Discussion Course on Cooperatives Receives Award


The Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) presented its education program award to A Discussion Course on Cooperatives in August of 2008. The Discussion Course is a collaborative effort by board members from East End Food Co-op, Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society and Weaver Street Market, as well as other co-op directors. The 80-page publication is designed to provide community members with a platform for learning about the cooperative world.

Spearheaded by the directors of East End Food Co-op (Pittsburgh, Penn.), the Discussion Course is an eight-chapter study guide of original and republished readings on cooperative history, philosophy, models, industries, success stories, global issues, future aspirations, and consumer co-op law. In our co-op and many others, a persistent question is, “Where are the education programs for our staff and membership?” The East End board led a collaborative effort to help answer that question on a national level.

What makes A Discussion Course on Cooperatives so interesting is that each group, using the same reading platform, has its own unique discussions regarding cooperative economy. The readings are meant to broaden participants’ understanding about cooperatives, but the questions invite participants to bring their own observations and creativity into the discussion.

Our experiences with the publication have been very positive, both as a discussion course guide as well as a stand-alone educational tool for individuals. The people who have taken the course here feel a much greater sense of ownership, not only of our co-op but also their community. A Discussion Course on Cooperatives is an outstanding tool for engaging the membership, and I highly recommend it as a resource to help grow your local co-op and community. Please feel free to contact me if you wish to ­obtain copies for yourself or your co-op.

Rob Baran
General Manager, East End Food Co-op
([email protected])

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