CoFED partners with young people of color from poor and working-class backgrounds to build food and land co-ops.

This Cooperative Life Podcast Series


We are excited to bring you THIS COOPERATIVE LIFE!

THIS COOPERATIVE LIFE is a special interview series that shares the deeper, textured, community-centered stories within cooperatives. CoFED’s Farzana Serang talked to incredible Bay Area individuals building community-ownership in diverse realms - food, coffee, business training, public policy, and education.

This compilation of stories is launching TODAY via the CoFED blog as a special treat for CoFED supporters, and as a thank you from Farzana as she closes her tenure as Executive Director role. Keep an eye on our social media for special releases each day! We hope you enjoy listening to these stories as much as we enjoyed capturing them.

Our first story features an interview with Keba Konte from Red Bay Coffee, based in Oakland's Fruitvale district. Red Bay Coffee’s mission is “beautiful coffees, fair relations, and delicious living.” Keba talks about his vast experience as a food entrepreneur and how Red Bay Coffee impacts those with severe barriers to employment. This episode demonstrates just how possible and profitable real, good, change can be.

Keba’s Cooperative Life Story

Rani and Farzana

Our second story highlights Rani Croager, co-founder of Uptima Business Bootcamp, a network and multi-stakeholder educational cooperative dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with greater access to hands-on education, resources and community to create thriving businesses equipped for the “next economy.” Rani beautifully tells us her story and how it impacted her vision for the future of low-income communities and communities of color.

Rani’s Cooperative Life Story

Our third story features Hank Herrera, former President and CEO of the Center for Popular Research, Education & Policy (C-PREP) and current co-op farmer at Dig Deep Farms. Hank discusses his extensive work in food justice and building community resilience, and the importance of overcoming both the structural barriers and internal barriers of fear, alienation, and hopelessness.

Hank’s Cooperative Life Story

Our fourth conversation features Joe Brooks, Senior Fellow at PolicyLink, an organization that focuses attention on community-based solutions to drive local, state, and federal policy. Joe has been with PolicyLink since 1999, and has held many other key roles that promote economic security and well-being in black communities. Joe discusses his passion for and immense background in racial and social justice, and the path to collective empowerment.

Joe’s Cooperative Life Story

Saqib Keval joins us in our fifth story as co-founder of The People’s Kitchen, a collective whose goal is to “not only fill our stomachs but also nourish our souls, feed our minds, and fuel a movement.” Systemic racism and classism restricts food access, and in doing so, restricts the sharing of cultures, space, struggles, and solidarity. Saqib tells us about his experiences co-creating accessible, healthy, loving spaces for food, and why they are so important.

Saqib’s Cooperative Life Story

For our last story, we’re turning the tables. Our Cooperative Life host and outgoing CoFED Executive Director Farzana Serang is in the hot seat, interviewed by producer of the series, Faiza Farah. In this special final conversation, Farzana shares how her family background led her to becoming a fierce advocate for racial justice and food access. Farzana has been central to CoFED’s increased focus on equity, and she discusses the importance of recognizing race and class as we work on changing our food systems.

Farzana’s Cooperative Life Story

We hope you enjoy this special series!

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