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Community invited to celebrate Davis co-ops

By From page A5 | October 07, 2012

This week is planned to be one of communal acknowledgement for the member-owned and -governed businesses that very much define Davis.

The festivities are appropriately timed, given that October is National Co-op Month. Furthermore, the United Nations declared 2012 as an International Year of Cooperatives.

Julie Cross, marketing and education director for the Davis Food Co-op, said the important benefits provided by the local participatory organizations are worth celebrating.

“Money spent at cooperatives is owned by the area, versus big chains where the money goes out of the area,” Cross said. “It also exerts control over what’s carried at local retailers.”

The activities will commence Tuesday with the City Council’s public acknowledgement of the 40th anniversary milestone reached by the Davis Food Co-op. The brief ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

“It is truly going to be an honor for us to be recognized,” Cross said. “People can definitely come join us for it.”

The next event focused on local co-ops will be hosted at the Farmers Market’s weekly Picnic in the Park. It will get under way Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in Central Park, Fourth and C streets.

“At last count, we had 12 co-ops joining the farmers who are regularly at the market,” Cross said. “There is a strong connection between the Food Co-op and the Farmers Market. We kind of grew up together. Back in the day, the Co-op helped the market get started by donating unsold produce.”

Residents will have the chance to meet representatives from member-run enterprises: Davis Food Co-op, Davis Ace, Davis Parent Nursery School, Yolo Federal Credit Union, Pierce Student Co-op (a housing co-op), Flatland Food Collective and a handful of others.

“It’s just a really good opportunity for people to come out and get acquainted with the different co-ops,” Cross said.

As part of “Co-op Day at the Market,” there will be a panel of main players in the community movement — Bob Black, Cristy Jensen, Ann Evans, Richard Gertman and Jonathan Woolley — speaking at 6:30 p.m. at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, 303 Third St. The group will tell stories of the work it took to establish the thriving co-ops that flourish today.

Those looking for further introduction can join the Davis Food Co-op’s 2 1/2-mile walk the following day. The tour takes residents on a stroll past preschools, art studios, businesses and housing complexes that use the cooperative model. It begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at the tomato sculpture outside the Food Co-op, 620 G St.

The event-filled week will conclude Friday with a group viewing of inspirational films about co-ops. Aside from movies, shorts from the national “My Co-op Rocks” video contest will be featured. The showings begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St.

All activities are free. For more information, email Cross at [email protected].

Brett Johnson

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