photos




    Runtime:  04:50

    Keene 2014 Roundups




    Video Not Available

    Recorded Sat. March 15, 2014

    Video + Photos





    Sacramento 2014 Roundups

    Recorded Sat. March 8, 2014

    Video + Photos




    Runtime:  06:18

    Portland 2014 Roundups

    Recorded Sat. March 1, 2014

    Video + Photos




    Runtime:  06:14

    Philadelphia 2013 Roundups

    Recorded Sat. November 2, 2013

    Video + Photos




    Runtime:  07:36

    Kalamazoo 2013 Roundups

    Recorded Sat. October 26, 2013

    Video + Photos




    Runtime:  07:16

    Albuquerque 2013 Roundups

    Recorded Sat. October 19, 2013

    Video + Photos




    Runtime:  06:42

    Growth & Participation

    The Co-operative Decade:  And Why Participation Matters

    Dame Pauline Green, President

    International Cooperative Alliance


    United Kingdom


    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.

    Runtime:  06:30

    Cracking open the 'Serve' Nut

    Leslie Watson, CBLD Consultant

    CDS Consulting Co-op


    Twin Cities, MN


    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.

    Runtime:  10:06

    Participation: Going Further

    Michael Healy, CBLD Consultant

    CDS Consulting Co-op


    Burlington, VT


    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.

    Runtime:  04:56

    Marilyn's Hierarchy of Participation

    Marilyn Scholl, Manager

    CDS Consulting Co-op


    Putney, VT


    We can apply some very basic psychological frameworks to our work in growing Participation to help us really understand how our members interact with their Cooperative. Marilyn Scholl tells us how.

    Runtime:  08:18

    Invitation, Curiousity, Participation

    Tom Mattox, Board Member

    Food Front Cooperative


    Portland, OR


    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!

    Runtime:  06:34

    Why does Participation Matter?

    CE Pugh, Chief Operating Officer

    National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA)


    Iowa City, IA


    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.

    Runtime:  06:29

    The NCGA on Participation

    Robynn Shrader, CEO

    National Cooperative Grocers Assoc.


    Iowa City, IA


    The CEO of NCGA explains why she, and the NCGA, view participation at our individual food co-ops as utterly indispensible for the success of the movement.


    Runtime:  02:05

    Preferred Shares: Capitalizing Expansion

    Steve Maviglio, Vice President

    Sacramento Natural Foods


    Sacramento, CA


    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.

    Runtime:  07:33

    The Language of Participation

    Emily Lippold-Cheney, Cooperative Organizer



    Minneapolis, MN


    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.


    Runtime:  07:16

    Fostering Belonging

    Dale Woodbeck, General Manager

    Lakewinds Food Co-op


    Chanhassen, Minnetonka, & Richfield, MN


    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.


    Runtime:  09:58

    What Startups can Teach us About Participation

    Suzi Carter, Startup Co-op Consultant

    Food Co-op Initiative


    Harrisonburg, VA


    Suzi shares the lessons that she has learned and some fresh perspectives on how startups (and established) co-ops can push their missions forward through active participation.

    Runtime:  07:00

    People's Expands: A Tale of Two Co-ops

    Michelle Schry, General Manager

    People's Food Cooperative


    LaCrosse, WI & Rochester, MN


    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.


    Runtime:  09:41

    The Co-op Difference Starts with Staff

    Sean Doyle, General Manager

    Seward Community Cooperative


    Twin Cities, MN


    Sean shares his perspective as a St. Mary's Graduate and long-time GM on how to invigorate the co-op culture at your store. In brief: It starts with investing in staff.


    Runtime:  10:04

    Building Belonging, Creating Community

    Patricia Cumbie, Consultant

    CDS Consulting Co-op


    Minneapolis, MN


    Patricia unpacks the idea of "Belonging" and ties it to the idea of connections. Building community, support, and passion doesn't happen successfully without belonging.

    Runtime:  09:08

    Share Values and Grow Communities

    Kevin Edberg, Executive Director

    Cooperative Development Services


    St. Paul, MN


    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.

    Runtime:  08:28

    Co-ops as Public Service Providers

    John Sheller, Trustee

    PCC Natural Markets


    Seattle, WA


    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!

    Runtime:  08:32

    Cooperation: It's all Spirals & Rainbows

    E. Kim Coontz, Executive Director

    California Center for Cooperative Development


    Davis, CA


    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!'

    Runtime:  10:52

    Smart Growth

    Andrea Malloy, General Manager

    Daily Groceries Co-op


    Athens, GA


    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.

    Runtime:  09:35

    Participation and Anti-Oppression

    Shawn Furst, Development Manager

    People's Food Co-op


    Portland, OR


    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.

