Rodney North, Cooperative Consultant and member of the DC Cooperative Stakeholders Group, discusses a mapping project of Cooperatives in the DMV, resources for cooperatives, and priorities of the DC Stakeholders Group.
Rodney North has spent more than two decades in co-ops, helping co-ops, or advocating for the co-op model, and usually was doing all three at the same time. Today Rodney is consultant to cooperatives, and an active member of the DC Cooperative Stakeholders Group. This is a group of local people and institutions who have been meeting for 2 1/2 years, to explore ways to strengthen and support co-ops in the city. The city is supporting this effort because business cooperatives are one thread in the city’s overall economic development strategy.
Before returning to the DC area in 2015 Rodney spent 20 years as part of Equal Exchange – one of the nation’s largest, most successful, and influential worker-owned cooperatives. You may know Equal Exchange for its brand of organic Fair Trade coffee, chocolate or other foods. But it is also a $65 million dollar enterprise 100% owned and controlled by the 150 men and women who work there. Rodney held many roles there: Vice chair of the board of directors, worker-owner, staff trainer and other leadership positions.