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Food cooperatives face a unique challenge in today’s political and economic climate. While the grocery industry has become ever more consolidated, corrupt, and centralized, consumers also have more choices than ever for organic, local, and natural foods that have long been staples of cooperative shelves. In a world of slim margins, cooperatives need to do everything they can to increase their loyal membership.

At the same time, we’re living through a period of rapidly growing inequality. Race and class not only define what people eat and where they reside, but their opportunities and lifespan. In cities both big and small, gentrification is displacing low and moderate income families, especially families of color. Cooperatives adhering to the International Cooperative Principles value social justice as a tenet of concern for community and creating an inclusive and diverse membership. In an increasingly segregated society, this is a challenge for any organization, but especially food cooperatives.

At the intersection of both of these concerns lies the food system: ecologically unsound, racist, and controlled by giant corporations.

The Anti-racism and Gentrification training helps co-ops to generate practices and focus that addresses all three of these issues. Through this training  co-op leaders (Board, staff, and anybody in member leader positions) will:

  • Learn how cooperatives and the solidarity economy intersect with issues of equity, economic viability, and systemic change
  • Evaluate their co-op’s policies and practices through an equity, economic viability, place-based, and systemic lens
  • Develop language and frameworks as a co-op to talk about sensitive issues within the co-op concerning race and equity
  • Determine a plan of action for moving forward the co-op to greater equity and economic strength

Logistics

The training lasts two full days (ideally running 9 to 5) and co-ops are responsible for arranging food, location, and any special needs such as childcare or interpretation and translation. 

Prior to the training at least three leaders will be asked to participate individually in a half hour private and confidential interview, and all participants will be asked to fill out a survey. This discovery period allows the trainers to customize the material to your co-op and ensure you are getting the most effective training possible. It is best if this is completed no later than a week and a half before your training is scheduled.

Participants will also be asked to fill out an evaluation after the training, and staff will again check in with the leaders from the initial interviews. CEANYC is available to provide ongoing support after trainings, and can provide a menu of options. 

Staffing:

This training is conducted by Emilie Miyauchi, Jim Johnson, and Raina Kennedy. Together they have extensive experience in food systems,  food cooperative organizing and operations, and racial and social justice. Here are their bios:

Emilie Miyauchi is a facilitator, community organizer, and educator working in the Hudson Valley and NYC regions. She comes to this work as witness to the economic, environmental, and spiritual devastation that racist and capitalist systems play out on people, communities, and the planet. In response, Emilie moves toward ways of being and building together that honor the abundance of the natural world and support the leadership of youth, women, LGBTQIA+, and people of color to create community-based models of resource sharing.

 

Emilie found her political home through work and study in community food systems. Her technical skillset and knowledge are based in over fifteen years working with social and environmental justice groups providing direct services and leadership, program, and organizational development. She has a background in nonprofit community education and program management, vegetable and dairy farm operation, estuary and watershed restoration, and visual arts. These experiences shape her evolving understanding of how individuals and organizations working within different sectors may grow in collective awareness and language to build inclusive complex movements.

Raina Kennedy wears many hats in the cooperative universe! She is an organizer for the Central Brooklyn Food Co-op, a worker-owner at Brooklyn Packers, member of the NYC NoWC Advocacy Council, and CEANYC Peer Educator. As a Peer Educator, she has co-facilitated a workshop on anti-racism and anti-oppression with several New York City food co-ops. Outside of co-op work, she enjoys cooking elaborate recipes and attempting to grow tomatoes! In May 2019, she completed a Master’s degree in Food Studies at New York University, where she focused on policy, advocacy, and community food systems. 

Jim Johnson has been working with and for food, worker-owned, and other types of co-ops for over 20 years. Jim joined his first food co-op in 1978 in Annapolis, MD, volunteering in store operations as well as serving on the steering committee. He then served the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Food Co-op in Takoma Park, MD, from 1995 thru 2005; his work there included navigating a major financial crisis, co-facilitating a contentious membership process considering the sale of animal products, researching self-directed work teams, studying and implementing Policy Governance, administering a board self-evaluation, five years serving on the board, and transitioning the co-op to a point-of-sale system. Jim also spent ten years at a DC-area worker co-op as a worker-owner and software engineer, including three years as president. Since 2009, Jim has been a full-time freelance co-op developer, specializing in food co-ops and worker co-ops. 

Costs:

All of our programs run on a sliding scale. We ask that co-ops pay according to where they fit on this tier:

$4,500 (Co-ops with gross surplus between $250,000— $1 million) 

$7,500 (Co-ops with gross surplus between $1-10 million)

$12,000 (Co-ops with gross surplus over $10 million)

Gross surplus includes other income and non-retail income, but excludes patronage, interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Co-ops paying the higher rate  are subsidizing the smaller co-ops.

Co-ops are responsible for reimbursing the travel and lodging costs. Trainers will be traveling from New York City. We are happy to work with you to minimize these costs by accepting solidarity housing, rides, etc.

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