This is just flat out a very exciting issue of Solutions to produce. In addition to celebrating the Year of Cooperatives, we are introducing news about how multiple co-op sectors are working hard to pass the National Cooperative Development Act of 2011. This is a significant piece of legislation that has so much possibility for bringing jobs and economic vitality to communities through cooperation. Everyone is encouraged to do their part and help promote the bill in their regions with their local representatives. In our feature story, you’ll find more information about the specifics in the bill and what you can do to help ensure its passage.

Additionally, our case study story is focused on Elm City Market in New Haven, Conn. Their story illustrates how a cooperative approach to bringing a grocery store to their downtown is already paying off—just five months from their opening. If the National Cooperative Development Act of 2011 passes, stories like theirs will likely become more common, and opening food co-ops, and other kinds of co-ops, in underserved areas like theirs could become easier.

Both of these stories show how supporting strong local and regional economies are the way to a sustainable economic recovery. Businesses with stakes in their local communities are critical to our country’s backbone. We’ve been saying it all along: cooperatives allow communities to control their own resources and keep ownership on a human scale. By increasing opportunities for neighbors, towns and states to build an economy based on values of fairness, we increase our chances for a much more resilient and dynamic economic future.

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