CoopCon 2019 A Better Economy Is One That We Own

The Cooperative Conference (CoopCon) will build momentum for current and future cooperative leaders to start and actively participate in localized, grassroot cooperatives by providing a foundational, energizing and hands-on education about cooperatives. The 150 attendees will be farmers, entrepreneurs, community organizers and cooperative members from Wisconsin and the surrounding states.
As a group of cooperative members and cooperative organizers, we will create a learning experience to turn ideas into action, connect cooperative leaders with one another, and provide time, space, and community to investigate cooperative principles.

We recognize that the cooperative ownership model has the ability to address most of society’s economic injustices by creating a means for broad, democratic ownership and localized economic solutions. We recognize there are many types of cooperatives and the structure can apply to businesses and organizations in every industry and facet of society. By providing the time and space to examine cooperative ideas with others, we will build momentum for cooperative development in our communities.

Goals/Intended Outcomes

Inspire the beginning of new cooperatives

Inspire the revitalization of old coops

Develop novel approaches to cooperative development and organizing

Raise the standard of cooperative governance

Create connections among coop leaders

Create an accessible learning environment for all ranges of cooperative experience

Time, Place, Cost, Lodging, Child Care

November 1 & 2, 2019 – Stevens Point, WI
IDEA Center ~ Central Rivers Farmshed ~ The church at 1417 Church Street
Registration: $60.00 – all meals listed in the schedule are included. Limited scholarships are available. The conference organizers are volunteers. All registration fees and sponsorships are used to pay for meals, travel and lodging for speakers, and the very affordable venue costs. Free lodging is available on a limited basis for people willing to stay with a friend of Cooperative Point on a couch or in a guest room. Click here for further lodging options. Free child care will be provided if requested.

Questions: email Lyn at


Rebecca Kemble – (taken from Toward Freedom publication) Rebecca Kemble is the past President of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the President of CICOPA North America, the sub-regional body of the worker cooperative sector of the International Cooperative Alliance. She is also the Vice President of CICOPA Americas and serves on the Executive Board of CICOPA worldwide.  Rebecca is a worker-owner at Union Cab Cooperative where she has served as chairperson of the Education and Strategic Planning Committees. She helped develop and implement innovative peer support systems including the Steward and Mediation Councils that have become integral parts of Union Cab’s democratic governance and management structures.  In 2015 she was elected to the Madison City Council and was reelected in 2017. Rebecca is also a writer for The Progressive magazine, and founding member and editor at the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. Rebecca earned a PhD (a.b.d.) in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lives in Madison, WI.

D. Rooney – D. is of mixed Latinx and European descent, a gender non-binary vegetable farmer and co-worker/owner of Rock Steady Farm and Flowers in Millerton/Hudson Valley, NY. D. was inspired to farm after recognizing food disparity at a local, regional and national level. D. learned how to grow food during their time as a certificate student at FarmSchool NYC. D. has experience in social, environmental, and food justice movements in the NYC and Hudson Valley NY communities. D. is currently a Seeding Power Fellow with Community Food Funders, directed by the Northstar Foundation. The Seeding Power Fellowship is an innovative 18 month cohort-based food justice fellowship program for experienced leaders working across sectors to build an equitable food systems across NYC, Long Island and Hudson valley.

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D. Rooney – Credit:


Content is focused on five tracks that we see as priorities for development, have some experience with, and have connections to active startups. 

Cooperative Farms Track
Breakout #1: Land access, Flexibility, Community & Capital – Danny Werachowski & Polly Dalton, Rising Sand Organics Cooperative Farm
Breakout #2: Coop Your Idea: Interactive workshop designed to turn projects or ideas into workable cooperative structures. Bring your own ideas or join the process just to learn! This session will focus on cooperative farms and land access for beginning farmers.
Breakout #3: A Journey and Survey of Intentional Communities: Learn about the organizational structures and decision-making processes of intentional communities throughout the US. – Liam O’Brien
Breakout #4: Cooperative Farm Panel Q&A – Rising Sand Organics, Rock Steady Farm, Liam O’Brien. Cooperative farmers answering your questions.
Breakout #5: +TBA

