Community-owned co-op grocery stores key in revitalizing food deserts

Community-owned Grocery in Detroit

Detroit People’s Food Co-op, opening later this year in a food desert, is an example of a community-driven project.

Food insecurity and lack of area grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods hold much blame for hunger in America. Local and state governments, along with national leaders have prioritized the elimination of “food deserts,” with large retailers promising to open or expand stores in underserved areas.  Some got past the planning stage or closed shortly after opening. The article “Why community-owned grocery stores like co-ops are the best recipe for revitalizing food deserts” looks at 71 supermarkets that had plans to open in a food desert since 2000, and explores why some groceries succeeded while others failed.

The supermarkets driven by government or commercial interests had a mixed track record, but nonprofits and those driven by community involvement tended to succeed.

Author Catherine Brinkley, Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Development at the University of California – Davis noted, “Importantly, 16 of the 18 community-driven cases were structured as cooperatives, which are rooted in their communities through customer ownership, democratic governance and shared social values.”

Policymakers and officials interested in improving wellness in food deserts should consider community ownership and involvement. If you are involved in efforts to bring a supermarket to an underserved community and want to consider cooperative business options, contact the OSU CFAES Center for Cooperatives by calling 740-289-2071 ext. 111.

Job Posting: Program Coordinator for CFAES Center for Cooperatives

The CFAES Center for Cooperatives has a job posting online at jobsatosu.com/postings/95501 to fill the full-time Program Coordinator vacancy at the CFAES Center for Cooperatives headquarters at the OSU South Centers near Piketon, Ohio.  Interested applicants must apply online by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, June 16, 2019.

Program Coordinator Duties: The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Center for Cooperatives seeks a collaborative, organized, and goal-oriented individual to serve as program coordinator to support and coordinate the research, teaching, and Extension functions of the Center; the coordinator will facilitate the planning, organization, and delivery of a cooperative development program consisting of technical assistance to groups and businesses, training and education, and the transfer of cooperative development information to other organizations and states; the coordinator will be responsible for preparing and delivering educational programming on the cooperative business model and business development through a variety of methods and media, including planning, organizing and directing workshops, conferences, seminars, and short courses to inform and train prospective and current cooperative members, new and experienced cooperative managers, as well as employees and directors; program development may include preparing and monitoring program expenses; the coordinator will assist in the preparation of articles, proposals, reports, and educational materials for publication and act as a liaison to faculty and organizations inquiring about the Center and will disseminate program information and other materials (manuals, training aids, and technical papers) to foster rural cooperative development; the coordinator will contribute to the overall goals of the Center, which include developing new cooperatives, strengthening existing cooperatives, and educating the next generation of cooperative leaders; the coordinator will perform duties in close collaboration with the Centers staff as well as various partner units within and external to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, including the Centers stakeholder advisory committee, Ohio State University Extension, West Virginia University Extension Services, USDA Rural Development, and rural community and economic development organizations; the coordinator will communicate with the Centers Program Manager in administering programming and be responsible for reporting impacts and project updates to the Program Manager; this position will include travel and may include some evening and weekend work as well as overnight travel with potential flexibility for remote work.

Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in business, business education, agriculture, economics, sociology, or related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience; strong verbal, written and electronic communication skills; demonstrated coordination skills; experience developing and administering educational programming such as webinars, seminars, or conferences; experience in the development and organization of program materials; demonstrated ability to work in a team atmosphere; willingness to work with diverse audiences.

 

 

Bauman moves to Cooperative Development Specialist position

Joy Bauman has worked at the Ohio State University South Centers since 2006 and has been involved with the cooperative development efforts at the South Centers since that time, most recently serving as the Program Coordinator for the Center for Cooperatives. Joy recently transitioned to the Cooperative Development Specialist role, officially starting in her new position on June 3.

Joy has facilitated the planning, organization, and delivery of cooperative development trainings and disseminating information about the Center throughout Ohio, West Virginia. She helped to form the successful Southern Ohio Grower’s Cooperative in 2016. Joy is currently leading a North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE) project–the Cooperative Student Leadership Experience–an immersive cooperative educational program for high school students in the Appalachian region.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the Ohio State University, majoring in Agricultural Communication and Animal Science. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science in Agriculture and Extension Education. She is well-experienced in farm and agricultural business planning. Raised on a family farm and owning and operating Turkey Run Farms with her husband and family in Adams County, Joy has a lifetime of experience in agriculture. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Agriculture and Extension Education.

Outside of work, Joy likes working with youth and is very involved with the Adams County 4-H program, advising a local 4-H club as well as the Adams County 4-H Junior Leaders, and also serves as the chair of the Adams County 4-H Advisory Committee. As an FFA Alumni member, she enjoys teaching and coaching local FFA members as they prepare for FFA Career Development Events. Joy also serves on the Adams County Farm Bureau Board of Trustees.

