Reflections

Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:43

By Patrice Lockert Anthony

Patrice2012 is out, and 2013 is in. As this new year begins, what are some of our lessons? Reflections are funny things. Necessarily, they exist within the parameters of 20/20 vision. How do we make better, wiser, more thoughtful decisions without the (debatable) gift of prescience? Upon reflection, what is our measure for this year just passed?

We are believers in the cooperative movement, but what does that mean? Are we a community, or an exclusive enclave? Do we understand the world around us and how it operates (as well as how we operate within it)? Who are we within the cooperative construct? Does being in the movement alter who we are, or are we in the movement because we were different beings to begin? Perhaps both cases are true. I don't suppose it's really important to know which, or in which order it happened. Of more import is our measure now.

What is our measure? Do we believe in the cooperative principles, or is it just a cool thing to do, or even just a convenience for our families? Do we believe in it for ourselves, but don't really care whether others are on board? If we do care, do our lives (our daily doings) reflect this care? If necessary, how do we decide to do things differently? What is our process for making things happen in our lives? What operates as our driving force? How might that driving force effect change in the rest of our lives, whether it be a new health paradigm, or how we treat others?

The place where our cooperative hearts meet our lived lives is where our measure for this past year is to be taken. It isn't about pass or fail, so much as it is about whom we've chosen to be, from the inside, out. Are we satisfied with that measure? As we greet another year, our opportunities are renewed, and even expanded. We can take time to teach someone to cook using whole foods. We can donate to Loaves and Fishes, or a similar program, in order to better enable them to provide more whole grains, fresh produce, etc., to the people they serve. We could take our children to visit or help out at a food bank or homeless shelter.

Enriching our children's community and world perspectives is a great way to take measure of a lived life. We can also choose to be kinder, from our thoughts to our actions. I'm not sure those can be considered kind who do or say the right thing, but think the ugly thing. Representing the cooperative principles requires more than purchasing our food at a co-op. Living the cooperative principles is good, clean food, though. Food prepared in ways that leave it whole, and nurturing to body and soul. Water, untainted by fracking's damage. It is also friendships that are true, and fulfill us. Families that are healthy and happy.

Read more: Reflections

Celebrate Co-ops!

Thursday, 01 November 2012 13:58

IYC-CubeOnlyCooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.

— United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

By Kristie Snyder,

GreenLeaf Editor

One benefit of GreenStar membership is that you can see the results of supporting the Co-op right in your own community — in the flourishing of local farms, the growing network of food justice initiatives in the area, the happy employees in the stores, and myriad other ways. But what about other co-ops in other towns? Or other countries? What's the effect when you add up all of that community-building, support for sustainability and social responsibility, and cooperation?

The answer is impressive. According to the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), the US is home to approximately 30,000 co-ops, generating $500 billion in total revenue, $25 billion in wages and benefits, and nearly 1 million jobs. Then there are the less measurable effects, like member benefits such as member refunds, discounts, and dividends, and the investments that co-ops make in their local communities. Around the world, according to the International Cooperative Association, nearly one billion people are cooperative owners, and nearly 100 million are employed by co-ops. The world's largest 300 cooperatives generated revenues of $1.6 trillion in 2011 — comparable to the GDP of Spain, the world's ninth largest economy. That's a lot of economic power.

Read more: Celebrate Co-ops!

 

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  • By Kristie Snyder,
    
GreenLeaf Editor

    tolkensRemember back when GreenStar gave you a nickel for each reusable bag that you brought from home to use at the store? That concept is back... with a twist. Beginning April 11, for every bag that a shopper brings to reuse at the registers, he or she will be rewarded with not a nickel back, but the ability to donate that nickel to a local community organization.

    Of course, if you don't remembe...

    Read more...
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