The Boiled Down Juice explores concepts of community tradition, community action, and creative living, among many other things.You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!
There is an ever-growing movement toward locally developed, community owned, regionally-based business that are, at least in theory, sustainable in every sense of the word.
As readers know, we tend to focus on cultural arts and history, how the past intersects with the present, and how this information can help us plan for a stronger tomorrow. Coming from that perspective, we’re deeply curious about the core ideas behind these local, small-scale businesses, and how, in many ways, they are channeling—in a decidedly more democratic way—ideas and resources from an older, more locally-based economy.
We’re especially interested in the larger, long term questions regarding how these initiatives sustain local communities and culture(s) and how all members of the community take a role in the decision making, thus promoting and sustain democracy. So what are some of these initiatives and how exactly do they work? Are they successful? And what can we learn from them that we could take back to our own communities?
Today’s Friday Video is a discussion of one of the more popular initiatives, the Evergreen Cooperatives, a group we discussed in a recent post here. The video comes from the organization PolicyLink’s “America’s Tomorrow” series and features PolicyLink founder Angela Glover Blackwell speaking with Ted Howard of the the Democracy Collaborative about the Cleveland-based Evergreen Cooperatives. The Democracy Collaborative is an organization associated with community building and what they call the Community Wealth Building Initiative, which “sustains a wide range of projects involving research, training, policy development, and community-focused work designed to promote an asset-based paradigm and increase support for the field across-the-board.” The Evergreen Cooperatives are one of multiple initiatives supported by the Collective.
What we find most interesting about the Evergreen Cooperatives is the not only the worker-ownership, but also the detailed initial research into local business needs and how to meet these needs in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. This initial research works to ensure the long-term, economic sustainability of the worker-ownership. It’s not a cultural arts model (as we tend to highlight), but it is locally generated and appears to have the support of the community as a whole, and it’s certainly a model from which we can all learn a great deal.
What are your thoughts on this discussion? If a similar cooperative were to open in your own home (rural or urban) what might it look like and why? What are your thoughts, critiques, and ideas about this model? What’s happening where you are? We’d love to hear from you.
Thanks so much to PolicyLink for allowing us to embed this video! You can learn more about their work by visiting their page here: www.policylink.org
To learn more about the Cooperatives and for behind the scenes look at their work watch the video below: