Week of Jan 31– Feb 6, 2010, Vol. 4, No. 50

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective*

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Openings  - Openings is a weekly feature of Co-op Circles. “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” – Cesar Chavez  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/César_Chávez Send your favourite quote about celebrating co-operatives, communities and a better world for all, to circles1@nbnet.nb.ca  


This Week in Co-op Circles

§      Prince Edward Island will become the second Canadian province to establish a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF) program to encourage investment in community-based businesses, including co-operatives.  The Prince Edward Island Co-operative Council was instrumental in convincing the government to introduce this program. The concept of CEDIFs was introduced in Nova Scotia in 1999-2000. The Funds are ‘pools of capital formed through the sale of common shares to persons within a defined community.’  Since the program was established in Nova Scotia, 91 separate Funds have come to manage over $32 million in assets thanks to investments by nearly 5,000 Nova Scotians. The PEI government is developing a made-in-PEI CEDIF model based on the Nova Scotia program, which will encourage investments in rural areas.  The CEDIF program was part of PEI’s new Rural Action Plan, which was announced on January 26.  For more information, go to www.gov.pe.ca/go/ruralactionplan.

§      Hundreds of people living in co-operative housing in Halifax will soon have updated, more energy-efficient homes thanks to a $3.1 million investment by the federal and Nova Scotia governments. The North End United Housing Co-op, created by the merger of four existing housing co-ops has received $3.1 million from provincial and federal stimulus funds for capital repairs and energy-conserving modifications. The co-op was created by the merger of the  Seaview Housing Co-op, the Jim MacDonald Housing Co-op, the Anathoth Housing Co-op and the Charles Court Housing Co-op. The co-op has a total of 131 units. “This $3.1 million investment in co-operative housing by the federal and provincial governments is an excellent example of stimulus funding that works,” said Ken Elliott, President of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. “The merger of four smaller co-ops into one larger organization created the capacity and community engagement to seek and win significant funding for essential repairs and renovations.”

§      Rayanne Brennan, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic Co-operator is one of eleven Canadians in Nicaragua to learn first-hand about how co-operatives and credit unions, with the help of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), are improving the lives of people in one of Central America’s poorest nations. Participants in CCA’s study mission to Nicaragua will visit a number of agricultural, fishing and financial co-operatives to learn how member owned enterprises are creating jobs, improving livelihoods and opening up new opportunities for poor communities. The participants, who defrayed the cost of their participation in the mission, will make presentations in their communities when they return. Brennan is blogging about her experiences on the CCA website, www.coopscanada.coop

§      Co-op food stores across Atlantic Canada are urging consumers to consider donating to Haiti relief while doing their grocery shopping. Shopper can make a donation through their cashier. Donations will go to the Co-op Development Foundation of Canada.

§      The Worker Co-op Fund, Tenacity Works, is an investment fund whose purpose is to create new or expand existing worker-owned co-operatives in all regions across Canada. Tenacity Works is owned and operated by the CWCF. As a revolving loan fund, Tenacity Works usually has funds available for making loans. Funds are used to invest in worker, multi-stakeholder and shareholder co-ops across Canada. To date, Tenacity Works has approved more than 35 loans that have supported over 200 jobs. If your co-op is seeking investment capital, you can apply to the Fund. For more information visit website at www.canadianworker.coop or contact Fund Manager Peter Hough at (902) 678-0473 or peter.cwcf@xcountry.tv.  The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation recognizes Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) in the establishment of the Worker Co-op Fund.

§      Manitoba’s Northern Star Originals has launched into the global market with its website and on-line ordering capacity. Members of the worker co-op that operate Northern Star Originals are ready for increased sales.  “We’ve been providing blankets to the local community for years,” says Viola Stevenson, a founding member of the co-op.  “With our new website, we can much more easily send this unique cultural product to customers across Canada and beyond.  Sharing our culture and history with these blankets is an honour for us.” While off-site sales for Northern Star occur from time to time, the on-line capacity brings helpful tools that will facilitate the ordering experience.  “Sales to customers who can’t come down to our store to see and touch our blankets, and pick out their colours have been a challenge.  Through our website, customers can now see very clearly what they are getting and learn about the deep cultural and historic significance that these blankets represent,” says sales manager, John Loewen.  A part of indigenous culture, Star Blankets have been used to bless and honour loved ones during times of celebration and of special milestones marking ones life since before European contact.  The Northern Star Blankets, which possess remarkable precision, craftsmanship and beauty, are created in the same cultural tradition as they were hundreds of years ago.  “Inspiration for the blankets comes from the heavens and to give a Star Blanket means to bless from an eternal perspective,” shares Stevenson. If you would like to know more about Star Blankets and Northern Star’s story, please visit www.northernstar.coop, or call (204) 944-1440. 



