Go ahead, tell me you don’t think of Arizona when the conversation is about cooperatives.
You would be right.
The Grand Canyon State is not Wisconsin or Minnesota or Vermont.
But your podcaster – me – lives in Arizona and so I asked Nigel Forrest, a research associate at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, to update me and you about the state of cooperatives in Arizona.
Keep in mind that Arizona, in its comparative indifference to cooperatives, is akin to perhaps two thirds of the nation’s states.
And the good news is that Forest believes there is real upside potential for growth in cooperatives in Arizona.
He sees that as good, because cooperatives also bring more sustainability, more economic democracy.
Right now he pegs the number of cooperatives in Arizona at 50 to 60, mainly credit unions and the second biggest group is rural electric co-ops.
But he says there is vast potential for many new worker co-ops, especially as aging small business owners retire. They could close their business – or just maybe sell it to their employees. It’s obvious which is better, for the employees, also the community.
Forrest also hopes for a new food co-op in Phoenix, the nation’s fifth biggest city and it has none right now. But he sees real possibilities.
He also has ideas about how to grow awareness of cooperatives.
And the ideas just may work in other states.
He also reports on new platform co-ops that are surfacing in Europe and that just may find use in the US, Arizona included.
This podcast includes a reference to the Community Purchasing Alliance – podcast here.
The food co-op expert whose name I blanked on is the Food Cooperative Initiative – podcast here.