Bilingual Worker Owner Classes 101, Start Date - December 4, 2020
Cooperative Development Institute is subcontracting with Roots & Dreams and Mustard Seeds Inc. in service and in alliance with Manos Unidas Cooperative to provide a 6 month bi-weekly course that focuses on developing The Alma Latina Cooperatives, an initiative of Manos Unidas that includes 4 emerging Latino business cooperatives.
While many classes will develop a body of leaders who can support the 4 Latino worker co-op start-ups, we are outreaching to our larger community for specific classes that will teach basic skills to those interested in starting up their own worker owned business. An introduction to Worker Co-ops 101, starts December 4th! Classes are taught by Margaret Miley.
Margaret has a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MS in business and has worked at the intersection of entrepreneurship and economic justice for over 20 years. She has developed models of sustainable business while promoting responsive economic policy. Margaret has launched businesses and a variety of economic development projects; integrating community organizing, business training, workforce development, incubation spaces, lending, nontraditional leadership development, and worker-ownership. She has shared this applied research in micro-economies throughout Massachusetts with officials determining economic policy on the state and federal levels.
Learn more about Cooperative Development Institute at
Most members involved this far are Spanish speaking but the classes are bi-lingual!
Contact for English communication and Anaelisa at for Spanish communication.
Resilient Roots/Raices Resistantes - Shop with us!
We are partnering with many of our brilliant member artists as well as local and regional artists to open a store that supports our artists as well as our solidarity projects! How about awesome plantable cards that grow your garden created by local herbalists or home-made soap powered by a bicycle! Shop with us. Visit our Facebook page to be sure not to miss our grand opening and to check out more unique creations!
The Massachusetts Solidarity Economy Network (MASEN) is a growing movement of people and communities across the Commonwealth building regenerative and reparative futures in the here and now.
We are so thankful to be a part of this emerging group of statewide solidarity economy practitioners who met last Friday. We discussed case studies from across the state on mutual aid, childcare/education, housing and transformative justice. On the topic of creating food stability programming, Manos Unidas Cooperative presented!
We take this time to invite Berkshire organizations, businesses, projects and individuals to join MASEN! We are planning our next convening to be set mid-winter!
Email Nicole at and Hendrix at to join.
Your social justice organizing voice and solidarity economy development work in the Berkshires can support (MASEN) and the national body (USSEN) to create policy and legislative shifts that translate into real change which can then effectively create increased funding modalities.
For those who may be new to the word solidarity economy, some good examples of economic alternatives are cooperatives, land trusts, local currencies, mutual aid, community supported agriculture, social investment funds, participatory budgeting, eco-industrialization, and the commons movement!
O.U.R. Resurge ~ Nuestro Resurge
In response to the confluence of factors that were devastating even before COVID-19, a growing coalition of organizers and advocates have been advancing a vision of an economic future that involves democratic community ownership and governance of resources.
These efforts are the stirrings of a movement to restructure the economy around democratic or cooperative ownership and collective governance, increasing the most impacted communities’ control over economic assets.
Our coalition feels strongly that co-owning a building that supports the pivotal organizing work being accomplished will strengthen our community ties with each other and the community at large, while creating an equitable co-sharing structure that is free from rent hikes and isolation and that provides empowerment through democratic membership governance.
Partner with us!
Partners are participants, member-owners, organizations and businesses, colleges and universities, funders, steering committee support as well as capital and regional developers.
Thank you to regional developers Cooperative Development Institute & Equity Trust for ongoing support in business planning and a provisional low interest loan that will enable us to reach our goal of co-ownership!
Contact to get involved!
If you would like to donate toward down payment costs please click the link and note O.U. R. Resurge/Nuestro Resurge downpayment.
Rose & Cole’s Transport
Rose & Cole's Transport Co-op is a minority led co-op that has been running these past 2 years as an initiative of Roots & Dreams and Mustard Seeds Inc. Their mission to serve vulnerable people and families in Pittsfield, MA. which was successfully forged via contracts with 9 organizations (arts institutions, social support organizations and city grant support)) that cover half to full fare for clients to be transported to social services, arts programming and or work.
Since COVID hit, all organizationational contracts remain virtual and are currently not using transportation for their clients.
Starting in January the transportation co-op is accepting individual contracts for grocery delivery. Please email them at to have your groceries delivered. As COVID cases are rising, most stores are willing to pack the groceries free of charge!
The co-op is also raising money to purchase a 15 passenger van that will serve 5 of its 9 contracts, once orgs can function normally again which we hope is sooner than not! Can you help them prepare by supporting their down payment goal? Thank you!
Donations can be made to https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds. Please note Rose & Cole’s Transport
Atravasendo Está Juntos
Atravasendo Esta Juntos Cooking Collective, an initiative of Manos Unidas Cooperative, cooked and delivered over 200 meals per week to families from the months of April - September, thanks to COVID implemented grants by United Way and The Taconic Foundation.
