By Jen Banks
National Co-op Month has kicked off in the USA, with Co-op IMPACT Conference in Arlington, Virginia. The theme of this year’s month-long celebration of co-operatives is “Co-ops See the Future”. And the focus of the IMPACT conference is exploring new ways co-ops can spur even greater economic growth and participation, and give people more say in their futures.
The conference is just one of a number of events held during Co-op Month, the annual celebration of co-operatives that highlights the many ways they create shared prosperity for their members and communities. Other events include a Co-op Festival and Co-op 5K race in Washington DC, and International Credit Union Day on 18 October.
There are more than 40,000 co-operatives in the USA creating stable jobs and a more sustainable economy across the country. During October, they’re being encouraged to share their vision for the future using the hashtags #CoopMonth and #SeeTheFuture – and to take advantage of Co-op Month’s online resources and ideas to hold events and promote the good work they do.
National Farmers Union president, Roger Johnson, has joined the celebrations by highlighting how co-ops have empowered farmers, ranchers and rural America for more than a century.
“Co-ops are not just an effective business model. They connect those that otherwise would not have significant buying or selling power in a marketplace,” said Mr Johnson. “Co-ops are more important than ever in rural America, given the fact that agriculture is increasingly highly concentrated on both the supply and demand sides of the equation.”
President and CEO of US sector body NCBA-Clusa, Doug O’Brien, is certain the positive impact of co-operatives will continue to grow. “With clear signs of increasing interest in the co-operative model, NCBA CLUSA sees a future where co-operatives leverage their influence and impact through the shared resources of our movement to engage, partner with and empower people from all walks of life.
“As drivers of an economy that reflects those values, we see a future in which people have more equitable access to sustainable jobs and can more broadly participate in the economy and create better world for their families, communities and future generations.”