Cooperative Business Enterprises Course Features Industry Speakers Sharing Real-Life Cooperative Experiences
April 30, 2019
During the ARE 132 Cooperative Business Enterprises course in winter quarter 2019, eight guest speakers from the co-op industry helped students gain a basic understanding of the business structure through sharing their experiences. They also introduced summer internship opportunities for interested students.
Guest speakers included:
- Cobank: Brett Lauppe, Regional Vice President; Jeff Ornellas, Senior Credit Analyst
- Blue Diamond Growers: Alicia Rockwell, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
- Food Co-ops: Prasanna Regmi, General Manager of Davis Food Co-op; Dan Arnett, General Manager of Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op
- Butte County Rice Growers Association (BUCRA): Carl Hoff, President & CEO
- Land O’ Lakes: Tom Wegner, Director of Governance, Leader of Development and Staff Development
- The Cheese Board Collective: Cathy Goldsmith, Worker-Owner
This course introduces students to cooperatives and other collaborative forms of business. You will learn about the role of cooperatives in market-oriented economies and familiarize yourself with fundamentals of operations including governance, financing, distribution of benefits, and related legislation. While coops evoke social and political connotations, we will focus on cooperatives as economic organizations. We will mostly discuss agricultural and grocery cooperatives as well as related collaborative structures (e.g. marketing orders, CSAs, and food hubs). However, principles of cooperative behavior are quite similar across different industries such that students interested in non-agricultural cooperatives may benefit from this course as well.
Among many highlights of the course was that Cathy Goldsmith of the Cheese Board Collective treated the class to food samples at the end of the quarter. If interested in attending, the next course is scheduled for winter quarter 2020.
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