• Cooperative Design Lab Celebration 4/25 in Augusta

    Please join us to eat good food and learn about the new forming cooperatives emerging from Cooperative Fermentation’s 3-month long Cooperative Design Lab. This celebration will happen at the end of a day of great workshops at the Principle 6 Conference (from 9am-3pm at the Viles Arboretum). Members of the cooperatives who completed the program will showcase their ventures with short presentations, opportunities for questions, connecting, and revelry!


  • Ecologies of Enterprise: 8 Forms of Capital for a New Economy

    Ecologies of Enterprise: 8 Forms of Capital for a New Economy

    Based on the work of Ethan Roland and Gregory Laguna, this workshop will explore the 8 forms of capital framework as explained in their book Regenerative Enterprise: Optimization for Multi-capital Abundance. Participants will use the framework as a lens through which to view the food system. This workshop is a piece of the Cooperative Design Lab and donations received will benefit the current participants Cooperative Design Lab.

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  • Cooperative Design Lab

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    Cooperative Design Lab  

    a development course for worker, producer and hybrid cooperatives

    Click here for complete information and registration

    Cooperatives build local economic resilience by meeting community needs for goods, services and jobs through shared democratic business ownership. Cooperative Fermentation, a project of the Resilience Hub, is offering this course to strengthen the network of cooperatives in the region and to support the formation of co-ops in local farming and food production.

    Come to Cooperative Design Lab if you want to:

    • start a cooperativenepermacultureworkshop2.jpg

    • expand your group’s capacity and skills

    • convert your business to a cooperative

    • help develop cooperatives in your community

    Course Overview

    Participants will gain the knowledge, skills and capacity to start a cooperative business.

    Through the course, participants will:

    • go through a step-by-step process to create a co-op

    • plan their business

    • prepare and share meals together

    • engage in personal development

    • discern appropriate organizational structures

    • learn tools for cooperative leadership and management

    • connect to mentors, coaching and technical assistance

    • explore the role of cooperatives in building a resilient economy

    Cooperative Design Lab will meet three weekends from January to March in 2015 (Jan 31 & Feb 1, Feb 21 & Mar 1, Mar 21 & 22) and online for webinars. There will be homework including readings, films, group projects, and journal work. In celebration of course completion, participants will have the opportunity to present their ideas to an audience of community members, mentors, funders, and policy makers.


    How to apply: Use this linkto apply online. After you submit your application, the organizers will contact you to assist you with the registration process. Please submit before January 15th. Remember, if you register by December 15, you receive $100 off tuition!

  • Co-optail Hour 10/29, 5-7pm

    Cabot Farmer’s Annex 163 Commercial St. Portland
    Happy Co-op Month! Join Cooperative Fermentation and Cabot Creamery Cooperative in celebrating cooperatives.  This will be a great time to meet with other co-ops and learn about co-ops in the greater Portland area.   We will also be drawing a winning raffle ticket for Cabot cheese to benefit Cooperative Fermentation’s learning and co-op development programs. The Co-optail Hour will feature Cabot’s Award Winning Cheeses, local beer from Allagash and Fermented Foods from Cooperative Fermentation.

  • Cooperative Farm Design Day

    Cooperative Farm Design Day

    Participants will learn about how to start a farm cooperative through this daylong workshop.  They will explore ways that farms and farmers cooperate together to access land, share tools and labor, share responsibilities, and to increase their markets.  This workshop will share examples of farm cooperatives including worker and producer models.

     In the afternoon, participants will work together to design a cooperative farm business.  Through this process, new cooperative farm ideas will start to grow and be spread in the Maine food system. 


    Speakers include:
    ​Faith Gilbert: Faith is a co-founder and vegetable farmer for Letterbox Farm Collective, a collectively-owned and -operated diversified farm in Hudson, NY.  She is the author of Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together, and a local organizer in her farm community in New York's Hudson Valley.



    Gloria LaBrecque: Gloria works with the Cooperative Fund of New England visiting cooperatives who may be current and potential borrowers, providing technical assistance, administration of the loan portfolio, and marketing the Fund in the northeastern part of New England.  Gloria’s experience has been working with credit unions since 1992 as a performance consultant for the Northeast region of CUNA Mutual Group and CUNA’s Center for Professional Development.   Gloria is an active member of the Board of Trustees at Williston-Immanuel United Church in Portland, ME and is also a member of the Board of Directors at the Cooperative Development Institute as well as the Portland Food Co-op.

