Week of Apr. 27– May 3, 2008, Vol. 3, No. 22

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective

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Openings “The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.” - Native American Proverb http://www.changemakers.net/node/7095 Openings is a weekly feature of Co-op Circles. Send your favourite quote about celebrating co-operatives, communities and a better world for all, to News1@nbnet.nb.ca


This Week in Co-op Circles

§      Bergengren Credit Union with branches in Antigonish, St. Andrew’s and New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, held its annual meeting on April 24. The membership approved a dividend of 5 per cent on equity shares and patronage reward in the amount of $1 million for 2007. Helen MacPherson was named chair of the board of directors. Bergengren was an honourable mention recipient for the 2008 Mobius Environmental Award for Small Business of the Year. www.bergengrencu.com

§      Don Roper, CEO of Advance Savings Credit Union, NB, recently presented a cheque for $500 to Dennison Tate of Cape Enrage.  ASCU made this donation in order to help alleviate the deductible on an insurance claim that Cape Enrage needs to make as a result of a recent break-in that caused a significant amount of damage. http://www.advancesavings.ca/news_pages/community_ascu_news_capeNrage.htm Located near Fundy National Park, Cape Enrage employs approximately 20 students within ASCU’s service area annually.  It is comprised of two organizations: Cape Enrage Interpretive and Cape Enrage Adventures. Cape Enrage Interpretive is a not-for-profit organization whose revenues are applied entirely to restoration and maintenance of the historic property.

§      Customer-owners of both Halifax Civic Credit Union and Credit Union Atlantic have approved an amalgamation of their two organizations. At separate meetings held in the past week, both memberships voted strongly in favour of the amalgamation. This step represents the last required approvals needed to bring the two credit unions together. http://www.ns-credit-unions.com/default.asp?mn= The amalgamation will be effective July 1, 2008, under the Credit Union Atlantic name, with Jamie Baillie as President and CEO. The new Board of Directors will consist of Directors from each of the existing credit union Boards.

§      Congratulations to one of Canada’s Credit Union Centrals for  being recognized as a great place to work http://www.saskcentral.com/pages/news/GPTW_news_release.pdf  SaskCentral is being recognized as one of this year’s 50 Best Workplaces in Canada. SaskCentral ranked 6th on the list of 50, up from last year’s ranking of 13th. SaskCentral, which has 65 employees, is the only organization in Saskatchewan to make the top 50 list, which appears in the April 28th issue of the Globe and Mail newspaper. SaskCentral, owned and controlled by Saskatchewan’s 66 credit unions, is a democratic financial cooperative which supplies research, development, support, consulting services and financial liquidity management and acts as a trade association to the province’s credit unions. As of December 31, 2007 there were more than 524,000 credit union members in Saskatchewan. More info about Sask Central  http://www.saskcentral.com/pages/profile.html

§      The Co-operative Enterprise Council (NB) reports a successful Inaugural Annual General Meeting (April 25) with over 40 delegates. Special guests included representatives from the Canadian Co-operative Association, the Nova Scotia Co-op Council, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Co-ops, Co-operative de Developpment Regional-Acadie and more. There were presentations and discussions of a very hopeful and ambitious future for the council and co-ops in New Brunswick. The new Board of Directors is comprised of co-operators from a variety of backgrounds; Wayne Dempsey, James Hale, Mary MacDonald, Brian McCullum, Sharon Nussey, Clark Philips, Blake Reynolds, Owen Taylor and Robert Taylor. The council now has 18 members and 4 associates. Even if you were unable to attend the AGM, memberships are still available by emailing coopenterprisecouncil@gmail.com


Trends - I wasn’t around the last time Canada instituted food rations (beginning in the midst of the Second World War) but if the actions last week by a couple of US warehouse stores are any indication, we may not be far off from seeing a trend develop – well, not really. I’m referring to Costco’s and Sam’s Club’s announcements that they were limiting the amount of rice their customers could buy in response to what they said was hoarding by some customers in a market where supply was said to be short and prices rising. In reality, it was a bit of an overreaction. [The cynic in me argues the chains did it to increase sales of rice by creating additional demand where demand was normal – i.e. tell people there’s a shortage and all of a sudden, you’ve gotta have the closet full. It’s similar to the snowstorm phenomenon any grocery store manager will explain to you].Truth be told, there is no real shortage of rice, only an artificial one created by the main rice producing countries. The price is increasing (mostly because of the rising production costs related to ethanol production), but there is plenty of rice to go around. The best source I’ve found to explain what’s going on is Business Week, in an article titled “Understanding the global rice crisis”. See it here: http://www.businessweek.com/print/globalbiz/content/apr2008/gb20080428_894449.htm  Ron Levesque


Circle of Life - Spring Activities for Kids:  As the weather starts to co-operate, it is a great time to get the kids outdoors to be active and learn.  Outdoor activities are a chance to expose children to new things and for them to learn about nature.  Why not try taking a walk around the yard with your child, and point out the different flowers, trees, birds, butterflies. You are enriching your child's vocabulary as well as enjoying the outdoors!  Or, with older children you could take your camera for a walk.  Follow this link for this fun activity and more: http://fun.familyeducation.com/outdoor-games/exercise/33065.html Enjoy the outdoors! Bronwyn MacKinnon


Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree The Social Economy and Sustainability Research Network based out of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax is currently seeking a student worker for the summer to serve as the Communications Assistant. This position is to support the research network in communications, record keeping and organization activities. The position offers 35 hrs/week from May 5 - August 15, 2008 at the rate of $10/hr. You can learn more about the research network at www.msvu.ca/socialeconomyatlantic/ and although the position deadline was first set as April 25, they will be accepting applications until they find an appropriate candidate (send your resume in soon). You may contact the Project Coordinator Noreen Millar at seproject@msvu.caErin Hancock


Trading Fairly – Over the next few weeks, Co-op Circles will feature Web links to fair trade projects and products.  In 1998, Divine, the first ever Fair Trade chocolate bar aimed at the mass market was launched in the United Kingdom. Divine is the product of a co-operative which has as its members cocoa farmers from Ghana. Farmers in Ghana pooled their resources to set up Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers’ co-op, which trades its own cocoa. It empowers farmers in their efforts to gain dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of its activities and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa. For more about Divine chocolate go to: http://www.divinechocolate.com


Today I Learned Something New: International Development Through the Eyes of Students - During the year, as part of my work with the Canadian Co-operative Association, I visit schools and talk about co-operatives and communities in developing countries. I always appreciate the insights of the students, shared through comment sheets. This week from Becky, Sussex, NB: “I learned that war happens and some people are sent to camps to live with no water and they have to bring it from the village pump and that they make peanut butter by pounding nuts for a long time.”


Co-op Ed 101- More about Co-ops in Italy This week a wine co-op is born.

On April 22, 2008, a Piedmont wine coop was born.  It's called "Tre secoli" (three centuries), and it's the biggest Piedmont wine cooperative, born by the merger between Cantina Sociale di Mombaruzzo (Asti), founded in 1887, and Cantina Terre di Ricaldone (Alessandria). The new company name has been chosen by a jury made up of about forty people. Italy has a population of approximately 65 million inhabitants. The country produces about 2.078 billion gallons of wine, per year. Italians consume about 62 L of wine per person per year. Read more at http://www.italianwinews.com/2008/04/biggest-piedmont-wine-coop-is-born.htmlMaureen MacLean


Co-op Community Bulletin Board

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§      June 21-24 – 2008 Cooperative Communicators Association Institute, Portland, Maine, Hook Line & Sinker To register on-line go to www.commuicators.coop For further information, e-mail susie.bullock@communcators.coop

§      June 23-28, 2008 - What’s Working in Community Development conference, Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia The pre-conference announcement can be downloaded from: http://www.horizonscda.ca/PDF%20Files/PreConfLo.pdf  If you are submitting an abstract or presentation outline, it must be received by December 31st, 2007.  The call for abstracts/presentations can be downloaded from: http://www.horizonscda.ca/PDF%20Files/AbstractsLo.pdf


Contest of the Week - Congratulations to Kerniel Aasland, MB. The contest entry deadline each week is Tuesday, 12 noon.  Send your answer to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca.  This month’s winner is  Bob Potegal, Vancouver, BC.  A small gift is on the way. Last week’s contest: If a pound of tea has twice as much caffeine as a pound of coffee, and if a pound of tea is enough to make 160 cups of tea, and if a pound of coffee is enough to make 40 cups, and if a 12-ounce can of cola has about one-fourth the caffeine as a cup of coffee, how much caffeine does one cup of tea have compared to one cup of coffee? How much caffeine does one cup of tea have compared to a 12-ounce can of cola? Answer:  A cup of tea has one-half the caffeine that a cup of coffee has.  A cup of tea has twice as much caffeine as a 12-ounce can of cola. This week’s contest:  If a certain brand of ice cream is 99% fat-free, how many cups would I have to eat to ingest the same amount of fat that would be in 1 cup of regular ice cream?


Co-op Cooking – Here is a quick and easy, tasteful fish dish for days when you seem to be going in many directions at once and don’t have a lot of time for meal preparation.  
Busy-Day Baked Fish
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp onion soup mix
1 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 1/2 lbs fresh or frozen, thawed fish fillets
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a shallow bowl, combine sour cream and soup mix. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Cut fish into serving-sized pieces. Coat with sour cream mixture, then roll in the crumbs. Place in two greased 13 x 9-inch baking dishes. Drizzle with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 425F for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; bake 2 to 6 minutes longer (until fish flakes easily with a fork). - Glenna Weagle


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Co-op Circles is part of Rising Tide Collective’s commitment to the Co-op Principles of Co-op Education and Concern for Community. This electronic newsletter is published every week. It is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in co-operative and community development in Atlantic Canada and around the world. We will be happy to put you on our Co-op Circles mailing list. We are proud that co-operators from Canada, the U.S, England, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand are part of our Circle. To subscribe: circles1@nbnet.nb.ca or to unsubscribe: circles2@nbnet.nb.ca  Tell your friends about it. Please e-mail us with your questions, suggestions and memories at News1@nbnet.nb.ca

Thanks to the Marie Michael Library, Coady International Institute, for archiving Co-op Circles. http://www.coady.stfx.ca/library/coop_circles/index.htm 

Next Co-op Circles: Wednesday, May 7, 2008