As you may know, cooperatives abide by 7 principles handed down by the Rochdale cooperative pioneers and the International Cooperative Alliance. The seven principles are Voluntary & Open Membership, Democratic Member Control, Member Economic Participation, Autonomy & Independence, Education, Training & Information, Cooperation Among Cooperatives, and Concern for Community.
This installment of Know Your Cooperative Principles covers Principle #6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Here in Riverwest, some of the co-ops have begun to work together to cross-promote and share their services with one another. For example, the Public House purchases lemons and limes and other grocery items from the Riverwest Co-op. That’s a behind-the-scenes example of principle 6. There are two more perhaps more exciting examples as well.
The Public House and the Riverwest Co-op recently reintroduced brunch. Every Saturday and Sunday from 11-2, a dedicated volunteer will deliver brunch made to order from the Riverwest Co-op to your barstool at the Riverwest Public House. This is a great example of a mutual relationship that works for everybody: The Co-op Cafe can get a little short on space, especially in the Winter months, and is always short on booze, and the Public House has plenty of afternoon seating and table space, and serves up tasty brunch beverages like our Bloody Mary and Beermosa.
And now, thanks to our partnership with People’s Books, the Public House also boasts a well-stocked Book Exchange. The main goal is to provide a way to promote literacy and thinking by allowing a free exchange of books. Constantly buying books gets expensive and libraries can only provide so much. Now the community has a place to exchange literature for fresh text. If you want to take a new book home with you, make sure you bring something to swap it with. If you’re just in the mood to casually read, feel free!
Both Brunch and the Book Exchange demonstrate small examples of the potential for inter-cooperative relationships to add value to each co-op’s services. As more co-ops pop up around the neighborhood, we expect to see these relationship grow and evolve in all kinds of ways.