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Joining Cooperative Forces

After RDG completed our transition to a worker owner coop this January, we joined the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC). As a grassroots membership organization, the USFWC supports cooperatives with business and organizing resources, and advocates for policies that support equitable worker-owned workplaces.

Our office is now on the national Coop directory map in a solid cluster of other Western MA Cooperatives. We’ve long known that there is strong local community support for cooperatives here in the Pioneer Valley, and tapping into the national Cooperative community at last week’s USFWC spring member meeting was especially exciting.

The meeting was held remotely and was facilitated simultaneously in both Spanish and English, allowing participants to choose a single language channel or listen to a bilingual presentation. There were small breakout sessions where I met other cooperative business owners from New York, Seattle, and Baltimore.

The meeting reviewed some policy advances in Massachusetts, and new regional partner strategy groups in Vermont and Boston. The announcement from the USFWC of an intentional ‘Summer Slowdown’ made me smile – as it was translated into Spanish as a ‘Regenerative Summer’ (Verano Regenerativo). The staff are planning take a month for internal work, rest, and longer term projects while still keeping members services available. It’s a great idea – although given the field we are in, it would probably be more appropriate for us to plan for some Regenerative Winters.

Two highlights were seeing our logo featured on the slides of new USFWC Coop members and realizing how many other new Coop members are in the landscape, planning, and agricultural industries. I am looking forward to connecting and collaborating with so many fellow organizations. The last year has been challenging for every one and every business, but the cooperative movement is growing! It is great to be a part of it.

Rachel Lindsay, Senior Designer + Worker-Owner

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