Week of Feb. 1 – Feb. 7, 2009, Vol. 4, No. 5

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective

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Openings  - Openings is a weekly feature of Co-op Circles. “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” - Leo F. Buscaglia www.buscaglia.com Send your favourite quote about celebrating co-operatives, communities and a better world for all, to News1@nbnet.nb.ca 

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This Week in Co-op Circles

·      Tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 5, at 7:30pm, in the Ecology Action Centre Board Room in Halifax, NS, you can learn more about the Farmers’ Market Investment Co-operative Ltd. In support of the proposed Halifax Seaport Farmers Market, this investment co-operative is an opportunity to support local producers, buy local food and invest in local projects. If you can not attend the meeting and would like further investment information, you may contact Richard Peisinger rpeisinger@ns.sympatico.ca

·      The Minister for Status of Women Canada has announced $300,000 in funding to help with the development of the Co-operative Enterprise Development Program for Women.  In a partnership between the Co-operative Enterprise Council and anti-poverty agency, Support to Single Parents, a Centre will be established in the Greater Moncton region to help low-income and marginalized women establish their own co-operative businesses.   The Centre, which will open in September 2009, will provide training in areas such as financial literacy, market research, business planning, marketing, promotion, board development, management, networking, and other business and co-op development topics. Participants will also be provided with a variety of supports and resources to help them develop their co-op business ideas starting with conceptualization through to preparing business plans, accessing credit and capital, start-up, and consolidation.  The Centre will use coaches and mentors from the co-operative and business community to help ensure the success of the new co-ops that become established through this program.

·      The Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick is planning an Alternative Energy Workshop for co-operators who would like to learn more about heat pumps, solar domestic hot water, wind and solar electricity, heat loss management, sustainable housing, solar heating, and other alternatives to traditional power and heating sources.   Experts in each field will provide an overview of the latest technology and lead table discussions where people can ask questions about their specific interests or needs.  The workshop will be held in Moncton in April with the date and location to soon be announced. The Council is asking people to indicate their interest so they can arrange for adequate space.  If you are interested in attending this event, please contact the Council by email at info@cecnb.ca

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Trends - You’ve got to hand it to the Brits. When the rest of the financial world (including their own) is crashing all over the place, there appears a new service for quick ‘payday type’ loans that are available easily, quickly and exclusively, via the Internet. It’s called Wonga, available at wonga.com and they offer loans of 50£ to 200£ (about $90 to $350 CDN) that must be repaid within 5 to 30 days. A neat idea, until you get into the details...where you also have to hand it to the folks who run Wonga, because it’s really easy to get to the details – they’re in a section titled ‘Transparency’ under ‘how to Wonga’ and they show their annual percentage rate (APR) for their quick and easy loans: 2334%. Yup. Over 2000 percent annually. They go on to explain you can’t really compare their APR with that of your credit cards (typically around 20% APR) because their loans are for shorter periods of time – unless you don’t pay, which kicks in more interest and fees before the defaulted loan is turned over to a collection agency… So now you know the price of convenience...2334%.– Ron Levesque

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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 this presentation, I have a new respect for other cultures, traditions. You can’t compare your situation to theirs. You must look at their situation and not think of how to make them like you but what you can do for them to make them as well off as they can be within their own culture.” – Megan, Sackville, NB

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Co-op Ed 101This week I am far away from the cold and snow in New Brunswick but I am learning something new about co-ops while here in Florida.  In Lake Wales, I toured the Natural Growers Co-op  http://www.floridasnatural.com/co-op.php I learned all about the humble beginnings of this co-op in the comfort of a cool, relaxing theater. In the museum, more mementos and artifacts tracing the rich history were on display. I sampled one of the many varieties of Florida’s Natural juices on hand as I relaxed in one of the front porch rockers. Florida’s Natural Growers is a co-operative of citrus growers who own groves in the heart of central Florida. They are one of the largest organizations of growers and producers, with a membership base of 12 grower associations. The entire co-operative is made up of more than 1,000 grower members who own more than 50,000 acres of fine citrus groves. The co-operative, first of its kind, was organized in 1933 by a group of growers to market their crops. In the first season, the cooperative produced 422,000 cases of finished products. Today, 40 million cases under the names Florida’s Natural®, Growers Pride®, Bluebird®, Texsun®, Adams®, Vintage®, and Donald Duck® are produced. Florida’s Natural Growers products are sold in almost every major US supermarket and in more than 60 countries around the world. - Maureen MacLean

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Co-op Community Bulletin Board

Remember to send news items and bulletin board items to News1@nbnet.nb.ca

§      Feb 2 – 5, 2009 Institute for Co-operative Studies, Banff, AB. Presented by the Canadian Co-operative Association, the Institute of Co-operative Studies is the only national co-operative event that contributes to the development of leadership across organizations and sectors within a co-operative and credit union context. Details, as they become available, will be posted to www.CoopsCanada.coop/meetings/instituteofcoopstudies.

