I’m a fan of The Co-operative but perhaps not for the reasons you think.
I know that The Co-operative provide a wonderful service at a time when you need it the most. Did you know they have a funeral care service?
You can imagine the situation all too clearly. You’ve just lost a loved one. You’re barely able to think let alone come up with a clever plan to whisk money out of thin air in order to pay for expensive funeral arrangements. Near me there are three local Co-Op Funeralcare providers; one in Musselburgh, one in Prestonpans and one in Tranent.
I think the Co-operative is better known for their food, general ethical retailing and forward green thinking. Theyre also very good at reaching out to people and persuading them to get involved.
I wanted to put the spotlight on two the more recent efforts from the Co-operative. First there’s Urban Bees and then there’s the Baywind Energy Co-operative.
The bee population is in sad decline. This will be bad for all of us. There are a number of theories ranging from lack of biodiversity, infections and even possible leaks suggesting the American EPA allowed bee killing pesticides to be used. We have neither a clear answer nor solution.
Urban Bees’ have a cleverly named “Plan Bee” that’s supported by the Co-operative. It’s so simple but it’s effective. Plan Bee involves teaching more city folk how to be beekeepers. The Co-operative’s cash goes towardsh such things as beehives on roof tops.
Baywind Energy Co-operative
I don’t understand the fuss over wind warms. I don’t get the “not in my back garden” mind set and I don’t think they look ugly. I accept more research into how they might impact important species like bats is necessary but we need to build the farms in the first place in order to benefit from the green energy and do the research.
The Co-operative bank supported such a project on Harlock Hill in Cumbria. The result is the Baywind Energy Co-operative which now generates about 10,000 Mwh of energy. That’s enough for about 30,000 homes.
The begining: Rochdale Pioneers
Where did all start? You have to go back to 1844 and the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pionners. It was these 28 weavers and other craftspeople who created the initial Co-operative. This wasn’t the very first Co-operative attempt, there had been failures before but the pioneers learned from these and put some of those learnings into the the Rochdale Principles which helped guide the group.
The merger of the Pioneers with other co-operative groups resulted in what we now call The Co-operative Group. You can still visit the original store in Toad Lane which is now the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.
Not bad, huh? Quite a success story and an incredibly early effort on ethical and co-operative retail. Despite the history, I think the best may still be to come so no wonder more people are seeking to join the revolution and get involved?
In Pure Spirit
Are their any Co-operative activites in your area? If you’re a fan we’d love to hear about your experiences and recommendations.
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