Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Cohousing and Cooperative Living

Posted by Shana Meshbesher on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 @ 12:52 PM

By Jerry McIntire

You may know co-op houses from your student days. Usually consisting of a large house withindividual rooms and shared bathrooms, kitchens, and other living facilities, they’re a great way to keep costs down and live cooperatively with like-minded people. Cohousing is a different animal, a grown-up version with private homes as well as cooperatively designed common facilities—like a large dining room and kitchen, play spaces for children, guest rooms, offices, workshops, etc. Cooperatively chosen, “green” design characterizes the buildings at the more than 140 successful cohousing communities in the United States today. Cooperative decision-making in the design and day-to-day operations of the community is another hallmark. A number of these cohousing communities are legally organized as cooperatives. Others are home owners associations, but all include shared ownership of common facilities and land, with the management responsibilities belonging to every member of the community.

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The Worker Cooperative, A Business Model

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Sep 03, 2012 @ 02:41 PM

My name is Kevin Schmidt. I am a clinical social worker/psychotherapist, at Center Point Counseling Services Cooperative, in Viroqua Wisconsin. We opened our doors in December 2011, the first mental health cooperative in the country.

We are a worker cooperative. This means that our 12 clinical and administrative staff are the member-owners of the cooperative.

During this last year of introducing our cooperative to the public, many have asked “So what is a worker cooperative?”  I realized that when we have been answering this question, we generally preface our response “Well, a worker cooperative is a business model…” and then there are a number of ways to end that sentence, to distinguish this business model from others. These distinctions were usually poignant, direct statements about powerful aspects of worker cooperatives, and cooperatives in general. One day, I decided to write down the many ways that we end this sentence, the ways that the worker cooperative is set apart from other business models:

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Tags: Cooperative, Worker Cooperative Business Model