March Learn-in: Worker Coop Ecosystems

Tuesday – March 21th – 6:00-7:30pm

Online – Register by clicking this LINK.

In Spanish and English

When we look at the global movement to create a solidarity economy, the development of worker cooperatives are a central goal.  Much of this has to do with a focus on placing the control and benefits that a business can provide in the hands of workers and in support of communities. Data from around the world shows that on the whole cooperatives last longer that traditional business and provide significant financial and social benefits. So, why are there not more of them in Virginia?

There is a history of cooperatives in Virginia. After the end of the Civil War, Black communities turned to and created many cooperatives as part of their collective history of mutual aid, but also as a way to lower costs and minimize risks. There are also producer and consumer coops in the electric and agricultural sector.  Yet, due to the state law, worker cooperatives have significant hurdles to overcome.

Building on VASEN’s previous Learn-in’s, this event will get to the heart of how we can build a stronger ecosystem for worker coops by bring together voices from around Virginia. Together we not only want to see coops become an option, but thrive.

Event Structure

  1. Welcome and Setting Context – 5 minutes
  2. Speakers talk about their experience – 50 minutes
  3. Synthesis of themes and threads – 10 minutes
  4. Q and A about creating coops – 20 minutes
  5. Action Items – 5 minutes

Speakers will include:

Sam Gray – Sam is a coop lawyer based in Richmond that is supporting groups from around the state to get their projects off the ground.

Madre Tierra – An latina worker coop that has been organizing in Fredericksburg.

Rodney North – With an extensive history of working in the cooperative sector in NOVA and nationally, Rodney is now a cooperative and social enterprise consultant.

troya wright – troya is a field organizer with the National Black Food and Justice Alliance. Originally from Portsmouth, he is based in Richmond organizing for power and justice.

Eric Mason – Eric, along with Julius Delacruz, Eric Mason, Alan Smith, Allison Maves, and Aimee Maki, started Afterglow Coffee Cooperative in Richmond back in 2022.

Matthew Epperson – Having studied at the St. Mary’s University Coop Management Program, Matthew is the former director of the Georgia Cooperative Development Center and now works with

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