Building a democratic economy rooted in community.

Deer Ridge Mobile Home Cooperative Secures Funding


Deer Ridge Mobile Home Cooperative becomes the 4th Resident Owned Community in Maine

AUGUSTA, February 10, 2015 – – The residents of Deer Ridge Mobile Home Park in Augusta recently secured funding support from the Genesis Community Loan Fund ( in Damariscotta, Maine, to become the 4th Resident Owned Community in Maine. Aided in their purchase acquisition by assistance from the Cooperative Development Institute ( under the NEROC (New England Resident Owned Communities) program, the residents have engaged in extensive training and organizational development. Andy Danforth, NEROC Director, “The residents of Deer Ridge worked long and hard to gain possession of their community. We’re proud to assist in the process and in operating their community going forward. Deer Ridge joins over 160 proud ROC USA cooperatives throughout the country.” (

The Deer Ridge Mobile Home Cooperative is home to 13 resident owners now, with room to expand. Infrastructure upgrades needed to accomplish these goals will be a challenge, but as board member and resident Beverly Chase said “We can actually do that as owners now and make it a better place to live.” And board member Donna Dennis said “We have processes and plans now, to deal with whatever issues come up.”

Deer Ridge joins two other communities under the technical assistance of CDI, Brunswick Bay Mobile Home Cooperative and the Medomak Mobile Home Cooperative in Waldoboro. The fourth resident owned community in Maine is Greystone in Veazie. The Genesis Community Loan Fund has provided financing in all four projects. Liza Fleming-Ives, Deputy Director at Genesis said “We are pleased to use the resources we have available to help residents of mobile home communities secure affordability and security in their housing. We truly enjoy the partnership we share with CDI as technical assistance providers, with Genesis providing the financing expertise, because it highlights our organizational strengths and provides comprehensive guidance to the residents as they move through the process.”

Jessica Pooley, technical assistant for the community, under NEROC/CDI shared, “I’m excited about the future for the Deer Ridge residents. Enjoying the benefits of homeownership is just the beginning. Now they are a resident-owned community, the cooperative will join RONA (Resident Owned Neighborhoods Association) of Maine ( and will be enjoying the networking opportunities and workshops available for the community leaders, which will expand their resources and successes even more.”

(SOURCE: Press Release, 021015)

MAINE dot FIND dot COOP | A Collaborative Directory of Maine’s Solidarity Economy

Maine.Find.COOP | A Collaborative Directory of Maine’s Solidarity Economy

A cooperative project of the Data Commons Cooperative


Is your organization listed?  If not, YOU can ADD it!  And you can share the data shared by other members of Maine’s solidarity / cooperative / collaborative / alternative / sharing / new economy!

Fresh data, fresh connections, fresh collaboration!


People everywhere have been organizing a more ethical economy, but they work in relative isolation, fragmented by geography, sector, and even organizational form.

Many organizations collect information about a small piece of these efforts. In every situation, there is another organization for which that information overlaps. In every case there is an opportunity to share that will strengthen all the organizations participating.

Sharing requires effort, it requires trust, and it requires infrastructure. The Data Commons is a cooperative of organizations that are sharing – sharing the costs of this effort, trusting each other with their information, and building infrastructure to make sharing is easy.

Members of the Data Commons Cooperative are principled economic organizations that want it to be easy to share with each other, and with the world, in the movement for a more ethical economy.


2nd Annual Principle Six Conference

cm-p6-2015 -crop

2nd Annual Principle Six Conference

the cooperative future of Maine’s economy

Viles Arboretum
153 Hospital Street, Augusta, ME  04330
Saturday, April 25, 2015

SURVEY (3 questions | very brief ) to gather suggestions from potential attendees about topics & presenters at:

1. What workshop topics would you find useful? We’ll have three tracks: food co-ops, worker co-ops, and other.
2. Do you have any workshop presenter suggestions (please provide contact information when possible)?
3. Anything else you’d like us to consider?
IDEAS?  << click here >>

WORKSHOPS (rough schedule):
AM – 1 | TBD | (ALL)
AM – 2 | TBD | (ALL)
LUNCH (included | catered)
PM – 1 | Worker | Food | Other | (choose ONE of 3 breakout groups)

PRINCIPLE SIX Work GROUP!forum/principlesix

Get involved & JOIN our Google Group!


