Jackson Rising conference brings together social justice and cooperative activists
While the words “co-op” and “civil rights” do not commonly appear in the same sentence, with more than 300 cooperative and social justice activists gathered in Jackson, Mississippi, last weekend, the question was hard to avoid.
Operating out of Durham’s Bull City Cool food hub, Piedmont Wholesale Flowers is a cooperative of local flower farmers who supply a reliable source of high quality seasonal flowers and foliage to area wholesale buyers. The cooperative currently includes nine small farms located in central North Carolina.
Opened in 2015, the Durham Co-op Market is a grocery that aims to return as much revenue as possible to the community by supporting local farms, selling locally-made products, and supporting local jobs. The cooperative employs 60 people, over half of whom live within a mile of the store. To help ensure affordability, the co-op offers people who qualify for SNAP benefits a discounted membership and ten percent off on all purchases.
Many anchor institutions are also major landowners in their communities, and many are already engaged in housing programs such as employer-assisted housing. Anchor institutions can and should employ CLTs to maximize the impact of their long-term investments in housing for their workforce, and utilize and support CLTs to help build more inclusive communities around their institutions more generally.
Anchor collaboratives are stronger and can accomplish goals that once seemed out of reach by combining efforts and resources. However, forming an anchor collaboration isn’t automatic; it takes effort and time to get institutions to see their common interests and potential alignment. The article discusses some ways it can work.