International Year of Cooperatives is intended to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of cooperative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The Year will also highlight the strengths of the cooperative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development. From Argentina to Zambia, the 1.4 million co-operatives across the globe will be celebrating and showing how they build a better world. (from the UN website)
On October 31 of last year, the United Nations General Assembly launched the International Year of Cooperatives. Cooperatives are businesses that are owned and managed by their members. In southern Oregon, there are several cooperatives that you might have noticed: Rogue Federal Credit Union (RFCU), the Grange Coop, Ashland Food Coop, and the Medford Food Coop. Recently, Bill Meyer of KMED, interviewed managers of those coops on RFCU’s Living Local Blog (hosted by Gene Pelham). You can link to that interview here. Two things that I learned from that interview are that those four cooperatives provide jobs for more than 600 people in southern Oregon and they have combined gross sales of $113 million.
Tonight my husband, who manages the Medford Food Coop, was at a coop meeting. I thought I would surprise him and his team with dessert. Shortly after their meeting began, I walked in with a Chocolate Pecan Pie (still warm from the oven) to help them keep up their strength for the tasks at hand.
As I drove home, the aroma of that pie was still present and smelled so delicious, it’s a wonder I was able to give it away at all!
Today I was thinking about working in my yard. While I am not much of a gardener, I do try to take care of the area that we have. I’ve dug up my share of weeds, planted a few vegetables, mowed, mulched, and tended to a compost bin. And at each juncture, I have relied on the advice from the staff at the Ashland Grange Co-op. Immediately I knew that I would bring a pie to these fine folks.
Growing up, I do not remember anything like the grange and so I was really pleased when we moved to Ashland to find a place where I could learn more about gardening. The staff there really wants to help you find the right product for your needs. A few years back, I wanted to improve the lawn in my backyard and I went to the grange for some grass seed. The gentlemen who helped me asked me a lot of questions: what was my goal, what was the soil in my yard like, how much sun did the area get, etc. Only after he knew enough about my situation did he suggest a plan of action and the products to achieve my goal. And my lawn is much improved because of his help.
Raspberry Peach Pie
Today when I went to the grange to deliver my pie, Karen was at the register. I told her that I had brought a pie for the staff. She asked why and I began, “You know how when you have a problem with your yard….” and immediately she said, “Tell me what you have done so far.” “Exactly!” I said. “You all seem to jump right in and ask questions to help. I really like that.”
Finished Raspeberry Peach Pie
Now this might not have been what Karen was expecting, but I can tell that she really appreciated my gesture. It is a simple way to thank the men and women at the Grange who spend their time everyday finding solutions to our garden (and pet) needs.