Cooperative Maine is planning the Second Annual Principle Six conference. This event brings together Co-ops from around Maine whether they are just forming, in the early planning stages, or have been in existence for many years. This year we are expanding beyond food co-ops to include worker-owned and “other” cooperatives from throughout the state.

“Principle Six” – COOPERATION AMONG COOPERATIVES – is the principle of the International Statement of Cooperative Principles that says: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures. We are working on the local part.



Shift Change

About the Film

SHIFT CHANGE is a documentary film by veteran award-winning filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin. It tells the little known stories of employee owned businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces.

Equal Exchange workers discuss risk and innovation

With the long decline in US manufacturing and today’s economic crisis, millions have been thrown out of work, and many are losing their homes. The usual economic solutions are not working, so some citizens and public officials are ready to think outside of the box, to reinvent our failing economy in order to restore long term community stability and a more egalitarian way of life.

There is growing interest in firms that are owned and managed by their workers. Such firms tend to be more profitable and innovative, and more committed to the communities where they are based. Yet the public has little knowledge of their success, and the promise they offer for a better life.

SHIFT CHANGE encourages support for employee ownership, and provides on-the-ground experience from a variety of enterprises and locations. Screenings have already occurred, and more are being planned, in cities around the world. The film is also expected to be presented on television, as well as in academic, public planning, business and community settings.



[ PBS ]

Owning Your Grocery Store: Community-Funded Food Co-op Opens in Portland


A look inside the new Portland Food Co-op – GRAND OPENING DEC 10


In celebration of National Co-op Month, please join USDA, national cooperative leaders and development specialists for an engaging webinar on how cooperatives have benefited food supply chains and played a critical role in developing local and regional food systems.

Moderator: Andrew Jermolowicz – Associate Deputy Administrator, Coop Programs, USDA Rural Development

·         Elanor Starmer – National Coordinator, USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Initiative
·         Jim Barham – Agricultural Economist, Coop Programs, USDA Rural Development
·         Margaret Bau – Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA Rural Development
·         Robin Seydel – Membership and Community Development Coordinator, La Montanita Co-op
·         Jan Tusick – Center Director, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center
·         Karl Sutton – Farmer, Coop Member, Western Montana Growers Cooperative

This webinar is free to the public and does not require registration.

Click here on October 30 at 1 p.m. ESD to log in to the webinar. Alternately, you can call toll-free (800) 738-1032 to listen to the webinar audio on your phone.

October 30th, 2014 1:00 PM   through   2:00 PM


October 27, 2014

Following closely on recent announcements about the Rural Business Enterprise Grant and Rural Business Opportunities Grant awards to support small businesses and economic development in rural communities, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development announced the latest round of grantees for the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program (RCDG) on Friday, October 24.  The timing of the awards is especially appropriate with October being National Cooperative month.Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loans were also announced.  In total, USDA announced $12.8 million in grants and loans to 43 organizations in 27 states.  Of the $12.8 million, $5.8 million in RCDG awards went to 32 recipients, while just over $7 million in loans went to 11 recipients under IRP.

Established in the 1996 Farm Bill, RCDG is a competitive grant program that funds non-profit organizations and higher education institutions to create and operate coop development centers that help establish, expand, or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned rural businesses.  The funding can be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, offer technical assistance, establish low-interest loans, and help rural businesses develop new markets for their products and services.  Since fiscal year 2009, USDA has awarded 200 RCDG grants for approximately $38.4 million that have helped more than 2,500 businesses.