The Center for Cooperatives has a job posting online at http://www.jobsatosu.com/postings/95501 to fill the Program Coordinator vacancy.

Scott elected to board for Association of Cooperative Educators

CFAES Center for Cooperatives Program Manager, Hannah Scott was recently elected to the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) Board of Directors.  ACE is an international organization providing members a forum to highlight programs and practices that increase understanding, in cooperative education and the cooperative movement by promoting cooperative research and ovation, and professionalism in cooperative education. The organization benefits developing linkages between universities, cooperatives, and supporting organizations. The group works to strengthen cooperatives, build capacity and support the development of innovation and acumen in cooperatives, spreading the word about cooperatives by providing resources on cooperative education.  Founded in 1965, the Association of Cooperative Educators was formed as a professional association for educators of co-ops.

In addition to holding an annual conference and providing cooperative education, ACE annually presents three awards recognizing extraordinary work in co-op education, the Award of Merit, the Organization Award recognizing a cooperative that raised the bar in education, and a Youth Award.  The awards recognize mentorship, innovation, and promotion of democratic practices, acknowledging ways educators pass along cooperative values.  Hannah will serve on the ACE Board of Directors for a three-year term.

MACC Board Succession Planning & Legal Challenges Program Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Mid America Cooperative Council (MACC) will be hosting a Board Succession Planning & Legal Challenges program on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at Ag Credit, 610 W. Lytle Street., Fostoria, OH.

Topics on the program agenda include:

  1. Director Roles vs. Management Roles
  2. Steps of Strategic Planning – Visioning, Alignment
  3. Directors’ Legal Challenges
  4. Regulatory Compliance
  5. Succession Planning in the Boardroom
  6. Director Code of Conduct
  7. Case Studies

A featured program speaker will be Phil Kenkel, professor, Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University. Kenkle holds the Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair and is the editor of the Journal of Cooperatives.  The speaker for the session focusing on legal challenges will be Carolyn Eselgroth, who has practiced law for more than 20 years, assisting with governance, contractual needs, and mergers and acquisitions of agricultural cooperatives, agricultural trade associations, check-off organizations, non-profit organizations, and a variety of farm and other businesses.  Rod Kelsay, Executive Director for the Mid America Cooperative Council will review case studies and discuss succession planning.  During this event, directors will learn ways to build a strong succession plan for their cooperative.

Don’t miss out on this educational and networking opportunity for directors of all cooperative sectors.  The program on August 6 will begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at approximately 3:45 p.m.

The registration fee for MACC members is $210.00, and for nonmembers the registration fee is $365.00.  The registration fee includes lunch.  Scholarships may be available through the Ralph K. Morris Foundation.  For scholarship information, visit:  https://ralphkmorrisfoundation.org/app-guide/

To register for the Mid America Cooperative Council’s Board Succession Planning & Legal Challenges event, or for more information, please visit http://macc.coop/event-registration/?ee=114 or register by email at knowledge@macc.coop and MACC will send you an invoice.

OSU CFAES Center for Cooperatives Receives Sustainable Agriculture Grant

(May 2, 2019 – Piketon, OH)

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Center for Cooperatives has recently been recommended to receive a $3,946 grant from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) for the project, “Cooperative Student Leadership Experience Pilot.”

“The Cooperative Student Leadership Experience Pilot is an immersive program for high school students to learn about the cooperative business model, agricultural education and careers,” said Hannah Scott program manager for the Center for Cooperatives.  She explained that for this Cooperative Leadership Experience project, the Center will be coordinating a two-day educational program, visit to OSU’s CFAES, and cooperative industry tour for students enrolled in the Agriculture Business Management program at the Ohio Valley Career and Technical Center (OVCTC).

Scott, and Joy Bauman, Program Coordinator for the Center for Cooperatives, have been working with the OVCTC Agriculture Business Management students and program instructor, Luke Rhonemus to transition management of the school district’s 300-acre farm into a student-managed cooperative, providing students with the opportunity to learn about the cooperative business model while operating a working farm. “I am looking forward to taking the students on the tour this fall to visit cooperative businesses and the Ohio State campus, and help them learn about career opportunities in agriculture and in cooperatives,” said Bauman.

This grant was awarded as part of NCR-SARE’s Youth Educator Program, which supports educators who seek to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth.

The focus for each of the NCR-SARE grant programs is on research and education. Funding considerations are based on how well the applicant presents the problem being addressed, the project’s relevance to sustainable agriculture in the 12-state North Central region, and how well it aligns with NCR-SARE’s goals, among other factors specific to each grant program.

NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council (AC) members decide which projects will receive SARE funds. The AC includes a diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders in the region. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies, and nonprofits.

Since 1988, the SARE program has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. The program, part of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, funds projects and conducts outreach designed to improve agricultural systems.

