What is a Cooperative?
A cooperative or enterprise group can be illustrated as a tree.
First, it starts with a seed. This seed is an idea.
As the seed grows, it will first develop roots, then a trunk, and then leaves. It searches for water and nutrients which represents an analysis of needs, available resources, products, marketing, and so on.
The tree will need a place to grow to its full size. This represents the right place, good planning, structure, and vision for the future, providing community support, training, financing, and transportation.
When the tree is fully established, it will be healthy, with a strong root system, a strong trunk, many branches and leaves, and it will produce lots of flowers, fruits, and new seeds which will grow into new trees.
In other words, if a tree is a metaphor for a cooperative:
- The roots are the resource base. These resources could be land, labour, natural resources, skills, equipment, buildings, money, or connections with NGOs, the government, and support groups.
- The trunk is the management structure. It enables efficient flow from resources to projects, and must be strong and supporting. Management decides which projects (branches) to support.
- The branches are the different projects. Many smaller projects are better and more sustainable than only one big project. Diversity is important.
- The leaves are the people responsible for these projects. They work together to ensure the projects are successful, because without people, the cooperative is like a tree without leaves, it cannot live or grow.
- The fruit is what comes out of the projects. It must be harvested, stored, marketed, and sold so that the projects can make money for members of the cooperative in a sustainable manner.
- The seeds are new cooperatives or businesses which grow from the first tree.
Many trees growing together is better than only one tree growing alone. They will support and shelter each other from storms, strong winds, and the hot sun, and provide nutrients (resources) for each other, while providing a habitat for animals and birds. It is the same with cooperatives and community businesses.
Why create the Transition NDG Cooperative?
To co-create and support the emerging community economy, based on sharing and cooperation.
Coopérative de solidarité Transition NDG was created in October 2014 with the goal of continuing our transition projects, encouraging new ones, and mobilizing and organizing local skills and resources for the benefit of the community.
The Coop exists to create a multitude of transition projects, workshops & events, try out new economic models of exchange and to become a Hub for the broader Transition community.
Cooperatives are organized, managed and run by the members themselves to undertake activities that will benefit the whole of the community. This grassroots movement, stemming from permaculture, was created with the founding principles of people care, earth care and fair share. It is understood that every individual member commits to these founding principles along with those of participative democracy and working together for the collective benefit.
Creating a cooperative assists us in developing this collective vision while helping us subsidize our current workshops, films, coordinators and events, insuring that we continue our activities.
The purpose of the Transition NDG Solidarity Cooperative is to mobilize and organize local skills and resources for the benefit of the community.
- To increase the community’s capacity for resilience
- To link the local ECOnomy with local ECOsystems
- To facilitate local community economic development
- To increase local self-reliance, ownership & advocacy
- To improve the quality of life & health of the community
- To learn new skills and build relationships with friends & neighbours
- To support local & regional organic food sheds (urban/rural link)
- To increase and support ‘Incredible Edibles’ type of projects
Our long-term vision is to own a collective space shared by members so we may secure a land trust, removing it from the private and/or corporate real-estate market with its drive for profit, and placing it in the hands of those people with a drive for the people to thrive!
10% of all our funds will be put aside for this common dream to be realized.