Governance of Cooperatives Track
Breakout #1: Running for the Board of Directors at Outpost Natural FoodsAnna, Rick, Alex, & Brandy
Breakout #2: Understanding and Designing Cooperative Articles and Bylaws – Oren Jakobson, RA Cook & JI Altenburg Cooperative
Breakout #3: Three Years of Non-hierarchical Cooperative Management – Lyn Ciurro & Melissa Rice, Stevens Point Area Coop
Breakout #4: Coop Your Idea: Interactive workshop designed to turn projects or ideas into workable cooperative structures. Bring your own ideas or join the process just to learn! This session will focus on structuring articles and bylaws to meet your organizational goals.
Breakout #5: Governance Panel Q&A: Michelle Miller, John Peck, Oren Jakobson

Worker Cooperatives & Transitions Track
Breakout #1: A Stake in the Outcome: Implementing Open-Book Management in Co-op Enterprises – Tom Strong, The Great Game of Business
Breakout #2: Panel – Learn how North Wind Renewable Energy made the decision to convert to a worker co-op and planned toward their collective future. The panel discussion will offer insights from an original owner, a member-owner of the worker cooperative and skilled professionals North Wind turned to for their expertise. The Panel will be facilitated by Margaret Bau, USDA Rural Development and will include: Josh Stolzenburg, CEO and Member-Owner, North Wind Renewable Energy, Doug Stingle, Sales Manager and Member-Owner, North Wind Renewable Energy, Courtney Berner, UW Center for Cooperatives, and Jenny Riggenbach, Strategic Planning Facilitator
Breakout #3: Cooperative Minigame Workshop: Learn to identify key drivers for your co-op’s success and co-create a fun, interactive game to improve on those drivers as a team – Tom Strong, The Great Game of Business
Breakout #4: Panel Q&A – +TBA
Breakout #5: Coop Your Idea: Interactive workshop designed to turn projects or ideas into workable cooperative structures. Bring your own ideas or join the process just to learn! This session will focus on worker coops and transitioning existing businesses to the cooperative model.
One-on-one consulting sessions with Tom Strong will be available by sign-up on Saturday.

Producer Cooperatives Track
Breakout #1: Shared Ground Farmers Co-op, St Paul MN
Breakout #2: Panel Q&A: Stevens Point Farmers Market Association, South Central Wisconsin Hemp Cooperative, SLO Farmers Co-op, Shared Ground Farmers Co-op
Breakout #3: New Leadership After Decades Under One Manager – Joel Kuehnhold & Emily Grygas – Stevens Point Farmers Market Association
Breakout #4: A New Producer Cooperative in a New MarketSouth Central Wisconsin Hemp Cooperative – FL Morris, Grassroots Farm
Breakout #5: Structure and Governance of SLO Farmers Co-op – Andrew Adamski, Full Circle Farm

Associational Development Track
Breakout #1: Panel Q&A – Driftless Co-option, Booth Street Coop, Trash Weezle Art Collective. No fluff, just your questions.
Breakout #2: Finding Collective Strength in an Exclusionary Field – Jac Weitzel, Trashweezle Art Collective
Breakout #3: Coop Your Idea: Interactive workshop designed to turn projects or ideas into workable cooperative structures. Bring your own ideas or join the process just to learn! This session will focus on informal associations and community organizations.
Breakout #4: Nine Years of Shared Effort – Running a wholesale food coop with no employees – KJ Jakobson, Driftless Co-option
Breakout #5: Establishing an Informal Housing Cooperative – Sarah Shay & Liam O’Brien, Booth Street Coop


Friday, Nov 1
8a – 9a – Registration
9a – 10:30a – Welcome + Keynote – Rebecca Kemble
11a – 12:15a – Breakout #1
12:30 – 1:30p – Lunch
2p – 3:15p – Breakout #2
3:30 – 4:45p – Breakout #3
5 – 6p – Happy Hour
6 – 7:30p – Dinner
8p – 12p – Music & Dance @ PABS // Craft & Gaming @ IDEA Center

Saturday, Nov 2
7a – 9a – Early Morning Activities – Light breakfast, coffee, yoga
9a – 10:15a – Breakout #4
10:45a -12a – Breakout #5
12:30 – 1:30p – Lunch
2 – 3:30p – Keynote – D. Rooney, Rock Steady Farm
3:30 – 5:30p – 1st Annual Meeting of Cooperative Point


Wisconsin Farmers Union
North Wind Renewable Energy Cooperative
Stevens Point Area Cooperative
Rising Sand Organics Cooperative Farm
Central Rivers Farmshed
Create Portage County
Family Farm Defenders
Outpost Natural Foods
Agora – Local Makers Market
Segura & Sons Mushroom Farm