I am reading a book from the library about a Collective based in Berkeley that was set-up in the 60’s. What is so extraordinary about The Cheese Board Collective is that they are still alive and well today.

Based on the kibbutz model, all the workers are paid equally. They have no hierarchy, and every member of the collective has equal power. Important business decisions are made by consensus.

As Olivia says in the book “I actually enjoy coming to work…I feel that I have a luxury of time that somebody earning six figures doesn’t have. Its very precious to me. Only in a place like this could I have that.”

This extraordinary worker-owned business grew organically, starting as a cheese shop. Soon they expanded to making their own bread, then started making pizzas in the 80’s. The pizza shop is actually run as an independent business alongside the original cheese and bread shop. Each day the collective makes a “Pizza of the Day” –

(Friday’s pizza (03.05.2010):

Asparagus, Shitake mushrooms, mozzarella and Montalban manchego cheese, garlic olive oil, fresh herbs.

Saturday’s pizza (03.06.2010):

Roma tomatoes, onions, mozzarella cheese, pinenuts, garlic olive oil, basil parmesan cheese.

Their website states that:

For tax and liability purposes it has been incorporated, with each collective member an equal shareholder and member of the board of directors. Upon joining each member is given ten shares worth $100/share. When a member leaves these shares are sold back to the corporation. All members are paid an equal hourly wage. Profits go to buy new equipment, raise wages, or are placed into our retirement fund. Moneys placed into this fund are distributed based on hours worked.

Pam: “Making food is both an art and a craft. To me, it’s life. My mom was a good cook. She had a wok in the fifties, a nice Jewish lady with a wok. I love shopping. I love to watch food grow. I love to play with it. I love eating.”

These workers feel that they are contributing to something important and nourishing of life. How satisfying.


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Some simple tips for going green

Many of us are doing what we can in our own homes to reduce our footprints and be sustainable. What about the workplace?

Turning off lights, reducing paper-use, recycling office consumables and using public transport or car-sharing are all easily implementable options.

I love Friends of the Earth’s approach, but unfortunately the suggestions are UK based. Here’s some Australian links:

ecobuy

econatural

Flexicar

Carpool

CarbonMarket

REAP ecopaper guide

For more practical suggestions to go green at your workplace try these links:

Planet Green

Sierra Club

crab colony on Bruny IslandWhat does this really mean?

Is it possible to have a truly democratic space on the internet for everyone to contribute?

I have been Twittering for a few months now, and have found this the most open place to contribute my own or hear other’s point of view. You can be highly political, or not. Its up to you.

However, the limitations of 140 characters may not work for all. Also it can be hard to keep on track. Pretty, shiny, juicy tit-bits of information contantly pop-up and its easy to be diverted.

Here is something newish: Open Forum (http://www.openforum.com.au/content/learning-change) This is what they say about what it is:

OpenForum.com.au is a non-partisan site that aims to stimulate focused discussion on social, political, economic, ecological and cultural issues facing us today.

The site accomplishes this in two significant ways; by promoting time-limited (and often outcomes-based) discussion on forums, and through less formal blogs, written by and for users of the site.

Now a collaborative thinktank is a great idea. They go on to say a little bit more about the site:

Open Forum is an independent collaborative think-tank built around an interactive discussion website hosted and moderated by Global Access Partners (GAP). It provides a platform for focused dialogue on social, political, economic, ecological and cultural issues and challenges.

The Forum is registration-based and enables participants to make connections, share their opinions and concerns, test their ideas, raise and discuss specific topics, suggest solutions and ultimately contribute to policy development and economic outcomes for government and business, as well as the democratic process in general.

With support from the Australian Government and a number of industry partners, the forum operates as a powerful web-based consultative mechanism enabling access to and by, key people in our community.

Sounds SERIOUS, doesnt it? Obviously, there will be no 140 characters mini-posts showing up here. Also, if you don’t have a post-graduate degree, political affiliations or connections with the movers and shakers of Australia, chances are you will be too intimidated to post here. Yes, you’ve got to have balls.

Anyhoo, back to twitter, here’s a post that interestingly, twitter put me onto.

Twitter the forum killer. Read it and join up, now!

Open sky?The future of Work Agenda Newsletter has hit my inbox, and Jim Ware and Charlie Grantham of the Work Design Collaborative have this to say re 2009:

The people of America are tired. Tired of being afraid; tired of checking under the bed every night for the boogeyman; and, yes, tired of being taken for granted while greed and hubris run rampant.

So we enter a new year with Hope (sometimes that’s all we have). In 2009 that’s hope for new leadership – leadership that is already being tested by the lesser angels.

So what does all this mean for the future of work? Our short answer is “A lot.” We think Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, said it best when he spoke recently about the events of the past few months, saying “Someone has hit the reset button. This is not a normal change in the business cycle.”

Read more of their article

Over at Do You Stand For Something, they speculate that 2009 is a turning point where:

we might expect to see the role of corporations in cause-related activities to be diminished as government and individual involvement increase in caring for communities.

My favourite predictions for the year come from the Future Exploration Blog. Their Trend Map is in downloadable pdf format. I’m always a sucker for pretty pictures!