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Tampabay Company in Alignment with YES! Magazine Co-ops

March 1st, 2013

Shared ownership of businesses is an emerging driving force in the New Economy. Marjorie Kelly, a fellow with the Tellus Institute and director of ownership strategy with Cutting Edge Capital consulting group, writes in her book Owning Our Future that the new model of ownership, which she calls generative ownership, is private ownership with a purpose of serving the common good. It includes different forms like cooperatives, employee owned firms, community land trusts, community banks, credit unions foundation-owned companies and many others. It is the anti-dote to what she describes as extractive ownership featuring absentee owners, short term profits, and a disconnect with the common good.
This month’s YES! Magazine is devoted to how cooperatives are leading the way to empowered workers and healthy communities. There are an amazing number of diverse examples of cooperatives in the field of banking, healthcare, utilities, manufacturing and food. “Cooperatives have a 200-year history of helping people get through hard times. And now they’re on the rise again, partly as a response to the economic meltdown, but also because they’re a way of doing business that respects workers, consumers, and the environment.” http://yesmagazine.org
Suncoast Co-op is one of Tampa’s examples of shared ownership. It is comprised of only farmers and growers. Anyone with a plot of land and willing to sell their locally grown produce or foods can be a part of the coop. A small percentage of the profits each farmer makes is taken to cover the overhead costs like running the website. Suncoast Coop has programs to create economically just and fair trade partnerships; as well as programs to help local growers develop their business by placing more products on their online cooperative marketplace.
All of their work involves local community engagement. In addition to partnering with nonprofits to develop market gardens, they do perma-blizing, a reminder of the barn-raising tradition. Ten to twenty farmers volunteer to work on another farmer’s land. When a farmer or grower attends three of these volunteer perma-blitzes then one perma-blitz is done for his or her garden.
The growers view sustainability as a lifestyle. There are no pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified foods for the consumption of people in the Suncoast area. Recycling is second nature, where growers use compost as fertilizer, reuse bags and cartons, collect rainwater, and view trash as a resource.
Suncoast Coop uses an innovative online marketplace to allow their growers to sell their products directly to customers. They also work with their self employed producers to provide them employment and help them with customer relations and customer needs.
Suncoast Coop is a viable local example of the shared ownership model that is becoming such a strong force in this New Economy nationally.

One Comment

Benjamin Buckley

August 31, 2013 7:50 am

Thank you


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