Demystifying the Law – Equal Exchange Cafe on Dec. 2nd 2015

Hi folks – there will be an event happening at the Equal Exchange Cafe on Dec. 2nd
around co-op law, so if you are interested, or know of someone who might
be, please pass this along:

Event Details

Are you a worker cooperative who could use some help demystifying the law?

Are you a technical assistance provider who would like to connect with
worker cooperatives and learn more about the law yourself?

If so, please join us on Wednesday, December 2nd at 6:30 p.m. to meet
lawyers, law students, and other technical assistance providers who are
working together to create and share valuable resources and information for
worker cooperatives in Massachusetts.

This event will also serve as the official release party for a publication
created by students of Harvard Law School’s Community Enterprise Project of
the Transactional Law Clinics (CEP). In collaboration with Lydia
Edwards, J.D. LLM, Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services and
Sustainable Economies Law Center Fellow, and Stacey Cordeiro, founder of
the Boston Center for Community Ownership, this document aims to demystify
the intricacies of the law as they relate to worker cooperatives.

Join us over Equal Exchange coffee and tea to learn more about the ways in
which lawyers and other technical assistance providers can assist your
business, as well as to teach us about ways in which we can better address
your cooperative’s needs.

Hope to see you there!

Location: Equal Exchange Cafe, 226 Causeway St., Boston, MA 02114

(accessible from North Station, Green or Orange Line)

*Presentation to begin at 7 p.m.*

USFWC Mix and Mingle!

Hi WORC’N folks!

The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives is having our annual Board retreat this weekend, here in Boston, and we’d love to see you while we’re in town!

We’re going to mix and mingle, low-key informal style, at Sacco’s Bowl Haven on SATURDAY NOV. 21, starting around 7:30pm.
(45 Day Street, Somerville MA)
If you’re around, please drop by, connect with USFWC board and staff from around the country, talk co-op shop, and maybe even bowl a bit :)

We hope to see some old friends and meet new ones!
~ Amy, Esteban and the USFWC Board

Platform Cooperativism – What is it?

Let’s connect with people that are building cooperative platforms.  On Friday November 6th we will meet at the Industry Lab in Cambridge from 6:30-8pm. Please RSVP HERE

On November 13 and 14, Agaric members will be going to the New School in New York City, where they are hosting a coming-out party for the cooperative Internet, built of platforms owned and governed by the people who rely on them. The program will include discussion sessions, screenings, monologues, legal hacks, workshops, and dialogues, as well as a showcase of projects, both conceptual and actual. We’ll learn from coders and worker cooperatives, scholars and designers. Together, we’ll put their lessons to work as we work toward usable apps and structural economic change. This is your chance to get on the ground floor of the next Internet, and to help make it a reality. Registration is free, and tickets are still available.

It looks to be a great opportunity to connect with some potential allies, and come upon some well-thought-out ideas. Please, take a look at the participants list and see if there is anyone interesting you would like to connect with:

There are some wild projects and goings-on: this is not your average conference! If you are going, we could discuss how we might work together to cover more ground at the conference. If you cannot attend, but would like us to bring along certain ideas, or raise certain questions, we’ll do our best to make those connections.

Platform Cooperativism is convened by Trebor Scholz (The New School) and Nathan Schneider (University of Colorado Boulder).

Anyone interested in carpooling  – contact us.

Further reading:

By Trebor Scholz:
Platform “Cooperativism vs. the Sharing Economy” (December 5, 2014)
”Think Outside the Boss,” Public Seminar (April 5, 2015)

By Nathan Schneider
“Owning Is the New Sharing,” Shareable (December 21, 2014)

We have setup a way for you to join our dialog, even if you cannot attend the event.  Add to the list of projects and speakers you would like to see and share notes on, before, during or after the conference :

Boston Co-op Social

When: October 16th  from  6PM – 8PM

Where: Doyle’s Cafe 3484 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA

Boston Cooperative Business Association invites you for an evening of networking, socializing, and cooperation!

