Crowsnest Opportunity Development Cooperative (CODC).
The purpose behind this event was to bring public awareness (and investors) to a major undertaking by community minded individuals lead by the likes of Shane Stewart and Bill Kovach from Community Futures, to name just two individuals instrumental behind this initiative, who having proven entrepreneurial spirits are pooling resources by way of a Co-Op to encourage local business investing in our community.
Because of current economic issues that stand firmly in the way of further economic growth not only here in the Pass but globally as well due to what I have already spoken to in the past here on this blog with respect to peak oil, environmental issues, and "financial disruptions due to the inability of our existing monetary, banking, and investment systems to adjust to both resource scarcity and soaring environmental costs - and their inability (in the context of a shrinking economy) to service the enormous piles of government and private debt that have been generated over the past couple of decades," communities, especially small communities such as ours, will have to become more self-reliant and self-sufficient if we hope to survive.
In a book I referenced here before titled The End of Growth, it states...
"At some point in the next few years, stock and real estate values will plunge, banks will close, and businesses will shutter their doors. Monetary, financial, and social systems built upon the expectation of growth will simply fail in growth's absence. In the worst instance, that failure could take the form of a nearly complete cessation of trade, as occurred nationally in Argentina in December, 2001. Some sort of new economy would inevitably emerge from the wreckage, but in scale and scope it would be a shadow of the one we knew just a few years ago. Measured in GDP, it might correspond to the world economy of fifty, a hundred, or even a hundred and fifty years ago.
Alternative economists argue that the genuine benefit of corporations (their ability to pool capital to achieve socially useful purposes) could be better achieved through cooperatives - which have a long history of success. Credit unions are cooperative banks; some utilities operate as cooperatives; and there are also housing, manufacturing, and agricultural cooperatives. The following seven principles are central to the cooperative movement:
1. Voluntary and open membership,
2. Democratic member control,
3. Member economic participation,
4. Autonomy and independence,
5. Education, training, and information,
6. Cooperation among cooperatives, and
7. Concern for community.
Cooperatives have the potential to avert overuse of resources by placing other values, including the interests of future generations, ahead of profit. Indeed, the organization "Coop America,” which began as a sort of cooperative of US cooperatives, in 2009 changed its name to "Green America.”
Now having given you my reader some background on why this initiative is so important for our community for not only being the wave of the future, but for all practical purposes a truly entrepreneurial endeavour free from both government dependence and/or interference. Now isn't that a refreshing break?
The CODC invites potential investors and those who were unable to attend their Grand Opening to please contact Larry Saloff at Community Futures Crowsnest Pass (403) 562-8858 or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find information on their website at www.codcoop.org.
In closing, let me just mention that I found Lisa Lockhart from Dream Team Consulting who I spoke to at length to be a wealth of information and enthusiasm, as was Judy McMillan-Evans from Community Futures Alberta, the provincial organization that oversees the individual Community Futures offices throughout Alberta.
As an aside, I should note that local boy Shane Stewart, who is currently chair of our local Community Futures, was recently appointed president of Community Futures Network of Alberta.
As a final note, it would appear our local economic engine is moving in the right direction and is in good hands with the likes of rising star Shane Stewart at its helm, leading bold initiatives such as this Crowsnest Opportunity Development Cooperative.
For more on this exciting imitative for our community:
A successful grand opening
Co-op initiative outlined to Chamber
For more on the subject of managing economies without growth in the future here in Canada, by a Canadian:
Managing Without Growth
With realization of one's own potential and self confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world.