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Your Board

Hi, I'm Your Board

Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of Directors,...
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Your Board

Sounding Board

Sounding Board
By Your Board on August 8, 2016

With national cooperative month just a couple of months away, it’s a good time to reflect upon the history of cooperatives dating back to the 18th century.

Did you know African Americans, people of color, and low-income people have benefited from the cooperative model? The voluminous book, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice by Jessica Gordon Nembhard is a nationwide comprehensive study of African American cooperatives.

The first documented African American cooperative dates back to 1780 when the African Mutual Aid Society was established in Rhode Island by the African Methodist Church. And of course, cooperatives take all forms. The Lexington Savings Bank was incorporated in Baltimore in 1895 with $10,000 raised by black leaders. Co-op City, a housing complex in Bronx, N.Y. was a cooperative effort between many races.

What is the cooperative model?

In our current national climate of polarized political discussions, economic inequality and cultural and ethnic mistrust, we can look toward the cooperative model as a means of bringing diverse people with like-minded interests together. A food cooperative is owned by the people who use its services, and benefits owners, shoppers, farmers, other vendors, and workers. A cooperative also supports the community in which it resides via non-profit organizations and sustainable practices.

The cooperative model is alive and well. I recently attended the national CCMA conference in Amherst, Mass. and learned from the African-American leaders of a co-operative opening next month in East Greensboro, NC. The new Renaissance Community Co-op is the latest example of a cooperative formed through the grass roots organizing and determination of people living in an area a larger grocer deserted years earlier. They decided it was unacceptable to drive several miles to access fresh food or to get an onion to complete a meal.

Support your local cooperatives

Cooperatives exist in the real world. Outpost’s stores are surrounded by a myriad of supermarkets presenting unprecedented shopping opportunities. Perhaps more so than any time in our 46 year history, Outpost needs the support of owners and shoppers, and all who support and benefit from the cooperative model.

Our latest store, Wellness Commons, located at 1617 W. North Ave. is bringing our legacy of healthy food choices and products to Lindsay Heights.  

We’re striving for an environment in which you can walk into any of our stores and feel welcome, and shop with like-minded owners and shoppers who vote with their dollars for healthy food choices, wellness products and a viable economy and community.

We value relationships based on trust, reciprocity and transparency in our product selection and interactions with you. We invite you to engage with us. Do you have questions about product selection? Has Outpost’s support of various community organizations through such programs as Milk Money, Community Partners and the Co-op Community Fund led you to get more involved in organizations that support causes you care about?

Consider attending a board meeting. We meet monthly and invite you to see a sound cooperative in action. Our next meetings are August 27th and September 26th. We begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are held at the Bay View store location.

Visit our website regularly to find out about store specials, events and partner programs.

We welcome your comments. Leave your thoughts below.

 

Lora Hyler

Board Director

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