This is a chance for co-op staff, board directors, members, and friends to gather for food, drinks, and good conversations.

Building a cooperative movement includes hard work and organizing, but it also needs connections, conversation, & celebrations. So come to Doyle’s and meet someone new, learn about a co-op you didn’t know existed, celebrate the expanding co-op sector in Boston and have a good time!

Please RSVP

Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy – Summer of 2015

The topic of the conference was “Creating Impact“.  There were over 300 attendees from many different cooperatives around the United States. It was great to see some of you there!!!! The conference was organized by the Center for Workplace Democracy and The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC).

USFWC - United States Federstion of Worker CooperativesThe program, the schedule, the presenters and sessions were outstanding. The event had a wonderful flow that allowed for networking and conversations to blossom in hallways as well as in the designated networking spaces and times. These efforts included a member drive and outreach for the conference. Discount tickets and scholarships were available to those who needed them, in solidarity with cooperation in this economic war. Convening this many members of the cooperative movement that are scattered about the United states is not an easy task to coordinate. Hats off to Amy Johnson and Esteban Kelly of the USFWC, they did an outstanding job in getting members to the convention and making sure that a great time and good information and plenty of locally sourced healthful food was offered to all.  The event was catered for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a wonderful hall that was easily accessible and roomy enough for people to circulate around and have multiple conversations. Attendees were mostly members of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) and some belong to coops, or work in coop friendly companies. Some people were there learning how to become a member of a worker cooperative, or start one, all were engaged in lively discussions. The friendly atmosphere was felt by newcomers as they were engaged in deep conversations about their well being, their work, their lives and their happiness in the present and future. A first time attendee was overcome and told of his life changing moment when seeing so many people come together with the skills, the knowledge and the determination to make a better world for all.

Here is a link to a blog that covers news and items of interest in the world of cooperatives. This particular link leads to one blog about conference that was held in Worcester in July 2015 –

Dinner at La Sanghita Cafe!

Join us for lunch – October 1st at 2pm ET.

Hungry for healthy food and sharing knowledge! In solidarity, I have a
suggestion for a direct action we can all take part in locally.

La Sanghita Cafe (Boston’s only cooperative worker/owner restaurant) is now open
for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Here are a few highlights from their Newsletter –

lasanghitaBuying the Property —
After leasing our space for almost a year we are proud to announce we have finally
purchased the property and have begun paying a mortgage!

Eastie Farm —
The city has approved the Eastie Farm! The goal of this site is to provide a space
in East Boston for folks to enjoy nature and build community through growing and
eating food! We will be offering classes in gardening as well as cooking and natural
product making. For more information on ways to get involved, visit


Let’s have a Cooperative meal! Comidas Cooperativas!

What better way to support the local cooperative movement than by supporting a
new local coop and dining on delicious food:)

Next Co-op 101: Thursday Feb. 20th, at Red Sun Press in JP

An introduction to doing business as a cooperative, including:

  • What exactly is a cooperative, anyway?  Legal and practical definitions
  • What kinds of cooperatives are there, and what industries do they operate in?
  • Steps to starting a co-op, or converting a business into a cooperative
  • What are the rights and responsibilities of membership in a co-op?
  • How does a co-op distribute profits?
  • What are some ways of raising capital for co-ops?
  • How does decision making work in a co-op?
  • Who is eligible to become a member of a co-op?
  • What can go wrong?
  • What resources are available to help get a co-op started?


You will walk away with our comprehensive checklist for starting a cooperative, and a list of resources to get you started!

Feb. 20, 2014, 6-8 pm
Red Sun Press, 94 Green St. Jamaica Plain MA 02130
Registration is free – donations accepted!
Register Here
Presented by the Boston Center for Community Ownership

**Please let us know if you would like interpretation services!**

General Assembly TOMORROW 7pm: Location, Agenda, and Yearly Updates

Just a friendly reminder we have WORC’N General Assembly tomorrow at 7pm (yes, 7pm not 6pm — so you Equal Exchangers, don’t be shy to add a detour to your commute).