They are looking to restart the program and are hoping for more funds from recent grants submitted as the needs of families impacted by COVID continues. Your donation makes all the difference!
This same team mans a grocery market delivering over 600lbs. of donated organic food (thank you Guidos and Berkshire Co-op Market!) every week for families in need. Held every Saturday 12-2 at 361 North St. Bring your own bags!
Donations can be made at https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop. Please note Atravasendo Estos Juntos.
Fronteras Comunes Bi-lingual Social Justice Art Zine
Fronteras Comunes/Common Borders is:
>the first bilingual and multicultural newspaper in the Berkshires
> the only cooperatively run paper in the Berkshires
>the first newspaper in the Berkshires to train and teach low income community members how to create their own media
> a place to learn about issues often forgotten in common media
> a source for cultural connection and understanding
> a place to learn about community sustainability
> a place to gather needed multicultural information
> a place to promote businesses who support and wish a diverse customer base
Calling All Artists!
Be on the cover of the next Fronteras Comunes Issue- Despertares/Awakenings! (The Despertares Cover included above is a mock cover to get your ideas flowing) The winning artist receives a stipend of $200.
For our winter issue, Despertares/Awakenings, we send forth these questions - how has COVID, and or the recent surge in racial justice activism awakened you? Has it changed old perspectives? What do you envision is critical/necessary for a truly equitable society for all?
No worries if you don’t make it on the cover! We hold a two page spread inside just for art! Writers and artists receive a stipend. Submissions due January 15th.
Fronteras Comunes, a bi-lingual (Spanish/English) art/social activism zine was founded in 2009 and prints bi-annually to raise awareness of social issues in our local community, be a platform for local artists and a resource guide for those in need. It is supported by grants and ad revenue.
This issue will be printed for Berkshire production and also placed on a national platform, Issue.com.
For Spanish speaker's, please email Carlos at and for English speakers, please email Nicole at
Support Fronteras Comunes! https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop. Please note Fronteras Comunes.
Communitechz IT Co-op
Communitechz has been planning out their development for a few years and is now outreaching to our community to provide services. They are now officing at 146 First St.
To service your computer please visit them at https://www.facebook.com/communitechz/
Also we are looking to raise funds to support the legal filing fees so that Communitechz can instate in MA! They have filed federally and also with the city of Pittsfield but will need $550 to file with the state. We appreciate your support!
Please donate at https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds. Note Communitechz Co-op
The Sowing Co-op
The Sowing Co-op is a very new start-up made up of a group of Latina ladies who started sowing masks when the pandemic struck. They sold thousands of masks and realized how nice it was to not have to leave their families and work from home. While some have returned to day work they still have a goal of contracting with local hotels and stores to sell more than masks, but also sheets and curtains.
Please text Érica, Co-Director of this Initiative, if you need children or adult masks (sold at $5 each) or if you would like to discuss a custom order (curtains, pillows, dress, etc.) (413) 347-2438 or
Support this project!
https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop. Please note The Sowing Co-op
Gustitos Boricuas Catering
SUPPORT a food truck for Gustitos Boricuas Catering! Gustitos Boricuas is a Puerto Rican Catering business, also a social entrepreneurship enterprise for community and global needs that has been running as an initiative of Manos Unidas Co-op for the last three years.
Founder Marian Orengo used her fabulous catering skills to help our community raise $7000 toward fixing roofs in her hometown in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and then again raised funds after the earthquake. Gustitos is working toward collectivizing itself as a worker co-op and is raising funds for a food truck!
Please donate what you can!!
Her delicious cuisine is also available to your family and you can support her catering business by calling her at 413-310-8944 or messaging her on facebook at Gustitos Boricua - https://www.facobook.com/Gustitos-boricua-108729413847870/
Thank You for Your Support!
A HUGE thank you to our partners!
We are an interdependent organization mobilized and carried by the grassroots efforts of our community. With out you, our momentum is lost and we feel alone in carrying out the shifts we envision to create a more just and equitable Berkshires.
Did you know you can support us by becoming a member? All members, both working and due's paying, receive our quarterly newsletter, are invited to our bi-yearly feasts, have opportunity to sit on our Board, and have voting rights in regards to our major organizational moves decided at our annual meeting. As set out by our by-laws, members can be individuals or organizations!
Berkshire United Way - Innovation Grant
Helping Co-ops Soar
City of Pittsfield Human Service Grant
Berkshire Co-op Market
Supporting Rose & Cole's Transport from inception until now!
Jacob's Pillow, Flying Cloud Institute, Williams Theater Festival,The Mount, The Mastheads
Arts Organizations who partner in fostering sustainability for Rose & Cole's Transport.
Manos Unidas Co-op
Team Partner in building co-ops led by Latino people and in creating equitable change among Pittsfield's most vulnerable community members! One of the lead organizer's of Nuestro Resurje Proyecto!
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope”
Contact Roots & Dreams and Mustard Seeds Inc.
Pittsfield, MA 01201