National Cooperative Business Association Part 1

Bill Mosher
Season 21
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Visionaries travels around the world to explore a 100-year-old way of doing business that could address some of the biggest social issues of our time, In the first part of our one-hour special on the National Cooperative Business Association we highlight four remarkably different co-ops that are having a profound impact. The Central Co-op of Seattle, WA is a cooperative grocery store that is owned and operated by its employees and customers, known within the co-op as ‘member-owners’ of which there are currently 13,500. At the same time, across town, we discover how the coop model is being used to address the needs of the bereaved at the People’s Memorial Association. In addition to these two vastly different examples of the cooperative model, the Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) shows us how co-ops can even take the place of the most unlikely of business models: a bank. Marks, Mississippi is the home of both the Mules and Blues Festival, and the Delta Regional Mule Train Market, a cooperative market that provides affordable, fresh, local produce to the residents of the town which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was on his way to visit for the Poor Peoples’ March, when he was assassinated in 1968.</p><p>In Western Massachusetts, two co-ops are breaking ground in leading a cooperative movement that is constantly gaining momentum in the Pioneer Valley. The first: Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA) of Holyoke, MA which works to create tools for educating people about the cooperative movement, all started with a board game that does just that: “Co-opoly”. The second is Real Pickles of Greenfield, MA; a worker co-op that is bringing back the age-old practice of pickling vegetables through fermentation. Their products are all made from local produce.

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