Co-Op Month, a celebration of their accomplishments and contributions to their communities, is celebrated in Maine during October. Sponsored by Cooperative Maine, this year’s theme is “Cooperatives Build a Better Maine,” according to a news release from Cooperative Maine.

The following Co-op Month events will take place throughout Maine this month:

In mid-October, the Cooperative Development Institute will release a report, “Cooperatives Build a Better Maine,” highlighting the uniquely positive role of cooperative and employee-owned businesses in expanding economic opportunity and strengthening communities in Maine. The report will be available at maine.coop.

There will be a half dozen Maine screenings of Food for Change, a feature-length documentary about food co-ops, local economies and food security, that focuses on the role food co-ops play in communities and provides an historical backdrop to the current cooperative movement. For more information about the film, visit foodforchange.coop.

Maine screening schedule:

• Oct. 7, 7 p.m.: Norway Public Library; sponsored by Fare Share Co-op;

• Oct. 14, 6:45 p.m.: Blue Hill Public Library; sponsored by Blue Hill Co-op;

• Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m.: Johnson Hall, Gardiner; sponsored by Gardiner Food Co-op & Café;

• Oct. 20, 10 p.m. and Oct. 22 11 a.m.: Maine Public Broadcasting Network; and

• Oct. 23, 4 p.m.: The Colonial Theatre, Belfast; sponsored by Belfast Co-op, Crown of Maine Organic Co-op, Cooperative Development Institute.

On Oct. 22, Raise-Op Housing Co-op, New Roots Cooperative Farm, and the Somali Bantu Community Association of Lewiston-Auburn, will host a free community gathering Celebrating Cooperatives in Lewiston-Auburn at 145 Pierce St., in Lewiston. At 3 p.m., a press conference is scheduled with a ribbon cutting for the new Raise-Op cooperative housing and announcing the “Cooperatives Build a Better Maine” report, followed by food and networking. At 4 p.m., free community workshops that cover how to grow cooperatives in housing, food, and employee ownership will take place.

The 2016 Credit Union Week takes place Oct. 16-22, and Credit Union Day will be Thursday, Oct. 20. To learn what Maine credit unions have planned, visit the Maine Credit Union League online at mainecul.org.

According to the release, Cooperative Maine is a network of co-op advocates who offer support for existing co-ops and encourage the creation of new co-ops. Cooperative Maine believes that co-ops foster a more sustainable, equitable and democratic economy rooted in local communities and are therefore a valuable economic development strategy. There are several types of co-ops: consumer, such as food co-ops and credit unions; producer, such as farmer, fishing and craft co-ops; worker-owned, such as the Island Employee Co-op and Local Sprouts Café; housing, such Maine’s resident-owned communities and Raise-Op Housing Co-op; and utilities, such as Eastern Maine and Fox Islands electric co-ops. All credit unions in Maine are members of the Maine Credit Union League, with more than 150 banking locations across the state.

To find co-ops in Maine, visit the Maine cooperative directory at maine.find.coop.


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