Co-op Caravan and Month of the Co-op

Year of the Co-op Caravan- May 2012

Do you know about Worcester’s co-ops and growing solidarity economy?
Did you know that there are ways to spend your money that strengthens community values and stimulates economic development?
How’s this economy working for you?
There are alternatives – come and find out what’s going on!

DAY 1: Sunday, May 6, 2012
12:00pm until 10:00pm
at – The Shop (Blankslate) 97D Webster St, Worcester, MA

Facebook Event

DAY 2: Sunday, May 20th, 2012
at Stone Soup Community Center, 4 King Street, Worcester

Visits will include:

-Stone Soup Community Center
-Community Realty
-EPOCA / Empower Energy Co-op
-Youth In Charge
-ARTichoke Food Coop
-YouthGROW Hotsauce Co-op / Farmers Markets
-Upcoming Conferences/ events
-YouthGROW Farm
-Stone Soup Graphics Shop
-Butterside Down
-Worcester Energy Barnraisers / Roots / Toxic Soil Busters / Co-op Power reviews from past caravan
-Short videos on co-ops
Ending with a COOKOUT with !

Get on your Bike or in a vehicle – go on the tour of Worcester area cooperatives, learn about all the goings-on that support our solidarity economy. Come on a fun-filled caravan to learn about all the products, services and initiatives we can become part of and support that strengthens our community and stimulates economic development.

Co-Op Caravan Day 1 was a BLAST – and a very educational one at that. Seven folks on bicycles and seven folks in a minivan wound their way through Main South on Sunday May 6 visiting examples of Worcester’s solidarity economy. First stop was Woo-Daddy Waffles where owner Zali spoke of creating a space where community can come together. A month of “Year of the Co-op Caravan” events will be announced at the event, including visits to 20 cooperative initiatives, speakers, food, videos and announcements about two upcoming conferences:
1. Green Solidarity Economy Conference in Worcester on September 22nd, 2012
2. US Federation of Worker Cooperatives National Conference in Boston, MA June 22-24th 2012

Housed at Moynihan’s Pub at 897 Main Street, Woo-Daddy offers a brunch where the word “waffle” has become a verb ( Aria from Worcester’s Time Trade spoke next since Woo-Daddy accepts “time credits” to help pay for brunch. Time trading is an organized exchange system through which members earn credits for time spent helping other members.

One hour of service earns one time credit, no matter what the service.  In this way, everyone’s time and contribution are valued equally. Members “buy” services they want or need with time credits they have earned.  Worcester Time Trade is part of a movement across the country and across the world. There are over 100 Time Banks in the United States, and similar systems operate in over 25 countries.

The next stop was a house where Worcester Roots’ youth-led cooperativeToxic Soil Busters had done lead remediation and had built raised beds for healthy gardening ( and where Worcester Energy Barnraisers (WEB) had done work as well.

WEB organizes energy barnraisings which empower and inspire diverse groups of people to take energy conservation into their own hands. An energy barn-raising is an event where the community gets together and spends the day working to weatherize a house, making it more energy-efficient. The day usually consists of three hours of learning and working and ends with a celebration of fun, food and music.

Next leg of the caravan headed down the street and around the corner to Worcester Earn-A-Bike ( The earn-a-bike program provides donated bicycles and parts. Participants can choose a bike to earn after volunteering ten hours towards our shop operation and then build it up with tools and parts from the shop. Volunteer tasks typically include removing and organizing parts, building bikes for donation or sale, or generally helping in the shop.

We then headed back to “the shop” home of Empower Energy Co-op ( who was holding their MayDay HeyDay festivities and expo.

Through the cooperative production of waste vegetable oil biodiesel, Empower creates affordable, environmentally friendly, carbon-neutral fuel while providing dignity and employment opportunities to support themselves and their families.

Caravan riders were excited to learn about Worcester’s cooperative ventures and green and solidarity initiatives that support Worcester’s local economy and supports strong, empowered communities.

Looking forward to May 20th and the next Co-Op Caravan to find out even more!

The United Nations declared 2012 the Year of the Co-Operative
The City of Worcester has proclaimed MAY 2012 as WORCESTER’S MONTH OF THE CO-OP


Worcester Mayor Proclaims May “Month of the Cooperative” for UN Declared Year of the Cooperative
On Wednesday, May, 2nd at 3:00pm in front of Worcester City Hall, City Councilor Joe O’Brien will read Mayor Petty’s Proclamation declaring May 2012 the Month of the Cooperative in the city of Worcester.

The press conference is organized by Worcester Roots Project and Worcester SAGE (Solidarity And Green Economy) Alliance to bring to light the contributions of cooperative businesses and initiatives in Worcester.

Find Month of the Co-op Press Conference at Minute 4:00