    Runtime:  08:30

    Theories of Participation

    Dan Arnett, General Manager

    Central Co-op


    Seattle, WA


    Dan gets brainy about participation. Watch Dan break down participation into 3 components and explain some theory behind effectively engaging stakeholders in your co-op and its direction.

    Runtime:  08:25

    Dame Pauline Green, President

    International Cooperative Alliance


    United Kingdom


    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.

    Runtime:  18:10

    Why Growth Matters

    Sarah Christensen, General Manager

    Green Tree Natural Grocery


    Mt. Pleasant, MI


    According to this GM, planning for growth is not an option. This is an excellent short talk to incite and inspire.

    Runtime:  04:04

    Excite, Wow, and Spread

    Ruffin Slater, General Manager

    Weaver Street MarketResearch Triangle, North Carolina


    Simple steps for building community enthusiasm around your next growth project.


    Runtime: 08:08

    Re-Imagining Participation

    Ruffin Slater, General Manager

    Weaver Street MarketResearch Triangle, North Carolina


    Ruffin challenges us to re-think our concept of participation and what it can do for your cooperative.


    Runtime: 11:47

    Participation: Own, Use, and Serve

    Mark Goehring, CBLD Consultant

    CDS Consulting Co-op


    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.


    Runtime: 16:04

    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.


    Runtime: 05:30

    Grow for the Good of the Movement

    Martha Whitman,  Board President

    La Montañita Co-opNew Mexico



    Runtime: 09:08

    Growing the SW Regional Network

    Marshall Kovitz,  Board Vice President

    La Montañita Co-opNew Mexico




    Runtime: 08:21

    Participation that is Open, Voluntary, Embracing, Safe

    Robin Seydel, Membership & Community Development Coordinator

    La Montañita Co-opNew Mexico




    Runtime: 14:47

    Co-ops as a Hub for Community Development

    Terry Bowling, General Manager

    La Montañita Co-opNew Mexico




    Runtime: 05:22

    Growing Beyond Grocery at Mountain View Market

    Shahid Mustafa, General Manager

    Mountain View MarketLas Cruces, NM




    Runtime: 09:43

    Cooperation: An Engine for Good

    Carol Collins, Central Corridor

    National Cooperative Grovers Association




    Runtime:  03:58

    Participation Startegies at People's Kalamazoo

    Hether Jonna, Board President
    Simon Borst, Front End Manager

    People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo



    Runtime:  07:47

    The Impact of Growth

    Chris Dilley, General Manager

    People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo



    Runtime:  07:49

    Oryana 2020: A Vision for the Future

    Steve Nance, General Manager

    Oryana Natural Foods MarketTraverse City, MI




    Runtime: 07:17

    At Outpost: Growth is Awesome!

    Pam Mehnert, General Manager

    Outpost Natural Foods

    Milwaukie-area, WI


    At Outpost growth means serving it's members better, and expanding the positive impact of the co-op on the local economy and community.


    Runtime: 09:46

    Better Outreach, Better Engagement

    Kari Bradley, General Manager - Hunger Mountain Co-op

    Michael Levine, Owner - Flywheel Communications

    Montpelier, VT


    Hunger Mountain Co-op partnered with a local firm to produce a serious of focused and ultimately successful member engagement events. Hear from the source about what they learned.


    Runtime: 12:50

    The Northeast Network:  A Participatory Model

    Amy Fields, General Manager

    Eastside Food Co-op, Minneapolis, MN


    The Eastside Food Co-op have emerged as innovators in participation and engaging their owners.  Listen to Amy and get inspired as she explains the model and what it has done for NE Minneapolis.


    Runtime: 06:45

    Communities:  Align, Engage, and Participate

    Christina Nicholson, Operations Manager

    Mississippi Market, Minneapolis, MN


    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!


    Runtime: 11:12

    Credit Unions On Participation

    George Hofheimer, Chief Research + Innovation Officer

    Filene Research Institute, Madison, WI


    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.


    Runtime: 14:40

    Why Growth Matters

    Jan Rasikas, General Manager

    Viroqua Food Co-op, Viroqua, WI


    Hear why the Viroqua Food Co-op believes growth matters.  


    Runtime: 11:31

    A Nested Hierarchy of Engagement

    Leslie Watson, Board Member

    Northeast Investment Cooperative, Twin Cities, MN


    Learn about a participatory model for engagement that relies on various interconnected levels (or rings) of stakeholders.


    Runtime: 07:25

    Engagement From the Grassroots

    Bonnie Hudspeth, Outreach Coordinator

    Neighboring Food Co-op Association, New England Region


    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..


