Co-ops 101

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In Co-ops 101, we’ll hear stories from two inspiring worker-owned co-ops, CERO and Toxic Soil Busters, and a resident-owned housing co-op, RAISE-Op about their work, background and reasons for forming a co-op. Facilitator Jonathan Rosenthal, Executive Director of the New Economy Coalition and Co-founder of Equal Exchange will lead a discussion about the basic principles of cooperative ownership—what it entails and how it works, as well as an overview of different cooperative models, such as worker, consumer, and housing co-ops.


  • Jonathan RosenthalJonathan is the Executive Director of the New Economy Coalition. He has spent over 30 years working to transform the power of business from a destructive force of accumulation into a healing force honoring the interconnectedness of all people and our earth. He co-founded Equal Exchange, Oké USA and Belmont-Watertown Local First. He has consulted with people and organizations all across the trade justice movement. He is the author of numerous articles and is a frequent speaker at colleges and events, is a board member of the Coffee Trust and an emeritus board member of Root Capital. Jonathan is a lifelong vegetarian foodie and a huge fan of his local Watertown, MA library. He lives with his amazing partner, Ora Grodsky, organizational development consultant, and has two inspiring daughters.


  • Craig Saddlemire, Cooperative Organizer- Since 2005, Craig has operated a small video production business in Lewiston called Round Point Movies.  In addition, he has been volunteering with community organizations around urban redevelopment issues, tenants’ rights, public green space, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and public transportation. In 2008, he co-founded the Faire Bande a Part Housing Cooperative on Maple Street, where he continues to live.  During this time, Craig served on numerous municipal committees, represented Ward 5 on Lewiston City Council, and received the Public Service Leadership Award from the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce. Craig’s skills include listening, facilitating meetings, consensus building, and cooperative management
  • Labbe is a youth leader, member, and Testing Coordinator of Toxic Soil Busters Cooperative, a soil remediation and outreach cooperative. They have been part of the co-ops since 2013 and has presented at several regional and national gatherings including the US Federation of Worker Co-ops conference in Chicago in 2014. As a youth leader, they organize training for new youth co-workers on topics such as gender justice, cultural appropriation and testing protocols.
  • Lor Holmes is CERO Cooperative’s General Manager. She leads business development and capitalization strategies and, like all of the CERO worker-owners Lor shares a passion for environmental and social justice, sustainable economic development and democratic models for community ownership. She worked as a Boston school bus driver and as an advocate before returning to school for a master’s degree in Community Economic Development. She worked with homeless women to establish the Women’s Business Opportunity Program that supported the creation of more than two hundred, mostly home-based businesses. From 1998-2007 she was founding director at HarborCOV (Harbor Communities Overcoming Violence) where she worked with residents from many immigrant communities and built the country’s first permanent housing and economic development center for families affected by violence.

Partners in developing and delivering this Co-op webinar series: