About Our 2012 Annual Meeting Theme & Guest Speaker

About Our Theme: From the Year of Co-ops to the Co-operative Decade

The United Nations declaration of 2012 as the “International Year of Co-ops” brought unprecedented attention to co-operative enterprise and its contribution to local economic development, community resilience and food security at home and around the world.  Still, many people are unaware of the impact and potential of the co-operative movement across our economy.  How can we use the Year of Co-ops to launch a Co-operative Decade that will build more vibrant and resilient local communities?  How can our food co-ops be catalysts for a stronger co-operative economy in our region?  How can we build a better world, together?

About our Guest Speaker: Erbin Crowell

Erbin Crowell serves as executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, a network of 30 food co-ops and start-up initiatives – including the Monadnock Food Co-op – with a combined membership of more than 80,000 people across New England. Prior to joining the Association, Erbin worked with the Cooperative Fund of New England and the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops.

For more than a decade, he was a member of Equal Exchange, a worker co-operative and pioneer in the Fair Trade movement. Erbin holds a Master of Management: Co-operatives & Credit Unions from St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, and serves on the boards of the New England Farmers Union and the National Cooperative Business Association.  He teaches courses on the Co–operative Movement at the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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