Samamkaya

  For Samamkaya, our embracing of yoga therapy extends to more than just how we teach yoga but also to how we run our organization. Yoga Therapeutics means approaching yoga as a method, a tool, and a philosophy to heal. Running a therapeutics business encourages us to consider more than just yoga itself, but how we are going to survive economically while maintaining the integrity of an organization that prioritizes healing. Business entities are increasingly becoming the sole drivers of social progress, or social regression, depending upon the company in question. The decisions that they make can be as influential or more than government policies. Given this situation, it is imperative to our studio that we create an organization which makes a positive social impact and is legally committed to do so as a worker cooperative. Many of our teachers have been involved with or observed similarly intended mind-body wellness businesses that struggle, either because they lose sight of their own healing identity when they adopt mainstream business principles, or they fail to find a way to adequately thrive in […]

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CLI Cohort 2018

  Ali Soofi Currently pursuing his bachelors degree in Environmental Science, Ali is an aspiring ecologist and conservation researcher. With experience managing both the Black Seed Farmers Market and the Regional Environmental Council’s Mobile Farmers Market in Worcester, Massachusetts, Ali hopes to engage and encourage the community to create healthy, food secure communities. When Ali isn’t on his bicycle, pedicab or skateboard, he can be found in one of the many urban community and school gardens planting seeds and giving lessons in garden education. WooRides is an opportunity for him to not only engage with the community at large outside of the garden, but to also show the community what a fair, just, and equitable workplace can look like.       Ashleigh Eubanks Ashleigh is currently the Food Justice Organizer at NEBHDCo in Bed-Stuy for their Communities for Healthy Food Initiative, a holistic food justice program. Ashleigh has been engaged in social change work for nearly a decade and believes that food and land sovereignty are core values to all movement and organizing work. She also serves as co-chair of […]

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Snapshot: Ysanet Batista

Worker-Owner of Woke Foods Co-op Academy Teaching Assistant at Green Worker Cooperatives How did you get into this work? In 2015 I moved back to NYC after working in my home country of the Dominican Republic. I returned to NYC to work in education and was an AmeriCorps volunteer but after experiencing different challenges with the nonprofit I was placed in, I decided to leave. Some of the challenges I faced where lack of “diversity” or openness to talk about racial dynamics, not being paid enough, which affected my mental and physical health. I decided to start Woke Foods days after leaving the nonprofit as a way to make money and support my livelihood. Simultaneously, I was exploring ways to heal my mind and body with food & herbs, immersing myself in urban agriculture and food sovereignty, organizing with friends and facilitating workshops centering racial equity. Given where I was in my life I wanted to create a project or be in space that was prioritizing racial and gender equity, economic justice, and food sovereignty. A few months later, I […]

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Snapshot: Zara Serabian-Arthur

How did you get to be a Filmmaker and Worker-Owner at Meerkat Media? I moved to NYC after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 2006, and was living with my partner and a few friends. Many of us were working in the film industry, and didn’t like what we saw—the way our industry relied on the exploitation of young people willing to work for free, the gender and racial breakdown of who was behind the camera, and the way that decisions were made only by a few people at the top of hierarchy—and so we formed a media collective, where we could share resources, learn from each other, and continue to make art together in ways that aligned with our values. As we individually pursued our own careers, in film, education, and the nonprofit sector, we realized we could turn this informal structure into a more formal one, and eventually make a living this way, working together to produce meaningful films, on our own and in collaboration with mission-aligned organizations around the city. Eventually, our collective came to hold two entities: a […]

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Snapshot: Carlos Cano

Carlos Cano Program Manager of Worker Cooperatives, Urban Upbound How did you get into this work? Back in 2014, Urban Upbound began the process of developing a worker cooperative in Astoria Houses, a NYCHA development in Western Queens. I was asked to lead the project in late 2015. I had been working with another program that also served the Astoria Houses community and I had developed strong ties to it. That, in addition to my background in marketing and operations proved key as the program grew. We have launched two worker cooperatives (OnPoint Security and OSHA Solutions) and a third, Paw Partners is almost there. We are very happy and excited for them!   What does ‘solidarity economy’ mean to you? I see it as a market system in which actors’ decisions are not based solely on what is ‘best’ for themselves, usually with making/saving money as the main criteria, but are rather based on whether they create the most possible value in society. It’s a system built not around the lone individual but instead the inextricable relationship between a […]

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