October is National Co-op Month in the USA, with the nation’s 40,000 co-op businesses being urged to celebrate the movement’s values.
This year’s theme is “Co-ops: By the Community, For the Community” and promotional resources – including logos, posters, images, social media messaging and toolkits – are available at the dedicated website for the month.
The month is organised by the Co-op Month Planning Committee –launched in 2016 at the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) Institute.
National sector body NCBA-Clusa says the theme “is designed to unify messaging during the month of October, but also offer customisable resources that reflect the collaborative, cross-sector nature of the committee”.
The celebration traces its origins back to 1948, when the state of Minnesota declared an official Co-op Month proclamation. It has been nationally recognised since 1964, under a proclamation by US secretary of agriculture Orville Freeman.
From 1964-70, the month was sponsored by the federal government; since then it co-ops, statewide associations and the National Cooperative Business Association have fuelled their own events and promotions.
A study by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, with support from USDA Rural Development, found there are more than 40,000 co-operative businesses in the US, with 350 million members (many people belong to more than one co-op). These co-ops generate $514bn (£415bn) in revenue and more than $25bn (£20bn) in wages.