I learned that participatory budgeting is relatively new in the United States, but, globally, it’s been around for several decades. That said, the way that we practice it in the US is also a bit different. The first thing that happens, and my favorite part to ensure transparency, is that community members come together to write the rules that will govern a participatory budgeting process. Then we enter the idea-collection phase, where we collect hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas on how to spend a pot of money to make a community better.

A recent MultiBriefs series examines the affordable housing crisis that’s spanning the nation. The most recent installment of this series specifically looks at housing cooperatives and their potential to address the growing shortage of affordable housing in many US cities.

WATERLOO REGION — A new housing co-operative is looking for investors to help shake up the way rental housing is done in this region.

Union: Sustainable Development Co-operative has 10 startup members and needs 50 or 60 more to help purchase a mixed-use residential and commercial building in Kitchener or Waterloo. They plan to partner with Reception House Waterloo Region to provide rental housing for new government-assisted refugees in this first building.

Corrections and clarifications: The fire destroyed a building that housed executive offices at the Highlander Center. It was one of 10 buildings on the campus. The other nine structures were not damaged. An earlier version of this story was not specific enough about the extent of the damage.

A fire of unknown origin has destroyed the main office building containing decades of archives at the historic Highlander Education and Research Center in New Market, officials confirmed.


Vice President of Advocacy Alan Knapp goes through some basic advocacy techinques when speaking with policymakers about cooperative issues.

Watch more videos from NCBA CLUSA


A little over 30 years ago, Equal Exchange started as a small company with a big mission: to change the food industry from the inside out. They understood that the farmers who put food on our plates were invisible to most consumers, and abused by the corporations who paid them meager amounts for their backbreaking work.

Historically, solidarity economy is a term used in the global South to describe anti-capitalist innovations emerging from a desire for self-determination. Typically, the concept includes models such as community land trusts, worker cooperatives, community-supported agriculture, food cooperatives, community gardens, housing cooperatives, credit unions, barter networks, time banks, and cooperative loan funds, among others.

There is a widespread belief that the driving force of innovation is competition between companies. The government is viewed as an obstacle holding back the full potential of entrepreneurs with outdated regulation. However, practically all tech start-ups that are poster-boys for innovation are built on two profound inventions, both of which are born out of publicly funded research: the digital computer and the internet. These inventions were not born from profit driven competition, but instead cooperation between scientists.

Enspiral is a rather unique organisation, often featured in this blog. Over the years the number of participants, its core structure and overall network have evolved in fascinating and informative ways. This evolution along with the many lessons learned is chronicled in their collective book “Better work together”.


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