When a Food Co-op Opens… // NFCA News, August 2021

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NFU Webinar: Evolution of Co-op Identity

Democracy & Equity. Self-Help & Solidarity. Concern for Community.

Since 1844, co-operative enterprise been guided by the principles established by the Rochdale Pioneers in the North of England. Well, yes — but not quite. In founding their co-op, the Pioneers were building on many experiments that came before them. And while their model spread rapidly, it was not until 1937 that the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) distilled their rules into a set of formal guidelines for a diverse, cross-sector movement serving communities around the world. Updated over time in response to changing social, political and economic conditions, these principles were last updated in 1995.

In this webinar with the National Farmers Union, Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) and former Chair of National Cooperative Business Association, and special guest Martin Lowery, U.S. Representative to the Board of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and Executive Vice President, Emeritus, of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), discuss the evolution of the Co-operative Identity, how co-ops have worked to be responsive to the needs of their time, and how these values and principles will be at the center of the 33rd World Co-operative Congress coming up in December.

This webinar is part of a series being developed by Crowell for NFU as a resource for education and participation in the cross-sector co-operative movement. Topics include co-operative history, growth and development, and relevance to contemporary issues.

“The purpose of this webinar and the other co-op sessions we host throughout the year,” said Emma Lindberg, NFU Education Director, “is to share more information about NFU’s co-operative legacy, encourage involvement in co-ops, and to answer your questions about co-ops.”

These videos are a great resource for food co-ops interested in providing educational opportunities for staff and directors on the wider co-operative movement. To view this and other webinars in the series, please visit the NFCA YouTube Channel.