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Fourth Pig Construction Cuts Carbon Emissions Through Green Building Techniques

Fourth Pig cofounder Matt Adams (left) In CWCF’s recently approved strategic plan, one of the priorities established was increased member engagement.  Members want to build greater connections with each other and learn from each other’s successes and challenges. That’s why we’re going to start profiling one of our member co-ops in each issue, beginning with Fourth Pig Construction. We hope these brief profiles will be engaging and informative and lift up the human side of co-ops. When Fourth Pig Construction launched in 2007, its founders were out to make a difference, both in the type of buildings they made and the type of business they established. They were going to make and renovate buildings using green building methods that would reduce carbon emissions. And they were going to be a worker co-op. “Our feeling was that if we want to build differently then we should also have an organization that’s…

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Planet S Magazine Turns 10!

A New Cooperative Press for a New Media Age September 2012 marked an important historical milestone for Saskatoon and the province’s co-operative movement—Planet S magazine’s first ten years of independent city journalism. Published by an award-winning, home-grown workers’ co-op, its triumph will be remembered as one of this province’s great co-operative campaigns—like the pooling, retail co-op, credit union, insurance mutual and community clinic organizing waves of previous decades. Their campaign busted the province’s print media monopoly, long a foe of Prairie co-operation, in its two major urban centres. In 1993, it launched Regina’s prairie dog. In 2002 it published the first of 365 issues (to date) of Saskatoon’s Planet S Magazine. Together these co-operatively published city-papers now reach about 120,000 urban adults every issue. Making Cooperative History Mounting a meaningful alternative to the corporate media monopoly, particularly in the volatile new networked media economy, is no small achievement. Ironically, these…

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Yellowknife Glass Recyclers Co-op

Yellowknife Glass Recyclers converted to an employee- owned co-op in July 2006 to take advantage of growing popularity of high-quality recycled glassware and the opening of a glass distribution retail store. The full story of this worker co-op conversion is attached as a pdf. Location: Based in Yellowknife, distribution markets across the Northwest Territories and the rest of CanadaLegal Structure: Limited Workers Co-operativeType of activity: Production and marketing of recycled glasswareDate of establishment: July 2006Membership: 6Latest Annual Revenues: $100,000 Key features: In 1994, Matthew Grogono founded a business that used a recycled washing machine as a converting device to cut bottles, grind rims and polish vessels into useable glassware. Since then, the business has developed a diversified line of products including drinking glasses, vases, bowls and candleholders of various sizes and colours. The patterns are created by local artists and reflect the unique ecology and environment of Northern Canada. The…

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Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op – Growing a Business

Coming in from the crisp, cold morning in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, the heat generated by the roasting machine is most welcomed. The smell of the coffee, as it makes its many thousands of rotations over the gas flame, is intoxicating. Down in the lower level of Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op in New Minas, Nova Scotia, David Mangle spends most mornings supervising the transformation of the glossy green organically grown beans into the aromatic coffee bearing such enticing names as “Jungle Blend,” “French Roast” and “Rainforest Rhapsody.” Only eight years ago, David would have spent his mornings teaching music at the local high school. The idea of starting the worker co-op grew from a commitment of a group of friends and family members who wanted to own their own business, which contributed to their personal satisfaction and desire for a more just society. They wanted to offer a fair…

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Co-op Taxi Line Ltd. – You Always Ask Where They’re Going

At 7:30, on a cold December morning, you might find Neil Shaw at the car wash cleaning the salt and ice off his 1994 Ford. By noon, you can usually find him in the office reviewing the financial projections. In the evening, he might be meeting with city officials to discuss rezoning or cab stands. Like most cab drivers, Neil also puts in many hours a week behind the wheel of his car. A day for Neil and others can involve these activities, which all seem quite different, but once he explains that he is president of a taxi Co-op the pieces begin to fall into place. First and foremost, Neil is a cab driver, sometimes working 12 hours a day. At the same time, he is an owner of the Co-op Taxi Line Ltd. which has grown from three members when it was incorporated in 1992, to the most…

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