As rural communities grapple with plans for economic recovery in the Covid-era, one solution is popping up frequently—co-ops. Cooperatives are a proven model for lifting up disadvantaged and underserved rural communities and yet they face significant barriers in many parts of the country. For rural communities, the cooperative approach just makes sense. “A key strength of the model is that it enables people with limited resources to pool their capital, their shared skills, and economic activity…to build a business to meet their own needs and goals,” explained Erbin Crowell, chair of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) and executive director for the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), a co-operative federation of food co-ops across New England and New York State.
In a new article for Daily Yonder, author Caroline Tremblay explores the importance of cooperatives to rural communities across the United States and how cooperative development is the key to helping communities weather future crises.