The following are stand-out, real-life examples of good co-operative work in practice, as highlighted by UCC’s Centre for Co-op Studies (on Twitter). This selection was chosen by LIT Community Development student BETH ARDILL.
– Best practice as highlighted by UCC’s Centre for Co-op Studies
Farming for Nature’s John McHugh
John McHugh speaks in this video about his holistic farming approach and the real value of trees – they are worth more than merely timber to cut down. There is a sense of community seen on John’s farm as people are welcome to come and plant trees and flowers together. John’s work is environmentally friendly and he is focused on bettering the environment.
Internationally trading farming co-ops
Speaking on Interational Co-operatives Day last year, FG MEP Mairead McGuinness highlighted examples of climate action undertaken by cooperatives.
“Co-operatives are local, they’re empowering and they’re really important in our battle against climate change,” she said.
As she pointed out, Glanbia Ireland, one of the biggest farm-focused co-ops, is financing solar panels and helping farmers in transitioning. Recently, it announced it will help to plant 100,000 trees and hedging plants to encourage biodiversity.
Indigenous Seed Growers (USA)
In the USA, the Indigenous Seed Growers Network sprouted from the pandemic and is quickly evolving to help communities secure their own food systems for generations to come.
This sounds like a great co-operative as the work they are doing benefits not only themselves but the generation after them:
Cobh Credit Union & East Cork Bio
Cobh Credit Union and East Cork Bio are planting 7,000 native Irish trees on school grounds and in public spaces across Co. Cork to create 15 micro-woodlands and 10 micro-orchards.
Winifred who works for Simon: “There is life beyond the pandemic”
There is at least one co-operative trying to battle the housing crisis in Ireland.
As an example of their work, Co-operative Housing Ireland last year helped people move into a new housing estate in Wicklow. One of the new residents is Winifred (pictured right) who shared her story as part of the ‘No Place like Home’ campaign.
“There has been so much uncertainty for me personally, well before the Covid crisis. The security of my new home has helped me greatly,” she said.
“I work with the Simon Community and sometimes work at home due to Covid-19. In Simon, we have our fingers on the pulse of a lot of social issues presented by the pandemic. Having a good space to work in at home has made such an impact on my routine and outlook in life.”
She is now excited about returning to activities she was previously involved in.
“Before Covid-19, I volunteered with a charity that supports Native Americans in the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, USA. I took part in an online arts event they held recently and was surprised at how much of a lift that gave me. There is life beyond the pandemic and so many things to look forward to,” she said.