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GEO's Mission: To help build a nation- and worldwide movement for a cooperative social economy based on democratic and responsible production, conscientious consumption, and use of capital to further social and economic justice.
Updated: 12 min 19 sec ago

Halifax Estates Residents Gain Ownership of Mobile Home Park Community in Historic Conversion

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 17:26
Link:  Halifax Estates Residents Gain Ownership of Mobile Home Park Community in Historic Conversion

The residents of Halifax Estates, a mobile home park community in Halifax, Massachusetts, have been working to gain ownership over their community for the past two and a half years. Today, we are pleased to announce that they have completed their deal! Congratulations Halifax Estates!

With 430 homes, Halifax Estates has become the largest resident-owned community in the history of the ROC (Resident Owned Communities) USA network.

This is a community of people aged 55+ with a nine member board of directors, all of whom are women. They’ve worked on this deal completely as volunteers.

Read the rest on the Cooperative Development Institute blog

 

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Six easy pieces on autonomy, dignity, and meaningful work and play

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 15:45
Link: Two cheers for anarchism: Six easy pieces on autonomy, dignity, and meaningful work and play

James Scott taught us what's wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of voluntary cooperation without hierarchy, Two Cheers for Anarchism is an engaging, high-spirited, and often very funny defense of an anarchist way of seeing--one that provides a unique and powerful perspective on everything from everyday social and political interactions to mass protests and revolutions. Through a wide-ranging series of memorable anecdotes and examples, the book describes an anarchist sensibility that celebrates the local knowledge, common sense, and creativity of ordinary people. The result is a kind of handbook on constructive anarchism that challenges us to radically reconsider the value of hierarchy in public and private life, from schools and workplaces to retirement homes and government itself.

Read the rest at Libcom.org

 

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Avoiding the Exit Strategy Trap

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 16:12
Link: Avoiding the Exit Strategy Trap

One of the first questions investors ask of a company is, “What’s your Exit Strategy?”

In other words, when are you going to go public or sell your company to a larger company so I can cash out with 10 times my original investment? 

With a conventional profit-driven company, this might not be a big deal for consumers, workers, or suppliers. For companies primarily with a social mission, however, it means the end of the mission. But you can’t get that investment money without having a plan to sell out – call it the Exit Strategy Trap.

We’ve seen it over and over among companies that were once our peers in driving change in food and consumer products. (Dr. Phil Howard has put together an excellent graphic of the consolidation of the organics industry. Join us on Oct. 24 for a webinar on this topic with Dr. Howard.) Despite the rosy statements when big piles of cash are being exchanged, once the mission-driven company becomes a cog in the machine, it ceases to be an agent of change. 

How did Equal Exchange avoid this Exit Strategy trap? It’s not because we don’t get offers.

 

Read the rest on the Equal Exchange blog

 

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The No State Solution

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 16:08
Link: No State Solution: CNT Members on Catalonia, Spain, and the General Strike

In the past month, millions have taken to the streets of Spain as part of an independence movement to break with the Spanish State and form and autonomous Catalonia government. After massive police repression took place during a voting referendum, anger grew at the government crack down and it looked like the nationalist movement might become overshadowed by a broader rejection of State authority in general. In this context, anarchist groups and anarcho-syndicalist unions in Spain pushed for a general strike, while mainstream and business unions called for polite protest.

In this episode we talk about the general strike that took place in Spain earlier this month, as well as the complicated situation anarchists and anti-authoritarians find themselves in. We discuss if anarchists have a dog in the fight of secessionist movements, and how autonomous anti-capitalist politics can find a foothold in a period of rising reactionary far-Right parties. At a time when open conflict grows between Catalan and Spanish elites and there is talk of a Kurdish State being on the table, the need to articulate a non-State solution is greater than ever.

Read the rest and listen to the podcast at It's Going Down

 

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Worker co-op bill means more Rhode Islanders can own businesses

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 16:04
Link: Worker co-op bill means more Rhode Islanders can own businesses

On September 19, 2017 the Rhode Island General Assembly passed Senator Donna Nesslebush’s Senate Bill 0676 Sub A and Representative Shelby Maldonado’s House Bill H6155, “Corporations, Associations, and Partnerships.” The bill will be signed officially by Governor Raimondo on October 25, 2017 at Fuerza Laboral in Central Falls.

The bill “creates a statutory vehicle for the creation of worker owned cooperatives.” A worker owned cooperative is a business entity that is owned and controlled by the people who actually perform the work, and profit is delivered in the form of wages. Employees, rather than a sole proprietor or CEO, would make business decisions through a democratic process. US News reported, on June 2, 2017, that when worker owned cooperative legislation is signed, startup companies could file a certificate of incorporation to become a cooperative. According to the bill, worker owned cooperatives function on the principle of one person one vote.

Read the rest at RI Future

 

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Imagine a Puerto Rico Recovery Designed by Puerto Ricans

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 17:46
Link: Imagine a Puerto Rico Recovery Designed by Puerto Ricans

Farmers report that Maria destroyed almost all of this season’s crops while contaminating much of the soil, providing yet another opportunity to reimagine a system that was broken before the storm. Today, far too much of Puerto Rico’s fertile land goes uncultivated, leading islanders to import roughly 80 percent of their food. Before the hurricanes, there was a growing movement to break this cycle by reviving local agriculture through farming methods, such as “agroecology,” that draw on both indigenous knowledge and modern technology (and include the added bonus of carbon sequestration).

Farmers’ groups are now calling for the proliferation of community-controlled agricultural cooperatives that would grow food for local consumption. Like the renewable energy micro-grids, it’s a model that is far less vulnerable to supply-chain shocks like hurricanes — and it has the additional benefit of generating local wealth and increasing self-sufficiency.

As with the solar-powered generators, Puerto Rico’s farmers aren’t waiting for the emergency to subside before beginning this transition. On the contrary, groups like Boricuá Organization for Ecological Agriculture have “agroecology brigades” traveling from community to community to deliver seeds and soil so that residents can begin planting crops immediately. Katia Avilés-Vázquez, one of Boricuá’s farmers, said of a recent brigade: “Today I saw the Puerto Rico that I dream being born. This week I worked with those who are giving it birth.”

Read the rest at The Intercept

 

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What co-ops can teach you about rural life

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 17:36
Link: What co-ops can teach you about rural life

In rural and remote western Canada, working together is necessary. Without the support of neighbours, family and friends, much of the development created, maintained and developing in rural and remote areas simply wouldn’t and couldn’t take place.

Most of the time this “working together” is not formal nor is it incorporated into a legal business entity, like a co-op. It’s simply neighbours working together to get crops off the field, roads cleared of snow drifts, farm machinery fixed or community buildings – like churches, rinks and schools – built.

When farmers and rural community leaders need to create capacity to build infrastructure or formally organize to compete in larger markets, the co-op model is often a natural fit

Read the rest at Co-operatives First

 

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March with the Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC / Marcha para Sandy5 con el Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 17:57
Link: March with the Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC (CEANYC)

Saturday October 28

Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn 

172 Cadman Plaza East

10:45 AM

Dear Friend, 

It has been 5 years since Sandy. Where's the bold climate action we need?

Join us on Saturday October 28th at Cadman Plaza to march for progressive climate action and remind New York City that cooperatives and solidarity economy enterprises are crucial to a just rebuilding and resilient city! March with other CEANYC members—NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative, Sunset Scholars, Golden Steps Elder Care, Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative, Q Garden, the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, and more—to uplift the power, leadership, and strength we have as leaders in democratic community-controlled enterprise. We are the future!

We welcome everyone to join in. Bring kids, friends, family, co-op members and staff, and your neighbors to march under the cooperative banner. 

Sábado 28 de octubre
Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

172 Cadman Plaza East
10:45 AM

Hola Amigos/as, 

Hace 5 años desde Sandy. ¿Dónde esta la acción que necesitamos sobre el medioambiente?

¡Nos junta Sábado el 28 de octubre en Cadman Plaza para marchar para acción progresiva sobre la clima y demostrar a la Ciudad de Nueva York que cooperativas y grupos de la eocnomía solidaria son necesario para redesarollar una ciudad fuerte! Marcha con otros miembros del CEANYC—NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative, Sunset Scholars, Golden Steps Elder Care, Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative, Q Garden, el Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, y mas—para amplificar el poder, el liderazgo, y la fortaleza que tenemos como líderes en grupos democráticas y dirigida por la comunidad. ¡Nosotros somos la futura!

Todos son bienvenidos. Traiga sus hijos/as, amigos/as, familias, miembros y empleados de su cooperativa, y sus vecinos para marchar abajo de la bandera cooperativa.

Read the rest / leer más aquí

 

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Building Innovative Networks for Reimagining Democracy

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 17:51
Link: Building Innovative Networks for Reimagining Democracy

We wrapped up the third webinar in our first-ever Summer Implementation Institute with Kenneth Tang from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and our West Coast Project Manager, Francesco Tena.

