We've realized that blazing a trail requires openness to experimentation, a willingness to learn from mistakes, and a fascination with possibilities. These are the qualities that made it possible for us to get through 2009, the year we faced our toughest challenge yet.
At the beginning of 2009 our first and only cooperative, ReBuilders Source, was threatened with having to close its doors because of insufficient sales. Its original members could no longer afford to continue to pay themselves. The worker co-op we had worked so hard on for so many years was in critical condition, and lying with it was our dream for a South Bronx incubator for worker-owned green businesses. In response, the staff at Green Worker Cooperatives met the challenge head on. We put on boots and coveralls and helped restructure operations, dug up financial support; and trained a new team of Co-op Academy graduates to further transform ReBuilders Source’s operations. We partnered with Arbor Education & Training to expand staffing at ReBuilders Source while providing work opportunities for members of our community who’d been formerly incarcerated.
What started out the year for us as a life threatening challenge motivated us to do some serious reflection on what was missing in our work. It became the catalyst for a series of transitions that have since unveiled a treasure of opportunity.