Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Simple Suggestion #65... Join a co-operative

When I was a young mom, there was a baby-sitting cooperative in my neighbourhood. Basically, the young parents of the neighbourhood would look after each others' kids and pay each other co-op tokens that would allow for having their own children looked after in return. No money changed hands, but the parents and little ones of the neighbourhood got to know each other and many friendships were formed. I never did get my act together enough to join that co-op, but when my girls reached playschool age, wouldn't you know that there was a cooperative playschool that had been formed by many of those same parents? And so I did get to know them, and their children, as we all took turns helping out on a regular basis as part of the playschool's requirements.

Any well-organized system that allows for an exchange of services without a lot of money changing hands is a good thing because it provides a place where people meet and share and get to know one another -- and they use less of the planet's resources in the process. There are still plenty of co-operatives, but it takes a bit of looking to find them. Community leagues are a good place to connect with folks who know something about co-operatives like community gardens, carpools, fruit rescue groups, and other organizations that thrive when like-minded people with similar needs come together and work out ways to meet their needs without duplication of services or overuse of "stuff." Edmonton has several housing co-operatives (does everyone need their own washer and dryer?). A few of the men I know have something like a "Tool Co-op" because a mitre saws isn't a daily use item. It just takes a little bit of creative thinking and sharing...

Co-operative living is a brilliant and creative way to combat the overly-individualistic outlook that consumer society endorses. We don't all need to run out to the mall to buy everything if we share what possessions, talents and abilities we have! If you're part of a co-operative, leave me a comment -- I'd love to hear about it!

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.


  1. Hi Maria it's Christine I guess we are a little co-op with my daughter since we are all moving in together & sharing a house & washer & drier & yard ect.....& some meals & cable & internet. The house is big enough so we have our own space but the cost for renting between us is quite a bit lower. Here's to co-ops. I love your moodings HUGS Christine

  2. I grew up in a housing co-op! It was certainly intersting. It had its plus sides and minuses too but we lived there for almost 20 years so it wasn't that bad! I'd do it again, if the need ever arose.

    My daughter's new school is a co-op as well, funny enough. We start that on Thursday so I can't say anything about it yet but from the outside, it seems pretty good.


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