After sharing an overview of some of APEN’s work, Kenneth described a couple of the key roles APEN led during Oakland’s first PB process. APEN’s leadership with outreach and supporting community members at assemblies throughout this first year of PB in Oakland was crucial to including and empowering a diverse makeup of residents in PB.

Francesco then offered some key tactics and strategies Boston’s Youth Lead the Change (YLC) has used during idea collection to meet young people where they’re at and to communicate in personalized and engaging ways. He posed the question of quantity versus quality during idea collection and described how YLC responded to the notion that general questions receive general answers.

Read the rest at the Participatory Budgeting Project

 

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“State of the Co-op Economy” report counts 40,000 co-ops in U.S.

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 19:51
Link: New “State of the Co-op Economy” report counts 40,000 co-ops in U.S.

In recent years, NCBA CLUSA has estimated that there are about 40,000 cooperative businesses within the U.S. Now, new research from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Cooperatives (UWCC) has validated that number.

In a presentation at this month’s Co-op IMPACT Conference and a companion piece headlining the Fall 2017 issue of the Cooperative Business Journal, Brent Hueth unpacks the center’s foundational work to develop the data infrastructure necessary to measure the cooperative economy in a way that enables ongoing reporting and analysis.

While an economist’s perspective on cooperative impact doesn’t necessarily tell the complete co-op story, a national cooperative census is integral to communicating effectively about co-ops in the public policy space, said Hueth, who directs the Center for Cooperatives and is spearheading its work to measure the cooperative economy in partnership with NCBA CLUSA and its Council of Cooperative Economists.

Read the rest at NCBA CLUSA

 

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Join the Annual Economic Census for Worker Co-ops and Democratic Workplaces

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 16:02
Link: Join the Annual Economic Census for Worker Coops and Democratic Workplaces

 

Together, let’s show off the worker cooperative movement!

The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Democracy At Work Institute invites you to participate in our annual census to study the economic and social benefits of worker cooperatives. This is an opportunity to contribute to a major, ongoing research that will not only help shape the future for worker cooperatives in the US, it will also help us to show off just the strong, meaningful, and rapid growth of our sector. When we know more about how our individual workplaces compare to each other and to traditional firms, it allows us share our successes and support each other  

TAKE THE SURVEY

https://usworker.coop/2017-economic-coop-census/

All reporting of results will remain absolutely confidential ando single business will be identifiable in the census results, so no need to worry. If you have any questions about the census and the information we are gathering, you can reach out to Ana Martina to ana@usworker.coop or Tim Palmer to tpalmer@institute.coop

Demostremos juntxs la fuerza del movimiento cooperativista!

La Federación de Cooperativas de Trabajadores de los Estados  Unidos y el Instituto de Democracia en el trabajo les invita a participar en nuestro estudio económico y de beneficios sociales el Censo Anual de Cooperativas de Trabajadores y Espacios de Trabajo Democráticos. Esta es una oportunidad para contribuir a una continua e importante investigación que no solamente ayudará a contribuir a moldear el futuro de las cooperativas de trabajadores en los EU,  sino que también nos ayuda a demostrar la fuerza, relevancia, y crecimiento acelerado de nuestro sector. El conocer más de las características individuales de cada lugar de trabajo en comparación con otro, nos permite compartir nuestros  logros y apoyarnos los unxs a lxs otrxs.  

PARTICIPA EN EL CENSO

https://usworker.coop/2017-economic-coop-census/

Todos los resultados se mantendrán absolutamente confidenciales y ningún lugar de trabajo será identificable en los resultados del censo, no tienen de qué preocuparse. Si tienen preguntas sobre el censo y sobre la información que estamos recolectando,  pueden comunicarse directamente con Ana Martina al correo ana@usworker.coop o con Tim Palmer al correo tpalmer@institute.coop

 

Read more at USFWC / Lee mas en USFWC

 

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Saki Hall, from Cooperation Jackson on the Intersection of Gender and Economics

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 16:55
Link: Jackson Rising: Saki Hall, from Cooperation Jackson on the Intersection of Gender and Economics

The following...is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Jackson Rising: the Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi...

Hall: ... From my childhood to now, I see the creativity of everyday working people and their organic practice of solidarity, especially women of color, immigrant women, single women, the women I grew up with, including my mother.  So we have a responsibility to A) recognize and value that, and B) tap into the creativity and practices that already exist to strengthen and expand it. And connect it to a movement for transformative liberation.

I think a lot of people have a similar experience like I’m describing. So many of us have these roots that have been passed down in most ways informally. Black people would not have survived the brutality of chattel slavery and Jim Crow apartheid without practicing solidarity and cooperation in organized formal ways. So it is that sharing, caring and cooperation from the past with the ways we continue to do it now to survive that we want to very intentionally tap into and make it systematic with formal institutions like time banks, skill shares, bartering and have a dynamic solidarity economy.