§      Feb18, 2009 New Canadians and the Social Economy  Noon - 1:30 pm, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto , 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Room 12-199 For more information, contact Lisa White at secspeaker@oise.utoronto.ca, or visit our website at http://socialeconomy.utoronto.ca This event will also be webcast live on the Internet.  Please see our website for detailed instructions.

§      Feb 20, 2009 Human Resource Management in Non-Profit and Other Community Organizations with Kunle Akingbola, University of Toronto To register:  http://sec.oise.utoronto.ca/english/workshops.php or contact Lisa White at secworkshops@oise.utoronto.ca , 416-978-0022. Register soon, as space is limited.

§      Mar 20-21, 2009 Credit Union Central of Prince Edward Island Annual Meeting, Delta Prince Edward, Charlottetown, PEI

§      April 17-18, 2009 Credit Union Central of New Brunswick Annual Meeting, Delta Fredericton, Fredericton, NB

§      April 22 -23, 2009 Blueprints of the Brand Forum, Westin Hotel, Halifax, NS – designed specifically for Credit Union CEOs and General Managers, this forum offers the tools to further enhance the brand for Credit Unions.

§      April 24, 2009 League Savings and Mortgage Annual Meeting, Westin Hotel, Halifax, NS

§      April 24-25, 2009 Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia Annual Meeting, Westin Hotel, Halifax, NS

§      May 29, 2009 Annual General Meeting of the Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick, 9:00 – 12:00 at the Ramada Inn in Moncton, NB.  

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Contest of the WeekLast week’s contest: We didn’t have a winner this past week. Send your answer to this week’s contest to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca by Tuesday, at noon. All entries go into the monthly draw for a special prize. Using all of the letters A to Z, each once only, complete these words:

*e*er
**eue
**o
ma*
*p*a*e*
*erso*
***k*am*on
*ouse
*a*
*ur*
***igent

Answers: Fever, queue, zoo, mat, speaker, person, backgammon, house, wax, jury, diligent. This week’s contest: If 5 cats can catch 5 rats in 5 minutes, how many cats do you need to catch 100 rats in 100 minutes?

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Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree - Coop la maison verte is an ecologically focused co-op that not only provides lots of eco tips and products for the home, fun Valentine’s Day baskets by order for a loved one, but they also promote a number of excellent community engagement initiatives including the University of the Streets Café (which is a series of discussion forums). These forums, held in Sherbrooke, QC are intended to engage the community in important discussions around key social concerns. February’s lineup includes exploring the current economic situation, what the alternative to it might be and others. Learn more at http://www.cooplamaisonverte.com/en/node/1564  (and check out the Valentine’s baskets - under their mandate for promoting responsible consumption - at http://boutique.cooplamaisonverte.com/) - Erin Hancock

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Co-op Cooking – Here’s a side-dish which goes well with grilled chicken, fish, lamb or a vegetarian spinach salad.
Sweet and Spicy Stir-fried Mushrooms
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp each oyster sauce and honey
1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb fresh medium white and crimini mushrooms
sliced green onion, optional
Combine the soya sauce, oyster sauce, honey and red pepper flakes; set aside.
Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring constantly. until golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add oil to the wok and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes (until starting to brown). Stir in soya sauce mixture and sesame seeds. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes (until mushrooms are well coated and tender). Place in warmed serving dish. Serve sprinkled with green onions if desired.- Glenna Weagle

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Our Readers Write - Tell us what you think. Send news, events and information for the Co-op Community Bulletin Board. Suggest features you think might be beneficial to people reading Co-op Circles. We want this electronic newsletter to serve you (be sure to include your e-mail and phone number). Send your item(s), comments and suggestions to News1@nbnet.nb.ca

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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, Feb. 11, 2009