The universality of the cooperative movement from Konfecoop

Check out this great video from - “In this 2012 International Year of Cooperatives, the music takes us from Rochedale to the world. Fifteen languages, thousands of hands and dozens of dreams. They dreamed together and we are the heirs of those dreams. Together we have built networks and it is time to grab the present for building the future. From the seeds we plant today will blossom a better world.”

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Source: co-ops

If you want a fifth thing to do to celebrate the end of the 30 Day Challenge, listen to this song and dance a silly dance! 


Congratulations! You did it, you made it to the 30th Day of the Challenge! You are amazing!!!!! 


We hope you had fun, maybe learnt a thing or two, and hopefully got a chance to connect with co-ops and your community.

The first part of today’s challenge is, first, to swing back to Day 19 and Celebrate! Now that you’re an expert; today is all about reflecting on what you’ve learnt and sharing (and celebrating) this new-fond knowledge. Here are four things to do today!


  1.  Make a list of the five most interesting things you have learnt about co-ops over these past thirty days!
  2. If you shared this challenge with a friend, ask them what they liked most or least about the thirty day challeng
  3. Teach someone about co-op
  4.  Stop by a co-op!

The penultimate day of the challenge!  Congratulations, you’re almost done!

Part of the success of co-operatives and credit unions are their ability to mobilize existing communities to achieve more, and to bring different groups together. Most co-ops come out of a group of people who trust one another, have known each other for a while, and decided to work together.  Co-ops have also been incredibly adept at bringing different groups of people together around a common issue (such as eating healthy food).   

Social Scientists call the benefits of people getting together social capital. Co-ops, are great at both “bonding” social capital, strengthening the connections within an existing group, and “bridging” social capital, bringing different groups together.

Today’s challenge is to look at your social capital as well as how your charming and dynamic personality and amazing social skills bond and bridge social capital. Here’s a short exercise to complete that will give you an idea about your social capital. You will need something to write with (pencils, pens, markers) and something to write on (paper, flip-chart paper, the back of your hand….)

  1. In the centre of the paper draw a small circle. In this circle write the names of the people who are closest to you (e.g. your family)
  2. Next, draw a second ring around the first circle. In the distance space between the outer ring and the first circle list the names of all the people you could count on in your community. These are the people whose opinions you trust and would go to in a crisis and vice versa.  Who would you lend your new truck to?
  3. Draw another ring and list the names of people : you work with, play rec sports with, are members of the same groups (church, PTA, Rotary, etc) see at parties,  teachers, your kids’ teachers, neighbors,
  4. Draw another ring and include the people you see on a regular basis. The people in your neighborhood, the people at the coffee shop in the morning, the bus driver on your commute.
  5. You might be out of space by now, but why not list people you know outside of your community but share something in common. Perhaps they play on a rival sports team and you see them at an annual tournament, or conference, etc.

Now that your chart is filled up with people, take a different coloured pen or marker and see if you can connect some of the names based on if they know each other through you. For example if you invited a co-worker to join your rec hockey league, you could connect their name to the other names you’ve listed in your chart. 

Each ring in your diagram could represent how YOU have bonded social capital. For every connection you make between names, and even between rings it shows how much social capital you have bridged!

Now that you have identified all of your social capital (wow! You’re popular!) give 3 of the people in your chart a call, send ten of these people an email, and have a chat (in person)  with five of them!


Yesterday’s challenge looked at how co-operatives could play a role in addressing issues in your community. One of the pillars of a democratic society is a free and independent media. However, with the decline of newspapers (especially local news!) and the increasing power of large corporations and media conglomerates to control the message, free and independent could go the way of the evening post.  Rupert Murdoch and the News of the World Scandalprovide a fairly good example of the systemic nature of this problem.  

Fortunately, Co-operatives are playing an active role in providing free and independent media!

Groups like The Dominion and their network of Media Co-operativesCo-operative News, and a variety of other grassroots news outlets (Axiom news!) and member driven and funded (but not co-operative) organizations like Democracy Now are leaders in providing amazing journalism on important issues. There are also a number of great journalists who report on co-ops.

Today’s Challenge is to read a new story from a co-operative media source!

  • How could media co-operatives address a lack of relevant (and high-quality) news in your community?
  • What stories are under-reported in your community? 
  • Think about where you get your news? 

We took a two day breather from the 30 Day Challenge; due mainly to align the start date of co-op week, and then 30 days of fun, with the start of The Gathering of Alberta Co-operatives. We hope that you had a great weekend and took some great co-op pictures.

At this point you are well on your way to becoming a co-op expert.

Today’s challenge is all about how co-ops can provide solutions to broader social issues. Think about an important issue in your community (and beyond), how could a co-op address this issue? Is the provision of important services unavailable or lacking? Is the cost of goods and services too high? Is there a shortage of affordable housing, or access to meaningful work? Co-ops, all over the world are working to address these issues and more.

For today your challenge is to:

  • List needs and opportunities in your community
    • What people places and things do you consider assets, and what areas could use some help?
    • What is an issue a lot of people are talking about?
  • What type of co-op could provide a service to strengthen an asset or meet a need?
    • Who would be the members of the co-op?
  • How would you describe this co-op to someone over a cup of coffee?

   Here are some amazinng resources of co-ops that provide health-care, housing, meaningful work, and more!

Health Care Co-op Federation of Canada

Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada

Canadian Worker Co-op Federation


It has been a busy week; especially if your name is Barack Obama!

Today’s challenge is relatively straight forward:   take a picture of co-ops, credit unions, and co-operation in your community.  

If you like, post it on facebook or twitter.

Try to capture all of the amazing things your co-op does, or that feeling of accomplishing something with people you care about!

Most important, HAVE FUN! 


If you’re having trouble getting started with today’s challenge, this clip will surely help! 


Every year Albertans put over 4 BILLION dollars of their hard earned savings into registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). The majority of this amount leaves their communities after being traded on stock exchanges on Bay Street and Wall Street.  

At the same time many communities are having difficulty accessing financing for local business development. This results in fewer jobs, lower wages, and most likely an increase in big box stores.

However, co-ops are playing an important role in helping communities invest locally to finance local business development, meet community needs, create jobs that pay better, and build community pride.

Certain co-ops in Canada have a special exemption that enables them to raise capital through selling exempt market RRSP eligible shares in their business to both members and non-members. This means that the shares cannot be traded on a stock market.  More important it allows people to invest in co-ops without the co-operative having to go through the lengthy and expensive process of issuing a prospectus (the right to sell shares on the public stock exchange).   

In Alberta there are some amazing examples of local investing successes, and with the ACCA’s  Unleashing Local Capital project, we are hoping to develop even more!  Check out the clip below to learn all about local investing and the world famous Sangudo Opportunity Development Co-operative! 

Today’s Challenge is to learn more about Co-ops and Local Investing

  • Invest locally! In most instances you can transfer existing RRSP contributions to purchase “local” shares in a co-op.
  •  Check out some of the various provincial programs that make it easy to invest locally and also provide amazing tax benefits!
  • Learn more about how investing locally drives local economic development!  
  • Learn about how you can invest and support local investing at your local Credit Union.  Check out some of these amazing programs: 

Today’s challenge is all about local investing! Watch this amazing clip from an AMAZING community!