As a Student Cooperator, Here's Why I Appreciate CoFED's Curriculum
CoFED's Cooperative Growth Curriculum is an invaluable resource for student groups that have already established--or have plans to establish--a democratically-run food cooperative. As a current board member of an established student-run food cooperative, I've found that the curriculum consistently challenges me to improve both the reach of the Down to Earth Food Cooperative in Newark, DE, and our internal operations as a group.
Erica Meier at Down to Earth's primary farm
The most current example of a challenge the curriculum has inspired and helped us work through is our cooperative's effort to diversify our membership in terms of race, class, gender, and age, through revamping our bylaws, having candid conversations about these topics with our membership, and working with other groups in the Newark community.
CoFED's curriculum has helped us find ways to have difficult discussions about race, class, gender, and age in a way that is accessible to our members (and hopefully eventually to the Newark community). CoFED's advice* to "Be explicit, not exclusive" and "Focus on impact, not intent" has helped us restructure our bylaws and goals to include concrete strategies that will help us diversify our cooperative.
Heart and the Home, DTE's favorite activity from CoFED's Cooperative Growth Curriculum
In addition, the Cooperative Growth Curriculum is an excellent resource for those looking to develop or maintain a cooperative business (or for non-profits to simply to keep track of finances and fundraising efforts), and the language and tools are helpful to both business and non-business majors.
Some of Down to Earth's members during a recent CoFED site visit
The Cooperative Growth Curriculum is full of fun and thought-provoking team-building activities that have a profound impact on group dynamics and each organization's capacity to serve its community. 81/81 of our co-op members would use it again.
*Advice developed by Race Forward- materials drawn from lecture and presentation