This weekend, I went to Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union‘s Co-Opapalooza. What an inspired event! Even being in the co-operative movement by way of a credit union, a member of a food co-op, REI, and public radio, I hadn’t realized the broad reach of co-ops. Did you know there are cooperative funeral parlors? I sure didn’t know that.
One of the biggest insights I took away from this? We need to be telling the whole world about cooperatives, and working together to help make this happen.
The National Cooperative Business Association seems to be the go-to resource for cooperatives. I met with their representative, Carissa Heckathorn, and she provided me with some helpful literature after I mentioned my goal of increasing members’ knowledge about cooperatives. Of course, I also want to increase staff knowledge about co-ops, because the more we know, the more we can share with others.
You, dear readers, are probably already somewhat familiar with the seven guiding principles… but it never hurts to have it repeated. So here goes:
The Seven Principles
- Voluntary and Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Member Economic Participation
- Autonomy and Independence
- Education, Training, and Information
- Cooperation among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community
Anyway. If you missed the Co-Opapalooza this year, never fear. From my conversation with Jill Vicente from SMCU, it sounds like this will be an annual event! There will be plenty of opportunities for your heart to be co-op’ted too.