LIBERTY SHIP CAFE (CCCD PROJECT) FEATURED IN FAST COMPANY!
Fast Company Magazine recently featured the Liberty Ship Cafe, and Richmond, CA's movement for cooperative development. The Liberty Ship Cafe, a full-service catering operation, is an incubator project of CCCD. They provided food for our 2012 CA Cooperative Conference, which was fabulous! (You can peruse their menu online, contact them for catering in Richmond, CA, and enjoy a meal from their booth at the Richmond Farmer Market.)
Check out an excerpt below, and read the full article on the Fast Company website.
Hippie Capitalism: How An Impoverished U.S. City Is Building An Economy On Co-ops
Fast Company Magazine
By Emily Badger, 05-14-2012
With sky-high unemployment, Richmond, California, is not a place where traditional business models alone can dent poverty. The city has turned to co-ops in hopes that people who might be unemployable in the traditional economy gain access to both jobs and control over their own labor. At the height of the recession, the unemployment rate in Richmond, Calif., topped out at a dismal 19%. That figure has more recently crept down about three points, an improvement that might be worth celebrating if the city didn’t still have so far to go.
City councilman Tom Butt deadpans that Richmond, a city of about 100,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area just north of Oakland, is a place with “more than the usual number of socioeconomic challenges.” A large share of the immigrant population doesn’t speak English. Crime is high--Richmond is regularly ranked among the most dangerous cities in the country--meaning local residents who’ve gone through the criminal justice system have even rougher odds of landing a job. This is not, in other words, a place where traditional business models alone can dent poverty....
..In January, the Liberty Ship Café launched in a booth at the local farmer’s market, with the help of the California Center for Cooperative Development, which is also working with the city to fulfill McLaughlin’s vision. The café today has just three worker-owners, immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico, and it does not yet provide a full-time job for any of them. Every Friday, they sell healthy sandwiches, salads, and empanadas at the farmer’s market, and the business is expanding into lunchtime catering around town. Richmond has a long way to go from this one fledgling co-op to a community that will be transformed by the idea in the way that Mondragon has been over decades.
But already the Liberty Ship Café has begun to put a tangible face on all the talk around town about co-ops. “The whole worker-owned co-op thing, it’s most beneficial for the people directly in the co-op, but there’s a trickle-out effect, and we want to talk to people about that,” says Lexi Hudson, a co-op specialist with the California Center for Cooperative Development who has been working with the café. “When one person in the community feels empowered to own their own business and make their own decisions, they’re absolutely going to be affecting everybody else in the community.”...read the rest at the on the Fast Company website.