Our Harvest Cooperative Growing Sustainable Jobs in Cincinnati

csashareUFCW Local 75 is creating good jobs in our community. Over the past two years, we have been working on the creation and development of union worker cooperatives.  A union worker cooperative is a for-profit business that is owned and directed by the workers, where the workers have a union contract and the company is guided by the core principles of sustainability, solidarity, accountability, and community.

Our first co-op, Our Harvest, is a worker owned farm and distribution center for local food. Our Harvest is a joint project of UFCW Local 75 and Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (CUCI), the prototype union cooperative incubator organization for Mondragon USA. Mondragon is the world’s largest industrial, worker-owned and run cooperative, founded in the Basque region of Spain over fifty five years ago.

UFCW Local 75 is a part of a working group with Mondragon USA; the purpose of the working group was to bring in other community partners and do the necessary research and preparation to launch the Co-op.  Our Harvest officially began in February 2012. The cooperative recently received a capitalization loan, and has successfully doubled its production. Our Harvest now employs 15 people—all part-owners of the cooperative and members of UFCW Local 75.  Our Harvest hopes to continue its growth in the coming year.

This December, the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative held a symposium and banquet to share the success of its cooperatives with our community.  The event was attended by representatives of Mondragon (from Spain) and more than 250 people from 17 states.

UFCW Local 75 is a leader in a feasibility study for a new cooperative: worker-owned grocery stores in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods.  Our Harvest is seeking volunteers with experience in the grocery industry to assist with the development of the new co-op. For more information or to learn more about how to get involved, please contact Ellen Vera 1-877-665-0075 ext. 3014 or ellen.vera@ufcw75.org.