BEER, LOBSTER & SUNNY SKIES: 3 COOPERATIVES OFFER A GOOD LIVING

Black Star Brewpub, owned by the community
Black Star Brewpub, A Cooperative Owned by the Community

If yearly bonuses, choosing your boss and enjoying your job appeal to you, there is a wonderland of worker owned cooperatives that you might find of interest. Cooperatives take many forms but those owned by the workers is a growing segment of the New Economy, a movement that puts people, community and the planet first.

As someone with a long time interest in the New Economy and a videographer, who has interviewed people around the country participating in it, I am impressed with what is happening on the ground in many towns and cities. Three examples of fun, interesting, and financially sustainable worker owned cooperatives are:

Black Star Brewpub Cooperative in Austin, TX: Black Star started as an idea for a neighborhood beer bar that would be owned by the community it served. It is self-managed by the workers, who receive livable wages and excellent benefits i.e., a Line Cook earns $12 hour; health and dental benefits; IRA discounts, paid time off and leadership opportunities. Co-founder Steven Yarak publicized the idea on the internet and on neighborhood fliers. On January 14, 2006, 16 people attended a meeting in an empty lot adjacent to a friend’s house and the cooperative was born. http://bit.ly/2bwWxI1

Tenant Harbor Lobster Cooperative in Maine: Twenty lobstermen formed a cooperative to boost profits by splitting the overhead costs of running a dock and by eliminating middlemen in the lobster’s route from trap to table.  A Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) helped make members’ livelihoods sustainable by putting a working waterfront easement on the property modeled after a conservation easement, which guarantees that the land will always be used for local commercial fishing.  Recent good news for the Cooperative was Cape Seafood’s agreement to buy everything hauled by the Cooperative and to open a restaurant there on the wharf and share 50% of the profits. http://bit.ly/2bMtTRN

Ohio Cooperative Solar in Cleveland, a partner member of the Evergreen Cooperatives, is entirely worker-owned by citizens who “face barriers to employment”. It provides solar power and weatherizing techniques to customers including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University and City of Cleveland. Launched in 2009, it was profitable within its first five months in business. Evergreen Cooperatives, a national model for large scale worker owned cooperatives, also include a commercial laundry and Green City Growers. http://bit.ly/2bwWzj3

Cooperatives offer various models for workers to equitably share the profits from their skills and efforts as well as in the business decisions affecting their livelihoods and futures. The cooperatives are a bright spot on the horizon of the emerging New Economy, which is based on the wellbeing of people, communities and planet.

Three ways you can learn more:

  1. Browse the web: Resources for worker cooperatives’ support organizations and information on models and best practices. http://bit.ly/2bMwbx
  2. Read PDF: How-to Guide For Starting A Worker Co-op http://bit.ly/2bMBthh
  3. Organize Round Table: Over 100 cities are interested in Evergreen Cooperatives and hosting Round Tables of community leaders. Evergreen staff member, Jessica Bonanno is working with cities to assist them on Evergreen type strategies. Jbonanno@democracycollaborative.org

I’m always on the lookout for positive news on the New Economy.  Here’s a recent sign on the national scene of the growing importance of cooperatives to the economy.  The bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus has been formed to promote the cooperative business model as a viable market solution and policy option. Let’s make sure they actually DO SOMETHING.  Contact your senator and ask him or her to join. http://bit.ly/2bRc82Z

Jan Roberts –Social Change Agent-Creator of Sustainability Programs –VideographerFounder & President Cultural Innovations Agency; Founder Emerita Earth Charter US; Former Adjunct Professor, College of Business at University of Tampa & Author Operation Road Trip: How a Video Camera, a Bottle of Rum and a Car Renewed My Faith in the Future.  http://amzn.to/2bDQH4P @opbonappetit https://operationbonappetit.org/

Print Recipe
Fish Tacos
Servings
Ingredients
Tacos
  • 1 lb white flaky fish like mahi mahi or orata
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • 8 flour tortillas
Garnish
  • shredded white cabbage
  • Hot sauce
  • crema or sour cream
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • thinly sliced green onion
  • chopped cilantro leaves
Salsa
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 small red onion coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic coarsely choped
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 jalapeno sliced
  • 1 tbsp chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Servings
Ingredients
Tacos
  • 1 lb white flaky fish like mahi mahi or orata
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • 8 flour tortillas
Garnish
  • shredded white cabbage
  • Hot sauce
  • crema or sour cream
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • thinly sliced green onion
  • chopped cilantro leaves
Salsa
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 small red onion coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic coarsely choped
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 jalapeno sliced
  • 1 tbsp chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions
Garnish
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place fish in a medium size dish. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, ancho, jalapeno, and cilantro and pour over the fish. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the fish from the marinade place onto a hot grill, flesh side down. Grill the fish for 4 minutes on the first side and then flip for 30 seconds and remove. Let rest for 5 minutes then flake the fish with a fork.
  3. Place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 20 seconds. Divide the fish among the tortillas and garnish with any or all of the garnishes.
Pureed Tomato Salsa
  1. Preheat grill or use side burners of the grill. Heat oil in medium saucepan, add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add tomatoes, serrano and jalapeno and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Puree the mixture with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Add the hot sauce, oregano, cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay Food Network

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