Snapshot: Raina Kennedy

Organizer, Central Brooklyn Food Co-op How did you get into this work? In 2013 I was living in Flatbush, slogging my way through being underpaid and underemployed in various parts of the food industry, sad that the only way I could afford to shop or eat at some of the nicer places I worked was through employee discounts. I discovered the Flatbush Farm Share CSA and it kick-started my journey to committing myself to food justice work. Prior to actually reading anything about the Flatbush Farm Share, I’d (rightfully) assumed that community supported agriculture was the domain of well-off white people in the suburbs. But that particular CSA was built on a sliding-scale model, and suddenly I was eating all these new vegetables and developing a much sunnier outlook on life thanks to all of the nutrients flooding my system. And the bestpart was the community! It was wonderful to go pick up my veggies every week with the same people and being involved in the core group helped to ground me when so many other areas of my life […]

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CEANYC Stands for Climate Justice

Five years ago, Superstorm Sandy blasted our city, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. As a result, communities—primarily those comprised of low income New Yorkers of color—were devastated. As we saw in Sandy and Katrina, and have seen again with Irma, Maria, and Harvey, institutional support fails to keep our cities safe and rebuild the lives of those on the frontlines. Cooperatives—like housing cooperatives and community land trusts, food cooperatives, worker-owned cooperatives, community gardens, and housing cooperatives—on the other hand, have a history of immense resilience and support. It is community-owned and community-governed land and property that will provide people (us) necessary relief in the wake of disaster We know that climate change makes storms like Sandy more violent and intense, and we know that fossil fuels and an economy rooted in extraction and environmental racism are to blame. Disasters like Sandy will get worse as long as our elected officials keep supporting profit over people, whether it happens through fossil fuel extraction or luxury development on our city’s waterfront, and our most vulnerable communities will be the ones […]

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Snapshot: Rachel Isreeli

Worker Cooperative Developer at the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park Cooperative Development Program How did you first get into this work? I came into the world of cooperativism having worked primarily at the intersection of gender, labor and sexuality. Every aspect of our lives here, in the context where most of us reading this live, is controlled by gender. We are controlled by race. There are historical and creative constructions of extractive patterns, binaries, expectations, narratives that very efficiently serve the ruling class. Unlearning is a critical struggle. Through cooperative work, I hope we can unlearn the limiting stories we’ve been told about ourselves in the effort to create cultures both internal and external to the organization that challenge the sexist racist status quo. It is very hard to avoid replicating deeply embedded oppressive systems. It doesn’t always happen, but we continue learning and growing in our effort to try. What does ‘Solidarity Economy’ mean to you? A solidarity economy recognizes everyone’s humanity in the struggle to build community. On an interpersonal level, solidarity requires recognizing everyone’s needs, […]

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Disaster Relief

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Harvey, we have seen that institutional and government responses consistently fail to meet the needs of those most directly impacted by climate disaster. Cooperatives, on the other hand, have a history of providing much-needed support and infrastructure in the wake of climate disaster. The folks who make up the solidarity economy in New York City come from communities hardest hit by climate change and thus are often sites of regeneration and climate innovation. We are accustomed to listening and meeting real, rather than imposed or cultivated needs. After Hurricane Sandy hit, worker-owned cooperatives were developed to put the neighborhoods most affected back together. It is no surprise, then, that our members are moving resources into on-the-ground, grassroots-led forms of relief in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Texas. Check out where Caracol Language Coop is sending donations, support community-driven and highly localized relief efforts for Hurricane Maria and Irma, and give to cooperatives putting in immense work to uplift devastated communities in Texas.

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Policy Plans

  On September 18th, we convened with representatives from worker cooperative, housing cooperative, and low-income credit union networks to discuss cross-sectoral policy and advocacy strategy moving forward. With city support for expanding worker ownership through initiatives like the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, increased attention on housing cooperatives and community land trusts as a way to resist gentrification and climate displacement, and expanding participation in credit unions and public banks across the country, we believe it is crucial to work together to develop a cooperative platform for New York’s solidarity economy. In the past, CEANYC has supported sectoral advocacy in a variety of ways: supporting worker cooperative expansion, amplifying and participating in calls to action from: the New York City Community Garden Coalition to preserve endangered gardens,  Urban Homesteading Assistance Board on tenants rights campaigns, advocating for a community land trust on the contested Bedford-Union Armory site, and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unionsa federal push to preserve Community Development Financial Institutions,  and New Economy Project’s campaigns to protect low-income New Yorkers from predatory lending. We have also supported single issue […]

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