November 10, 2012


 On Saturday, November 10, 2012 eighty members of area co-ops met for five hours at Drexel University’s College of Medicine Building, 245 N. 15th Street, Philadelphia to mark the transition from the UN-declared International Year of Cooperatives to the cooperative decade. We used the day to pause, take stock, envision the future, set goals, and build capacity for area cooperatives and the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA). We want to connect the growth of Philadelphia area co-ops to the broader co-op movement nationally and internationally. In the next decade we want to establish the cooperative business model as the acknowledged leader in economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Attendance at the summit was diverse. There were representatives from food and other consumer co-ops including energy and financial services (credit unions), housing co-ops, worker-owned co-ops, and producer co-ops. Special plenary discussions focused on the vision and mission of PACA along with its membership structure and governance. At the end of the summit a new Steering Committee was elected and charged with moving PACA into its next phase of incorporation and bylaws, setting dues, and recruiting members—all to be done in addition to PACA’s ongoing projects: conducting an economic impact study of cooperative enterprises in the region, public policy initiatives, establishing a cooperative development loan fund, and creating a university-based center for cooperative studies and research, as well as providing technical assistance to cooperative startup efforts and expansion projects for existing co-ops.

Download a pdf of AORTA’s summary of the event here.

Download the notes from our World Cafe sessions here.