since 1965  (really?)

Cooperatives: Alternative Business Models for a Resilient Economy

This course listing applies to a Fall 2015 course. To find current courses, check out the Find a Course page.

Fall 2015
ESPM 98/198
2 Unit(s)

Human friendly URL (OBSOLETE)


About the Course:

What is a co-op?

We could define it as a open, member-owned business, but those descriptors are all woefully inadequate. Instead, this class begins with the idea that cooperatives are a historic and radical means of organizing around shared priorities, and that they can be leveraged to solve 21st century problems in ways traditional businesses fail.

In Berkeley, one of the cooperative capitals of the United States, we will trace together the history of cooperatives back from Fenwick & Owen to the old Berkeley Food Cooperative, examining the successes and failures these democratized groups have experienced. Moving onto today's cooperative landscape, we'll analyze how modern cooperatives have reorganized and reoriented themselves to face issues of environmental degradation, social inequality, and economic instability.

To best understand the cooperative movement today, we'll have to experience it ourselves: this means we'll be speaking in-person with seminal figures in co-ops, visiting local businesses as a class, and facilitating a highly-democratic classroom environment by employing cooperative values ourselves.

This class' content strongly influences its structure: we believe learning is best done, well, cooperatively. Come find out more at our first class on Monday, August 31st; location TBA on this page and on the SERC Facebook ( and our catered social event on Tuesday, September 8th from 7-9pm at Ridge House (2420 Ridge Road on north side).


Roberta Giordano, Jeff Noven, Megan Svoboda, Zen Trenholm & the Facilitator Team


Course Contact: jeffnoven AT

Faculty Sponsor: Ignacio Chapela

Time & Location:

Our ClassJeff Noven
30206 WheelerM 4p-6p9/14started29318 (lower)
30188 (upper)

Uploaded Files:

Syllabus: Fall 2015 Syllabus.pdfAug 25355kbAdobe PDF (Viewer)View Download

Course info last modified August 31, 2015. This page has been viewed 2002 times.

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