The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


Leave a comment

Documenting the most Striking and Inspiring Cooperatives in Five Continents

They say the best way to learn is to teach.  It couldn’t be more true.  Writing a blog post is the process of condensing a lot of information into an easily digestible form.  As a result, I’m learning right along with my readers.  Here’s something I didn’t know:

Cooperatives are not a marginal phenomenon:

  • More than 12% of humanity is part of any of the 3 million cooperatives in the world!
  • The Top 300 cooperatives and mutuals report a total turnover of 2,1 trillion USD, according to the World Co-operative Monitor (2017).
  • Cooperatives contribute to the sustainable economic growth and stable, quality employment, employing 280 million people across the globe, in other words, 10% of the world’s employed population.

You might also be interested to know the Italian researcher Sara Vicari and filmmaker Andrea Mancori, have set a goal of visiting and documenting, in a series of short films, some of the most striking and inspiring cooperatives from different economic sectors in five continents.  They started the aroundtheworld.coop project in January.  You can get more detailed information about the project on their blog,

All the videos will be made available on ICA’s youtube channel


Leave a comment

Are you interested in starting a coop?

From the large amount of material coming into my feed daily, it appears more and more grassroots organizations are springing up around the country dedicated to building a robust cooperative sector.  United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives is just such an organization.

The USFWC was founded in 2004 when a core of worker co-op members came together with co-op developers, scholars, community organizers, and supporters from the broader co-op sector to strengthen worker co-ops through a national, sector-specific organization. Building on growing momentum, this founding event brought together worker co-op practitioners from the existing Western Worker Co-op Conference and the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, as well as key players in Midwest and Southern states, to galvanize and support rising interest in the worker co-op business model.

This is a great organization if you want to learn more about cooperatives or are interested in starting a coop. They have many resources available including a Co-op movement study guide.


Leave a comment

Covilli Brand Organics inaugurates health clinic for workers

You can make a huge difference in workers’ lives by purchasing fair trade. Tad Thompson tells us how Covilli Brand Organics invests its fair trade dollars to improve the health of their workers and the community as a whole…

Earlier this year the Fair Trade program of Covilli Brand Organics Inc. inaugurated a health clinic in Triunfo de Santa Rosa, which is the village where the farm is located, about an hour from Guaymas, Sonora. The project was three years in the making.

Iris Montaño-Madrigal, Covilli’s marketing manager, said the facility offers farmworkers — and local citizens — generalized medical services and dentistry. Very soon the facility will have specialized care.

…Workers receive preference at the facility, which is also available to as many as 9,000 local citizens.

 


Leave a comment

Alternative Economy Promotes Gender Equality in Northern Syria

There is so little positive news coming out of Syria these days that I was surprised and heartened when I found this article published in Kurdishquestion.com.  Although it specifically covers the efforts in Rojava, a region in Northern Syria, to establish grassroots assemblies and cooperatives, it speaks to the larger question of how to democratise all sectors of society, including the economy.  For example, local cooperatives provide:

 …alternative means and avenues that allow traditionally marginalised groups such as women to actively participate and engage with the market…Further, this alternative model allows society to bring the lived experiences of democracy to the grassroots level by devolving and disempowering the capacity of the state to control and direct the market. But cooperatives allow the community to create jobs on the local level, produce locally sourced and generated products, create jobs that do not require specialised skills and allows unskilled workers to gain skills and access to the market.


Leave a comment

This Week’s New Economy News

There are a lot of interesting and exciting things happening on the new economy front this week.  This from New Zealand:

Jan. 24 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s top 30 cooperatives contribute more than $42.3 billion per annum to the economy in revenue, a new report has found.

The report, by industry body Cooperative Business New Zealand and researchers from Massey University and Auckland University, shows the top cooperatives and mutuals have a revenue-to-gross domestic product ratio of 17.5 percent. The data “confirms the importance of the cooperative business model to New Zealand as a country,” said Cooperative Business chief executive Craig Presland. A total of 1.4 million New Zealanders are members of cooperatives.

Yes! Magazine, always a great source for news regarding the new economy has an on-going series exploring innovative local solutions to business problems state-by-state.

In 2009, United Steelworkers … met with representatives from Spain-based Mondragon, the world’s largest worker cooperative, to develop a plan for industrial steel workers to transition into worker-ownership. Cooperatives, they believed, would put more power in the hands of workers.

The partnership sparked an idea with labor organizers in Cincinnati. And in 2012, labor representatives founded the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI), a union co-op incubator that nurtures startups, aiming to create an integrated network of union co-ops that sustain and support each other.

Another interesting concept is Platform Cooperatives:

‘Just like traditional co-ops, platform co-ops are organisations that are owned and managed by their members,’ says the Open Co-op’s Oliver Sylvester-Bradley. ‘While traditional co-ops are normally based around a physical community of members, platform co-ops live online and are normally populated by online communities of members.’

If you are interested and can attend, Open 2017: Platform Cooperatives will be holding a conference in the UK on Platform Cooperatives.  The dates are February 16th and 17th. Organizers of the event promise a gathering of “thinkers, practitioners and new ideas around the digital economy.”

To find out more about the event, and for the full programe, visit 2017.open.coop


Leave a comment

Natural Dyes Save Lives

Conventional textile manufacturing is poisonous to its workers and to the land, but there are alternatives.

A new crop of small businesses is investing in organic farming, natural dyes and a transparent supply chain that encourages shoppers to think about the effect of their purchases — and they’re selling their products online and in a small but growing number of US stores, from small trendy boutiques to Target.

These include Colorado-based PACT, which makes underwear and loungewear from all-organic cotton; New Jersey-based Boll and Branch, which sells organic-cotton bedsheets, blankets and towels, and two companies based in Los Angeles — Jungmaven, a hemp and organic-cotton T-shirt company, and Industry of All Nations, whose clothes are made with natural dyes and fibres from around the world.

Visit Gulfnews.com to learn more about the businesses using natural, sustainable textiles to produce their goods..


Leave a comment

Great News On the Co-op Front

Wallaces Farmer posted an article on the USDA’s recently released annual report on co-operatives.

USDA recently released its annual report on cooperatives, saying the nation’s top 100 co-ops again set a record for net income in 2015.

Net income for the nation’s agricultural cooperatives soared by 14% last year, according to data released Oct. 5 by USDA. In its annual report on national cooperative business sales, USDA reported that the country’s farmer, rancher and fishery co-ops posted record net income of $7 billion in 2015.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak praises the co-operative business model, stating:

While the model has long been one of the hallmarks of rural economies, its reach has greatly expanded to include almost every aspect of U.S. commerce. The latest data show cooperatives are a key to building stronger and more vital communities, particularly in rural areas.”