    Runtime: 13:09


    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.


    Runtime: 12:39

    Greetings From Co-op Leaders

    IYC 2012 and Beyond: The Cooperative Decade

    Charles GouldDirector-General

    International Cooperative Alliance


    Geneva, Switzerland


    Mr. Gould is looking a little further out than 2012.  He sees IYC as a springboard into growing the cooperative business model for decades to come.


    Runtime: 07:29

    Co-ops are Stronger Together

    Robyn ShraderCEO

    National Cooperative Grocers Association


    Iowa City, IA


    Runtime: 02:47

    Co-ops Grow Communities


    Pam MehnertBoard President

    National Cooperative Grocers Association


    Milwaukee, WI

    Co-ops Put Democracy into Action

    Michelle Schry, General Manager

    People's Food Co-op, LaCrosse, WI


    Runtime: 02:48

    The Eternal Debating Society

    Alex Gyori General Manager

    Brattleboro Food Co-op


    Runtime: 02:50

    Telling the Co-op Story

    Liz Bailey, CEO

    National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA)


    Runtime: 01:44


    Co-op Foundations

    Is the Economy an Angry God?

    [chapter 1]  [chapter 2]  [chapter 3]


    Tom WebbManager

    Masters of Cooperatives and Credit Unions

    at St. Mary's University


    Halifax, NS, Canada


    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].


    Runtime: 19:02

    Imagination Matters

    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.


    Runtime: 13:12

    Excerpted from his 2012 CCMA Keynote Address

    The We / Me Cycle

    Walden Swanson, Business Intelligence Analyst

    CoopMetrics + CDS Consulting Co-op


    Andover, MA


    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. 

    Runtime: 12:04

    Co-ops:  Where Democracy, Community, and Sustainability Meet

    Bill Gessner, Co-op Development Consultant

    CDS Consulting Co-op


    Minneapolis, MN


    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.  


    Runtime: 14:13

    Seeing the Cooperative Landscape, Growing the Cooperative Economy

    Erbin Crowell, Executive Director

    Neighboring Food Co-op Association


    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?

    Runtime: 09:05

    A Co-op Case Study

    Adam SchwartzConsultant

    The Cooperative Way + CDS Consulting Co-op


    Springfield, VA


    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.   


    Runtime: 09:49

    Co-ops:  An Impact Study

    Dave Olson, Western Corridor Advisor

    National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA)




    Runtime 09:50


    Co-ops + Community

    Civic Involvement in Co-op Development

    Madeline RogeroMayor

    City of Knoxville, TN


    Knoxville, TN


    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.


    Runtime: 09:31

    When Local Government Cooperates

    Clem Nilan, General Manager

    City Market Onion River Co-op


    Ed Antczak, Economic Development Specialist

    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.


    Runtime: 11:59

    Remarks From Kathleen Merrigan: The Opportunities of Cooperation

    Kathleen MerriganDeputy-Secretary [bio]

    US Department of Agriculture


    Washington, DC


    Don't miss this brief talk on the opportunities that cooperatives have, especially right now, and the resources that the USDA has available to support cooperative growth and excellence.


    Runtime: 04:53

    Cooperatives: The Seeds of Change and Growth

    Jon-Michael Muise, Area Director of Rural Development

    US Department of Agriculture 


    Mr. Muise shares what he sees as the role of cooperatives in actualizing positive change in the marketplace.


    Runtime: 04:51

    Communicating the Cooperative Difference


    Maurice SmithCEO [bio]

    Local Government Federal Credit Union


    Raleigh, NC



    Runtime: 08:12

    Cooperatives are Good for Cities

    Russ Wille, Community Development Director

    City of St. Peter, MN


    St. Peter, MN


    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.


    Runtime: 05:33

    How Growth Worked for PCC

    Carol Binder, Board Chair

    PCC Natural Markets


    Seattle, WA


    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.


    Runtime: 02:29

    50 Ways to be a Co-op

    Diana Chapman, Director of Sustainability

    PCC Natural Markets


    Seattle, WA




    Runtime: 04:54

    Surveying Pacific Northwest Cooperatives

    Diane Gasaway, Executive Director

    Northwest Co-op Development Center (NWCDC)


    Olympia, WA


    Runtime: 11:12

    A Utility Co-op Thats Powering Community

    Chuck Dawsey, CEO

    Benton Rural Electric Cooperative Association


    Prosser, WA


    Runtime: 09:35






    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.  






    The seminars are produced by the CDS Consulting Co-op, as part of its CBLD program, as a way of supporting co-ops getting stronger.


    For more information contact Mark Goehring.


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