Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Story of Stuff podcast: Workers as Owners

In this podcast, The Story of Stuff Project features Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives. Sustainability activist Annie Leonard highlights cooperatives as an alternative to the “take waste system,” providing a formula for a healthy economy and an environment that empowers individuals. Talking with Evergreen Cooperative’s Medrick Addison of Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, Michael Mckenzie of Evergreen Energy Solutions, and Mary Donnell of Green City Growers, Leonard shows how the cooperatives are transforming an economically distressed neighborhood and changing lives at the same time. 

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Blake Jones

In this edition, we interview Blake Jones, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Namasté Solar. Beginning his career in the oil industry, Jones co-founded Namasté Solar in late 2004, which later became an employee-owned cooperative in 2011. In this interview, Jones discusses what he learned in the oil and gas industry, the early stages of Namasté’s development, the future of the solar industry and the green economy, and the details of how Namasté functions as a worker-owned cooperative.

Vystar Credit Union

Vystar was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Jacksonville. Vystar is the 19th largest credit union in the nation with $4.4 billion in assets and over 405,000 members as of 2011. The credit union has over 1,100 full-time employees.

The Neighborhood Garden

Founded in 2009, the Neighborhood Garden now has more than 100 families buying produce weekly through its purchasing cooperative. The cooperative also donates bags of produce to at least three families in need every week. Employing only three people, Neighborhood Garden manages 10 pick-up locations and organizes a delivery service.

The Art Center Cooperative, Inc.

The Art Center Cooperative, Inc. was founded in 2005 and consists of a group of professional artists interested in building the arts industry in Jacksonville. Currently, the cooperative has more than 30 members and hosts over 1,500 visitors each month at their three galleries. Beyond showcasing local artists, The Art Center members volunteer their time to provide murals for public schools and other non-profit organizations, and consequently have received the 2009 Art of Caring Awards from HandsOn Jacksonville.

Alive Credit Union

Founded in 1954 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Alive Credit Union primarily serves the healthcare community as well as retail organizations. With more than 15,000 members and 37 employees, the credit union had a customer savings rate 63 percent higher than the national average as of March 2012.

The seeds of a new economy

Green City Growers Cooperative plants first crop in new worker-owned urban greenhouse

Cleveland's Plain Dealer reports on the latest business in the Evergreen Cooperatives network:

Starting next month, you could have some Cleveland winter lettuce with that sandwich.

That's when Green City Growers Cooperative, a worker-owned business, expects to harvest its first crops from one of the largest urban greenhouses in the country, a 3 1/4-acre hydroponic operation off East 55th Street in the city's Central neighborhood.

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Shift Change: Cleveland Area Premiere

December 8th, 2012
West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, Rocky River, Ohio

The documentary Shift Change, which highlights the booming worker cooperative sector in the United States, will be premiering in the Cleveland, Ohio area as part of West Shore Unitarian Universalist's Social Action Film Series on December Read more about Shift Change: Cleveland Area Premiere...