CFAES Center for Cooperatives kicks off Appalachia Cooperates Initiative

A group of individuals interested in growing co-op culture in central Appalachia filled the meeting room March 22 at the West Virginia State University Economic Development Center in Charleston, WV when the Ohio State University CFAES Center for Cooperatives hosted the inaugural meeting of the Appalachia Cooperates Initiative.  The group ranged from farmers and small business owners, to attorneys, credit unions, and cooperative business development agencies.

Featured speakers included Dr. J. Todd Nesbitt, Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography at Pennsylvania’s Lock Haven University and Leslie Schaller, one of the founding members of Casa Nueva, a successful worker-owned restaurant cooperative and also the Director of Programs at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) in Athens, Ohio.  Nesbitt, who has studied and developed a course on sustainability in Appalachia, shared “A Case for Economic Distributism in West Virginia.”  Schaller shared the history and development of Casa Nueva and insights on the success of the cooperative business.

Participants also heard from Gail Patton, Executive Director and Ursulette Huntley, Program Director at Unlimited Future, Inc., a non-for-profit microenterprise development center and business incubator, who shared their experience with the development of one of West Virginia’s first non-agriculture cooperatives.

During lunchtime, attendees viewed the film, Shift Change, and learned about worker-owned co-ops not far from the Appalachian region and around the world.  “Seeing how a worker-owned co-op can empower members of a community and provide jobs and economic growth for an area helped to spark some ideas among those in attendance,” said Joy Bauman, program coordinator at the OSU CFAES Center for Cooperatives.

Daniel Eades, West Virginia University Rural Economics Extension Specialist and Michael Dougherty, West Virginia University Community Resources and Economic Development Extension Specialist led a discussion about challenges with developing businesses in Central Appalachia, ways Appalachian communities are uniquely positioned to develop businesses, and what resources and tools work well in Central Appalachia’s environment.  This activity led to much discussion and discovery of ways those interested in growing the cooperative culture in Central Appalachia can network to assist each other and share solutions.

OSU CFAES Center for Cooperatives program manager Hannah Scott spoke about resources and technical assistance offered by the Center and encouraged participants to stay connected and consider becoming involved on a regular basis with the Appalachia Cooperates Initiative group.  “Getting cooperative-minded people together to connect and learn from each other’s experiences will help them build a network that fosters cooperative business,” Scott explained.

Scott said that the CFAES Center for Cooperatives will soon be planning another activity for those interested in the Appalachia Cooperates Initiative, and that she hopes to hold quarterly events for the group over the coming year.  If you are interested in developing co-op culture in Central Appalachia, for more information, or to be added to the Appalachia Cooperates Initiative email list to be notified about upcoming events, contact Joy Bauman at 740-289-2071 ext. 111 or email bauman.67@osu.edu.

Converting small business to employee ownership

Employee ownership can be a business retention strategy in under-invested communities.  These co-ops retain jobs and anchor businesses in communities.  Read more about worker-owned co-op conversions in the Winter Issue of the Cooperative Business Journal.

Worker-ownership is one of the topics we will explore at our upcoming Appalachia Cooperates Initiative meeting on Friday, March 22 at the West Virginia State University Economic Development Center, 1506 Kanawha Blvd. West, Charleston, WV.   Registration is $25 and includes lunch.

Learn from practitioners growing co-op culture in Appalachia.

  • Dr. J. Todd Nesbitt, Lock Haven University, will share “A Case for Economic Distributism in West Virginia.”
  • Leslie Schaller, Casa Nueva, will discuss “Building a Worker-Owned Business in Central Appalachia.”
  • Ursulette Huntley and Gail Patton, Unlimited Future, will share “Catalyzing a Community Owned Business.”
  • Join discussions about growing co-ops in our region and creating the Appalachia Cooperates Initiative.
  • Learn about worker-owned co-ops across the globe with a lunchtime showing of the film Shift Change.

Register at go.osu.edu/appalachiacooperates

 

 

 

U.S. Ag Co-op Trends: Numbers declining, business volume increasing

Dr. Iryna Demko, formerly an agribusiness researcher with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE) at Ohio State University, has released a report on research she conducted while at OSU about trends of U.S. agricultural cooperatives, showing how the number of agricultural cooperatives in the U.S. has declined while cooperative business volume and number of members has increased.  Dr. Demko currently is a research associate at the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University. Dr. Demko’s full report, Trends of U.S. Agricultural Cooperatives: 1913 to 2016,” has been published by the Center for Cooperatives and is now available for viewing on the Center’s webpage.

Latest World Cooperative Monitor report available

The latest edition of the World Cooperative Monitor report on the world’s largest cooperative and mutual organizations has been released, providing rankings of the Top 300 and sector analysis based on 2016 financial data. This report has a new feature: an analysis of the Top 300 and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), taking a look at how the largest cooperative enterprises and mutual in the world are moving toward achieving the SDGs. There are many examples of cooperative development of projects to ensure fair labor, protect the environment, and more to meet the SDGs.