Archives for cooperatives

Common Ground Radio 12/5/14

Producer/Host: Cheryl Wixson
Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Organic Food and Farming in Maine

Program Topic: Cooperatives (Co-op)

Key Discussion Points:
a) History of cooperative business models
b) Working examples of cooperative models
c) Challenges and success

Allen White, President, Island Employee Cooperative, Deere Isle, ME
Betsy Garrold, FEDCO
Jonah Fertig, Cooperative Development Institute

Political Broadcast: No

Talk of the Towns 7/25/14

Guest host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Program Topic: Employee owned Cooperatives retain local businesses and jobs

Key Discussion Points:
Background on Cooperatives from Rob and Mark
Orient listeners to variety of cooperatives (producers, consumers, employee-ownership)
There are various forms of ownership for businesses… what is different about cooperative ownership and operation? Examples at different scales?
What are key advantages of cooperative ownership… for employee/owners, for the communities in which cooperatives live?
What are some of the challenges to setting up and operating cooperatives, including financing, decision-making?
There is a long history of cooperatives… why aren’t there more of them?
What is the role of the Cooperative Development Institute and your program (Business Ownership Solutions
Introduce the story of Island Employee Cooperative and the role of various partners
Background, status of and vision for Island Employee Cooperative — Alan
Background on the three individual businesses and the employees who came together to explore the ownership option(Burnt Cove Market, V&S Variety and Pharmacy and The Galley) and their place in the communities of Stonington and Deer Isle.
Trace the path from when workers heard the owners wanted to retire, to creating Maine’s largest worker owned cooperative… what were some of the excitements and challenges?
What is the status now, what sorts of decisions have owner/employees made about the day to day operation of the businesses? What changes have been made and what do you envision for the future?
Who are the various organizations that made it all work?
What have been some of the community response/reactions?
What have you learned about owning and operating your businesses?
Looking ahead
What are some factors that tend to make employee owned cooperatives work?
How can individuals and groups support the creation of cooperatives of all sorts?
Where can listeners learn more?
What are your hopes for cooperatives and local communities in Maine?

Rob Brown, Director, Business Ownership Solutions, Cooperative Development Institute
Alan White, President Island Employee Cooperative, Deer Isle
Mark Sprackland, Executive Director, Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative by phone: 603 642 6911)
Jonah Fertig, one of the founders of Local Sprouts, employee cooperative Portland restaurant and entertainment space, by phone 967 4735

RadioActive 5/1/14

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Program Topic: International Labor Day: National Restaurant Association Lobbies Against Raise in Minimum Wage, While Member CEOs Receive Double Subsidies; Small Business Path to Worker Cooperatives

Key Discussion Points:
*We speak with the co-author of a report published last week titled, “Restaurant Industry Pay: Taxpayers Double Burden: How CEOs are Benefiting from Subsidies While Lobbying to Defeat the Minimum Wage.”
*Looking at alternatives to the current economic structure, we examine worker cooperatives and efforts being made in Maine to transition current businesses into cooperatives, including the Island Employee Cooperative in Stonington, which would include four businesses currently run by owners about to retire.

*Updates: Last month, Delmonte became the 13th retailer to sign onto the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Fair Food Program.

Yesterday, the mayor of Seattle announced an increase in the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, to be phased in over the next 7 years.


A) Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies, director of Global Economy Project

B) Rob Brown, Cooperative Development Institute, Business Ownership Solutions (BOS) program