...

Chimurenga: How do Black feminist politics and the struggle for Black women’s liberation connect with the work of Cooperation Jackson and the effort to build the solidarity economy?

Hall: So growing up in the ‘hood, Black, a child of an immigrant, in a diverse multi-national, working-class neighborhood, I formed a race and class analysis early on; my gender analysis did not get fully shaped until later.

For me, women have to be at the center of our efforts to build a solidarity economy. So when I talk about that organic solidarity I grew up with, the informal ways oppressed people around the world live and work cooperatively, even the so-called informal economy, women are at the center of that.

Read the rest at Atlanta Black Star

Order your copy of Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi from Daraja Press.

 

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The Left at the Crossroads

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 16:43
Link:  The Left at the Crossroads

We are living in a time of a crisis of capitalism. The neoliberal mantra of ‘leave everything to the market’ is beginning to ring hollow, even among the elites. As they gather in Davos this week they are confronted by a profitability problem of the world economy that can be divided into three main parts.

Firstly, there is the problem of manufacturing overcapacity. Most simply, there are too many goods and not enough customers. In the thirty year period after the Second World War the US economy was the world’s engine and the US became the hegemonic power. It’s confrontation with the Soviet Bloc helped to build up the military/industrial complex that drove the economy to unseen heights. Ironically the Vietnam War contributed to a weakening of the US engine, and that along with the oil shocks and subsequent stagflation necessitated a change from the post-war template. The financialization of the economy revved the engine again but without really addressing the underlying weaknesses.

Secondly, as globalization became the watchword and more and more manufacturing left the core countries (the triad of the US/Canada, Europe and Japan [with Germany being a special case]), a labor surplus developed not unrelated to the manufacturing overcapacity previously mentioned. As more people were driven out of agriculture and metropolises became more and more gargantuan and the informal economy grew there was less need for traditional labor in what has been characterized as the formal economy. The rise of automation is contributing to this situation: the concept of a guaranteed basic income (or GBI) has now entered the discussion not only among those who count themselves as progressives but has also been taken up by the elites as a remedy for a sick economy, a potential tactic for reflation of the economy.

Thirdly, debt limits have come into play. Household debt in the core countries has risen exponentially over the last forty years. In the US, as we have seen the entrance by more women into the formal workplace largely due to the inability of the single wage earner to support a family, the tactics for increasing consumption have relied on placing a debt burden on the family. Credit cards were given out like candy at Halloween; people were urged to purchase homes and then take out first, second and even third mortgages to support an aggressive consumerist lifestyle that was not only fiscally unsustainable but also ecologically unsustainable. Add to that a cohort of the young entering the economy with mounds of student debt and the table has been set for disruption on a massive scale.

In short, it is hard to see how there can be sustainable long-term growth under capitalism: we are living in a deflationary period of what economists call “secular stagnation”.
It is important to understand this in order to make sense of the political universe we inhabit and to devise goals to improve our lives and to create the tactics and strategies to achieve our goals.

Read the rest at The Center Global Justice

 

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Big Green and Environmental Justice Nonprofits Try to Align

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 16:30
Link: Big Green and Environmental Justice Nonprofits Try to Align

Environmental justice leaders strongly felt that a lack of movement alignment contributed to Waxman-Markey’s failure, which informed their response to the Clean Power Plan, conceived as an EPA rule after the inability to pass legislation at the federal level. These leaders understood the rule’s historic significance and appreciated its focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy, but they also understood, as members of frontline communities themselves, that moving the implementation of cap-and-trade to the state level meant that their communities would likely continue to bear the brunt of these tradeoffs—which were likely to increase with the new rule.

Quickly, they moved to involve themselves in the rulemaking process. They informed then–EPA Director Gina McCarthy of their concern that the CPP did not require states to address equity or ensure a community engagement process and offered concrete equity upgrades to the rule. Further, they used the recommendation development process to educate and engage environmental justice communities across the United States. Environmental justice leaders also hosted conversations “aimed at encouraging green NGOs that were receptive to incorporate their recommendations…in their comments to the EPA.”

...

These leaders still oppose the Plan’s market-based mechanisms, which the green NGOs still support, albeit with environmental justice upgrades. Nevertheless, the alignment achieved through relationship-building has continued and remains a solid foundation for future work.