The New Trends - People buying the ‘no brands’ over the past few years has been picking up.  As Elizabeth O’Herron remarks, “I am not loyal to any grocery store or any brand. I am loyal to savings.” A growing number of consumers like O’Herron are ditching their beloved Kellogg’s Raisin Bran and Wonder Bread for less expensive versions without the familiar packaging. Unit sales of private label goods have jumped 8 percent since 2007, while brand names have declined roughly 4 percent, according to Nielsen Co. Despite the savings and the comparable quality offered by generic brands, some consumers have gone to great lengths to hide the change from their families. “I have resorted to buying things like ketchup, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and package syrup in bulk or large containers from other vendors’ labels and reusing the containers from Heinz, Frank’s Red Hot, Kraft, and Mrs. to mask the switch,’’ said Kalixt Smith, of Wilmington. “My kids do not seem to notice the difference.’’ The question this week: Do you still buy by the ‘Brand’? I do. Well, most of the time. Your thoughts? Email us at: circles1@nbnet.nb.ca    - Steve MacDowall, Publisher of The Thursday File Subscribe. It’s FREE http://www.thursdayfile.ca   


Co-op Ed 101 – The next two weeks Co-op Ed will feature a couple of co-operatives that are features in Michael Moore’s most recent film “Capitalism: A Love Story”. These co-operatives are successfully challenging the traditional business model. Alvarado Street Bakery is located just north of San Francisco, in the rolling hills of California’s wine country. http://www.alvaradostreetbakery.com/index.html Alvarado Street Bakery’s mission is to give superior service in providing the finest quality baked goods to its valued customers nationwide by utilizing a worker owned and managed co-operative business structure and to strive to use whole grain and organic ingredients, wherever possible, to support sustainable agricultural practices and healthy living. - Maureen MacLean


This Week’s Smile - How many Labrador Retrievers does it take to change a light bulb?   1  “I’ll be glad to change the light bulb for you, but first can’t we play catch with the tennis ball, or Frisbee - and then I want to lick your face and rest my head in your lap and look up at you with my sad eyes. What, you’re changing the light bulb yourself - you didn't have to do that - but I looooove you so much for being my friend and doing that.”


Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree  - The Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto is offering 10 Diversity Scholarships of $5000 to students living in a housing co-op who will be attending a college or university in the fall of 2010. These scholarships are targeted at students who are active in promoting diversity in their community. To learn more, you may contact Angela Calderone at 416-465-8688, extension 206 or angela@coophousing.com or view the application on the website at http://www.coophousing.com/documents/2010ScholarshipApplication.pdf  -  Erin Hancock


Contest of the Week - Winner: We didn’t receive any correct answers to last week’s contest. Answer: Order: Pond Hockey Village, Canada City, Hockeyville, Eh Land, Mont Jolie, Icecastle. Location: Hockeyville This week’s contest: A sundial is a timepiece that has the fewest number of moving parts. Which timepiece has the most moving parts? Please keep those entries coming! Everyone who enters has their name placed in the contest can for the month end drawing. The Contest entry deadline each week is Tuesday, 12 noon. Send your entry to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca


Co-op Cooking - When my husband was working away from home and the children were still in school, lunch became a simple meal which often centered around a bowl of soup and dinner was served in the evening. Over the years this becomes habitual and we still share a light lunch and a hardier evening meal. This is one of the soups which are occasionally served at my table. The hint of lemon adds an interesting flavour twist.

Mushroom Soup Au Gratin

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cups sliced assorted fresh mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

6 cups chicken broth

1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground pepper

4 slices French bread, toasted

4 oz grated Swiss cheese

2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms, onions and garlic 3 to 4 minutes (until lightly browned). Add chicken broth, lemon rind, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 to 30 minutes. Ladle soup into 4 deep ovenproof bowls. Float bread on top; sprinkle with cheeses. Place under broiler until bubbly and lightly browned. Note: If desired 1/4 cup white wine may be added with the chicken stock. – Glenna Weagle


Co-op Community Bulletin Board

Remember to send news items and bulletin board items to circles1@nbnet.nb.ca.

§      Apr 15-17, 2010 – Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting

§      Apr 23-24, 2010 - Credit Union Central of New Brunswick holds its 2010 Tradeshow, being held in conjunction with it Annual General Meeting on April 23/24 in Saint John, NB

§      May 28-29, 2010 – Co-op Atlantic’s Annual General Meeting

§      June 9 – 12 – Co-op Housing Federation Annual General Meeting, London, ON

§      June 14-16, 2010 – Canadian Co-operative Association Congress 2010: Co-operation and sustainability: the way forward, The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC

§      June 23, 2010 – Nova Scotia Co-operative Council Annual General Meeting, Halifax, NS


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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 circles1@nbnet.nb.ca

Thanks to the Marie Michael Library, Coady International Institute, for archiving Co-op Circles. http://www.mystfx.ca/coady-library/coop_circles/index.htm Next Co-op Circles: Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010

Rising Tide Collective* - Erin Hancock, Brenda MacKinnon, Maureen MacLean, Glenna Weagle, Steve MacDowall