The location, agenda, and some yearly updates for a taste of inspiration are below.


Make Shift Boston
549 Columbus Ave
Boston MA 02118


Facilitators listed below

  • 10m Report-back/reflection on the year (James Bachez)
  • 10m Plus/Delta/Insights for 2013 (Ben Mauer)
  • 30m Updates/report-backs (Stacey Cordiero MCs)
    • US Federation update (Ben Mauer)
    • Boston Center for Community Ownership (Stacey Cordiero)
    • WORC’N members
  • Discussion items
    • 5m #BosCoop social media campaign (Joel Wool)
    • 10m Update on intersectoral and Q&A (Micha Josephy)
    • 10m Propose calendar for year & feedback (James Bachez)
    • 15m Propose we postpone membership discussion until intersectoral effort is further along & feedback (Stacey Cordiero)
    • 5m Proposal for a cooperative vision and strategy reading group (Matt Gabrenya)
    • 5m Potential partnership with Future Boston (Joel Wool)

 WORC’N Yearly Updates

A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative

The 11 members of A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative completed our buy-out of A Yard &A Half LLC on Jan 1! Muchisimas gracias to Micha & Maggie from CFNE for all of their help, and to WORCN members for all your advice and support. We’re still looking at options to stabilize working capital, but we’re pressing on! We’ll have our annual meeting in April, and are hoping to diversify our Board as worker-owners become more comfortable with democratic decision-making.

A couple of members are participating in the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing’s grassroots leadership institute in Spanish, and Carolyn gave a workshop on their experience of coops as model for business succession and democratic ownership at this weekend’s NOFA conference. (Notes & slides available)

Dorchester Community Food Co-op

The Dorchester Community Food Co-op had a successful year in 2013, recruiting members, developing new outreach and engagement strategies, soliciting building proposals, selecting an architect, relaunching its winter farmers’ market, partnering on a “Fresh Fridays” cafe series and appearing numerous times in the media. After working with the Sustainability Guild to revitalize a vacant lot on Bowdoin St. in Dorchester––the property that will likely be the initiative’s future home––the Co-op was featured on, in the Boston Globe Metro Section, and on WCVB’s Chronicle. The co-op is now in a major member drive and is developing a plan to raise the remaining capital needed to hire a full-time General Manager and build the store.

Cooperative Fund of New England

2013 was a landmark year for the Cooperative Fund of New England. In addition to having our Executive Director, Rebecca Dunn, inducted into the Co-op Hall of Fame (, we disbursed the second largest amount of loan funds in our 38 year history. CFNE made over $3.8 million in loans to 38 co-ops and community groups across New England and eastern upstate New York State. In Greater Boston, CFNE and its affiliate, the Cooperative Capital Fund, made loans to five worker co-ops: A Yard & A Half, Boston TechCollective, CERO Co-op, Dollars & Sense, and Red Sun Press. We look forward to another strong year in 2014. We are also currently working to help the Boston Center for Community Ownership build its capacity to support urban cooperatives in the region.

For information about borrowing or investing in the fund, please visit our website at

Red Sun Press

2013 was a year of recovery for Red Sun Press. We re-staffed after some difficult transitions, regained our financial footing and reestablished a tight, efficient workflow in the shop.

The lease of a Konica Minolta/Komori C8000 digital press was a highlight of the year, enabling us to complete longer runs of high-quality digital output. Customers like Clean Water Action, Equal Exchange and Local 26/Unite Here responded with lots of orders for postcards, brochures, flyers and posters (including tons of election-related stuff).

We symbolically renewed ourselves mid-year with a rebranding effort, yielding a new logo and fresh marketing materials.

On a governance level, too, we are refreshing our business, moving towards a new organizational structure for the co-op and rising to new challenges in the shifting economic climate. To help carve our new path we welcomed 2 outside advisors onto our board, friends and community leaders with the business and co-op experience needed to balance our busy crew of worker-members.

Looking forward to more interaction with WORC’N and the greater co-op community in 2014!