We are thrilled to share that Regenerative Design Group is now a worker-owned cooperative. We made it official in December, after many months of learning the ins and outs of conversion with the help of the Cooperative Development Institute.
RDG has always embraced cooperative values like self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. We’ve aimed to have our work culture and operations reflect those values, as well as the regenerative ethos we bring to our design + planning work. Formed in 2009, our firm was first conceived as a loose collaborative of individuals that would share a support umbrella. During the business planning process, however, RDG morphed into a more standard business model, albeit one that functioned informally like a co-op. In 2019, as we reflected on ten years in business and envisioned the next ten, we recommitted to the original vision of employee-ownership.
It’s rewarding to be in solidarity with businesses around the world that are similarly guided by the seven Cooperative Principles of:
- Voluntary and Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Member Economic Participation
- Autonomy and Independence
- Education, Training and Information
- Co-operation among Co-operatives
- Concern for Community
A Community of Cooperatives
We’re in good company here in the Pioneer Valley, where you can’t throw a pickle, a guitar, or a bottle of kombucha without hitting a worker-owned coop. It’s also exciting to join the ranks of other design firms like South Mountain, Oxbow Design-Build, and Acadia Landscape + Design.
It feels timely to have completed our cooperative conversion in the strange year that was 2020, with its daily reminders of the need for authentic models of democracy, concern for community, and fair distribution of resources. Indeed, in a time when so many traditional sectors and businesses are struggling, worker-owned cooperatives prove to be resilient.
Look out for future posts that share more about our process and learning along the way.