Today’s announcement includes several recipients who are supporting local food marketing and other ways to expand economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers.

Among them, are:

  • Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) in North Carolina, an NSAC member group, which received a $200,000 grant to launch a program on agricultural cooperatives.  Funding will be used to provide technical assistance to groups in rural North Carolina, South Carolina, northern Florida, and eastern Kentucky;
  • Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability which received a $200,000 technical assistance grant to help meat processing cooperatives link producers with local and regional consumers.  Funding will be used to provide education and training; and
  • Cooperative Network in Wisconsin, which received a $200,000 grant to help establish cooperatives focusing on health care, local foods and senior housing.  Funds will be used to help Native American tribal members form a cooperative.

Other grant recipients working on local food projects can be found on the full award recipient list.

USDA Webinar: The Role of Cooperatives in Local Food Systems Development 

In addition to these awards, which highlights the importance of cooperatives to rural community development and the difference they can make to local and regional food systems, USDA plans to host a free webinar, The Role of Cooperatives in Local Food Systems Development, this Thursday, October 30 at 1pm Eastern time.

Details about the webinar, including participating speakers from USDA and cooperatives, and how to connect, are available on this National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) webpage.


Rising Tide in Boothbay Register


Serving Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport & Edgecomb since 1876

Local market celebrates National Co-op Month, Non-GMO Month

Each October, cooperatives all across the country celebrate the role, accomplishments and contributions of our nation’s cooperatives. Damariscotta’s own natural foods cooperative, Rising Tide Community Market, is a full-service retail grocery store, distinguished from other local businesses in that it’s owned by over 3,000 local and seasonal residents of the greater Damariscotta area.

Rising Tide grew out of local buying clubs which operated in the 1970s, and its first storefront opened in 1978.

“The theme of Co-op Month this year is ‘The Co-op Connection.’ We want to highlight the ways in which Rising Tide connects with our community — whether it’s through donating to local nonprofits and community events, having local art exhibits in our café, or supporting local farms and producers,” said Elya Markert, Rising Tide’s Outreach and Marketing Coordinator. “Co-op Month is also a great opportunity to raise awareness about the cooperative movement in general, for our own member-owners and the community as a whole.”

During Co-op Month, Rising Tide is publishing an educational series of posts on its Facebook page and website. Posts for the first part of the month have included Maine co-op news, Rising Tide’s history, and history of the cooperative movement.

October is also Non-GMO Month, bringing awareness to the issue of genetically modified organisms in the food supply.

“GMO labeling is not yet mandatory, which presents a challenge for consumers who want to avoid GMOs in their food. Many of our shoppers are concerned about GMOs,” Markert said. “The Non-GMO Project works with companies to label their products as ‘Non-GMO Verified’ if they meet ingredient standards that ensure no contamination by GMOs. Rising Tide currently carries over 700 products bearing this label, all clearly marked by shelf tags …. We also provide information and education in the store about which ingredients are most likely to be contaminated by GMOs (corn, soy, sugar beets, alfalfa and canola) and how customers can choose foods that do not contain GMOs. Ultimately, we believe that people have the right to know what’s in the food they consume every day.”

The cooperative movement in Maine is thriving, with several new retail cooperatives forming or opening in Maine during 2014. Food stores in Brooks (Marsh River Cooperative), Fort Kent (Market Street Cooperative) and Houlton (The County Co-op and Farm Store) have all opened their doors in recent months and are welcoming new members.

All of the food co-op stores in Maine focus on purchasing local food, including produce, some grains, dairy, and meat. They each contribute significantly more to the Maine economy than food stores that get most of their products from outside the state. Also, the Portland Food Co-op and the Gardiner Food Co-op and Café are both expected to open later in 2014 or 2015. That will bring the total of storefront food cooperatives in Maine to eleven, including existing co-ops in Blue Hill, Belfast, Rockland, Norway, and Waterville.


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