Empowering Worker Owners in Illinois’ Food System
Dear Friends & Supporters,
We are beyond excited that as of August 9, worker cooperatives are legally recognized by the state of Illinois. This a great accomplishment for cooperators across the state. Illinois is one of a few leading states (we only know of 12 other states) who passed laws recognizing the cooperative business model.
We're celebrating this historic victory by taking a moment to reflect on the journey bringing us here.
We joined a small but mighty group of partners dedicated to move the legislation forward. We became founding members of the Illinois Coalition for Cooperative Advancement (ICCA), an emerging statewide coalition dedicated to uplifting worker cooperative policies, and the impetus behind the successful passage of the Illinois Limited Worker Cooperative Association Act.
While historically food policy councils across the nation focus primarily on food access, food security, and food procurement, we are part of a growing trend of councils that are also committed to racial equity, economic development, and food sovereignty.
The food system disproportionately impacts communities of color, from low wages in the food service sector, labor exploitation of farmworkers, to lack of land ownership for BIPOC farmers to food apartheid in segregated communities of color in Chicago.
Worker cooperatives offer a business model addressing many of the root causes we see within our food system. They help generate wealth, promote collaboration, and are a proven model working in vulnerable communities.
Our involvement with ICCA and the Illinois Limited Worker Cooperative Association Act marks the beginning of our organizational investment in statewide policy. While we're primarily based in Chicago, what happens in Springfield affects us locally and our neighboring communities.
From long trips to Springfield to preparing one-pagers for our legislators, we’ve accumulated a lot of good memories and lessons learned.
We look forward to co-creating policy to build community power in the years to come.
Illinois Coalition for Cooperative Advancement (ICCA) Partners include: 103rd State District – Office of Rep. Carol Ammons, Catatumbo Cooperative Farm, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos – United Workers’ Center, Chicago Community & Workers’ Rights, Coop Ed Center, Cooperative Visionarias, Council of Cooperative Economists, D@W Chicago, Domestic Worker and Day Labor Center, Englewood Village Farm*, Grow Greater Englewood, John Marshall Law School, Illinois Worker Cooperative Alliance, LVEJO, Kola Nut Collaborative, New Era Windows, Raise the Floor Alliance, and the Street Vendors Association of Chicago.