    Jonah Fertig: Jonah Fertig is the coordinator and founder of Cooperative Fermentation.  He focuses on helping people create worker and producer cooperatives in the Maine food system.  He works with the Cooperative Development Institute, the Resilience Hub and the Democracy at Work Network.  He has co-founded several organizations and businesses including Local Sprouts Cooperative, Machigonne Community Land Trust and the Meg Perry Center, and lives on a cooperative organic farm in Arundel, Maine. 

    Rob Brown:  Rob Brown lives in Northport and is the Director of Cooperative Development Institute’s Business Ownership Solutions program (BOS), working with small businesses in Maine to convert them to worker  cooperatives.  He has also worked to convert mobile home parks to Resident Owned Cooperatives.  Most rec

    The workshop is $20-30 and we accept barters and work-trade.  If you are interested in either of these options, please contact us at jonah.fertig@gmail.com

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  • Cooperative Fermentation Farm Dinner

    Cooperative Fermentation Farm Dinner

    Come celebrate the harvest with a traditional Maine Bean Supper with a Fermented Twist

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  • Creating Cooperatives in our Communities Tour

    “Creating Cooperatives in our Communities” Tour on the Maine coast Starting 7/27

    & Celebrating Worker Cooperatives event at Local Sprouts Cooperative on 8/5

    Cooperative Fermentation, a new project working to democraticize the food system through creating cooperatives, will be hitting the road for the last week of July to share information about cooperatives in Maine communities. The tour will begin on Vinalhaven, then go up to Eastport, Machias and Stonington before coming back inland to Waterville and then to Portland.

    Each workshop will present information about cooperatives including an exploration of the values of cooperatives, history of cooperatives in the United States, and the structures and finances of cooperatives. The second half of the workshop will be a participatory design session where participants will share cooperative ideas and then work together on designing a cooperative for their community.

    This tour is happening amongst a groundswell of interest in cooperatives in Maine, Regionally, Nationally and Internationally. In Maine, many new cooperative efforts are starting up including over five new local foods retail stores, farming cooperatives, restaurants, service cooperatives and more.   In June, employees of three stores in Stonington purchased the businesses from the owner turning it into the largest worker cooperative in Maine. Later that same week, the City Council in New York City approved a $1.2 million dollar budget for worker cooperative development. Similar efforts are underway in towns and cities across the country to build a more democratic economy that can meet the needs of people in their community.

    Cooperatives are businesses rooted in their communities that support people’s voices in their workplace which helps to grow a more vibrant, democratic economy and society.

    Help support the Creating Cooperatives in our Communities Tour by donating to Cooperative Fermentation


    Tour Schedule

    July 27, 7pm: Vinalhaven Town Hall

    July 29: Machias, no public event, contact us to meet up and talk about cooperatives

    July 30, 6pm: Eastport Frontier Bank, 30 Water St.

    August 1st, 5pm: Barrels Community Market, Waterville

    August 5th, 7pm: Local Sprouts Cooperative, 649 Congress St. Portland:

    Celebrating Worker Cooperatives: Amy Johnson, Membership Coordinator of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives will be visiting Maine to connect the work of the National Worker Cooperative Movement with local cooperative work here in Maine. This informal night will provide an opportunity for people to meet one another, learn about worker co-ops, connect with the US Federation and share inspiration to create more cooperatives in our communities.


    The Creating Cooperatives Tour is supported by the Cooperative Development Institute, the Broad Reach Fund, and the Resilience Hub.


    For more information contact: Jonah Fertig, 207-615-9970, Jonah.fertig@gmail.com www.cooperativefermentation.org


  • Cooperative Fermentation

    Cooperative Fermentation’s mission is to democratize the Maine food system through creating multi-stakeholder cooperatives in farming, food processing and restaurants.  This will be accomplished through incubation of new co-ops, popular education and presentations, hands-on food production, facilitation and supporting cooperative organizers to transition existing food and farm businesses.

    Our food system has grown, our local infrastructure is rebuilding, and our farms are being restored. This change is bubbling up from communities and individuals that have visions of a different way of eating and living. We are learning from the past and creating a new food system.  Our resilient cultures are growing and creating new ferments on our farms, boats and kitchens.

    Cooperative Fermentation is spreading knowledge, inspiration, and possibilities about cooperative and community-owned businesses to our Maine food system.   We are sharing the starter cultures that help ferment our visions and create new infrastructure that increases our self sufficiency.