Read the rest at Nonprofit Quarterly

 

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Cooperatives Responsible for Almost 10% of Global Employment

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 15:10
Link: Cooperatives are responsible for almost 10% of world employment, new study shows

CICOPA, the international organisation of industrial and service cooperatives, published today its second global report on “Cooperatives and Employment” [PDF]. Based on data from 156 countries, the updated estimate shows that employment in or within the scope of cooperatives concerns at least 279.4 million people across the globe, in other words 9.46% of the world’s employed population.

For Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of CICOPA:

Employment is one of the most important contributions made by cooperatives throughout the world. This report shows that people involved in cooperatives constitute a sufficiently high percentage to be considered as a major actor in the United Nations “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, as well as in the worldwide debate on the “Future of Work” launched by the International Labour Organization. In addition, the intent of the study is to improve the methodology and the quality level of cooperative statistics. This is particularly timely, as the next International Congress of Labour Statisticians will take place in 2018. The public authorities and the cooperative movement itself should pay particular attention to this forthcoming event.”

Read the rest at CICOPA

 

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Micky Metts at Co-op DiscoTech

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:21
Link: Co-op DiscoTech May 2016: Speaker Micky Metts

A featured speaker from the May 2016 Disco Tech put on by MIT and the Engagement Lab.

Micky Metts is a member of Agaric, a worker owned cooperative of web developers.
In her talk Micky unpacks concepts of decolonization of the self, and of self care in collaborative space.

Co-op DiscoTech May 2016: Speaker Micky Metts from Engagement Lab on Vimeo.

 

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Jeremy Corbyn suggests 'gig economy' should be replaced by cooperatives

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 18:05
Link: Jeremy Corbyn suggests 'gig economy' should be replaced by cooperatives

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that 'gig economy' contracts should be replaced by cooperatives...

Mr Corbyn suggested "gig economy" firms like ride-hailing service Uber or food delivery firm Deliveroo could be replaced by co-operatives, in which drivers collectively set pay and conditions and share or reinvest the profits from their work.

He vowed that a Labour Government would promote cooperative groups with the aim of doubling the size of the sector.

Read the rest at ITV News

 

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Women and the Alternative Economy in Tunisia

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:55
Link:  Women and alternative economy: Social and solidarity economy as a case in point

Economic and social conditions in the Arab region were  affected by a number of major changes that took place in the second half of the 20th century. These include adopting market economy in the 1970s, the financial crises that hit several countries in the late 1980s, and the structural reform programs brought about by international financial institutions. While those programs were initially seen as the way out of the crises caused by the liberalization of the market, they proved their inability to overcome the numerous problems triggered by the expansion of the capitalist system especially poverty and unemployment and gaps between classes started widening even more. As development failed to materialize and living standards deteriorated, social justice became almost nonexistent, which was one of the main reasons for the uprisings that erupted in different parts of the Arab region.

 

While disenfranchised citizens in general bore the brunt of such crisis, women were particularly affected owning to their vulnerable status and to the fact they are doubly marginalized in the Arab region. Women’s financial burden exceeds that of men on a number of levels. Women constitute a large percentage of wage and non-wage workers across the Arab region and contribute largely to both the formal and informal sectors in order to bridge the gap between the income of the family and the continuous price hikes. Women are also the first to suffer from the diminishing state role in public services such as healthcare and education since they are traditionally responsibly for the upbringing of their children and for the general survival of the family.

 

This paper will first tackle the general economic and historical framework of alternative economy. The second part will examine social and solidarity economy as a form of alternative economy then will look into experiences on the ground and the role of trade unions and rights organizations in planning alternative solutions and drafting laws and legislations that support them with special emphasis on the case of Tunisia. The third part will tackle women empowerment within social and solidarity economy and the way this type of economy provides women with security and independence. The last part will discuss the role the state can play in order to support social and solidarity economy in general and women’s involvement in particular.

Read the rest at Arab Forum for Alternatives

 

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Solidarity and the Art of Sustainable Lobster Fishing

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 16:51
Link: Solidarity and the Art of Sustainable Lobster Fishing - Hakai Magazine

In Punta Allen, Mexico, a lobster fishing cooperative supports the community and the environment.
Perched aside the sparkling Caribbean Sea, Ascension Bay in Punta Allen, Mexico, is the site of one of the most successful small-scale fisheries in the world. Punta Allen owes its existence to 49 spiny lobster fishermen who established the village in 1969, mainly to focus on a sustainable fishery. The co-op grew. Today, out of a population of about 550 in Punta Allen, 150 fishermen work the bay under a set of rules that ensure they never overharvest. Informally, they are generous with each other when times are tough.

Solidarity and the Art of Sustainable Lobster Fishing - Hakai Magazine from Steve De Neef on Vimeo.

 

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