Experiencing a Co-Opapalooza

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.

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2 Responses to Experiencing a Co-Opapalooza

  1. Daryl says:

    Sounds like a great event, Sasha! Sorry I couldn’t be there…grad school keeps me off the streets. Jill V. is good people though and I’m glad you talked with her. Curious…was Group Health there? They are one of my favorite co-ops.

    Was talking today about Verity having in-store branches at PCC and/or Whole Foods. What better way to differentiate ourselves!

    Also, are you hip to this? http://www.nic.coop/

    • Daryl! When I spoke with Carissa (from NCBA) she gave me that idea [ATMs in Co-ops] as a freebie… it makes perfect sense. Memberships for CUs and food co-ops have a basic understanding of the cooperative ideas, which makes them a natural to partner with. If there is some way I can help others get on board with that, let me know. I love the PCC!

      It’s good that you are focused on grad school — that’s a great goal to work toward. Of course you may miss out on awesomeness like the Co-Opapalooza, but that will just make you all the more determined to catch it next time around, yeah? I didn’t see Group Health, but there were two or three tables I didn’t get to (due to their location next to or near the free coffee, where, unsurprisingly, a crowd was gathered). And I don’t know why it’s never hit me before that Group Health Co-operative is a co-op… Oy. But I am happy to realize that now, thanks to you… I’ve had extremely positive interactions with GHC and their staff — makes me feel even better about handing them my money.

      I’ve only been hip to it for the past 48 hours! Hmm, VerityCU.coop is available… I wonder if anyone else is game for a dotcoop change? Disappointingly, chicken.coop is not available. However, Sasha.coop is available. I’ve never bought a domain name before… but I think they may be okay with giving me the individual one, as I’m trying to advance the cause of co-operatives, yeah? 😉 I think I’ll give that a shot.

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