North Star 2021: Cooperative Governance

When this North Star cohort started in October, it was our first virtual cohort, our first cohort organized around collective land ownership, and our first cohort where entire cooperatives participated together. In anticipation of North Star graduation this Wednesday, we will be revisiting some of the North Star sessions, what they learned, and sharing some resources. 

Second in our series is our session on cooperative governance. Governance describes the shared agreements that shape how your cooperative actually works, like determining how people become members, how members share profits, who can be on the coop’s board, or how the cooperative communicates. At Nexus, we believe that when we make decisions that affect our lives, we share the power in making those decisions, and co-op governance is a big part of that.

Signe Harriday started our session off by sharing her journey with cooperatives, and how she became one of the co-founders and co-owners of Rootsprings. Rootsprings is a land-based Cooperative in greater MN stewarding space for healing and development of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists, activists, healers, and community centering Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer (LGBTQ) folx. 

Rootsprings has two legal structures, a non-profit and a cooperative. This dual structure allows them to leverage tax-deductible dollars to support their start up costs while they build out a self-sustaining cooperative businesses model. Fellows really vibed with Rootsprings, the creativity of their structure, and the need for BIPOC and LGBTQ centered healing spaces where folks can connect with nature.

Renee Hatcher, a community lawyer based in Chicago, spoke about her experience leaning into Black cooperative history, and how she tries to bring that into the cooperative law field. As a cooperative lawyer, Renee helps worker-owners understand cooperative legal structures, and many different ways of governing are possible within them. Cooperatives are a space that allows us to decolonize how we govern by relying on our own indigenous democratic practices. 

Do you want to learn more about North Star? Mark your calendars for graduation this Wednesday (5/26)! Learn about our incredible fellows, and hear some of our keynote speaker Noni Session’s wisdom (East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative). Click here to RSVP.