Seed Libraries Featured in The Journal Gazette
Rosa Salter Rodriguez highlighted seed libraries and our advocacy work on behalf of seed libraries for The Journal Gazette in Indiana.Read more
Small Is Still Beautiful
By: Courtney E. Martin
(Originally published September 25, 2015)
"Janelle is wise about small. In fact, she spends her days thinking about all of the ways we can navigate around, subvert, and change the laws that inhibit us from 'solving the most elementary problems of everyday existence,' i.e. create worker-owned businesses and other resilient and radical kinds of community organizations. (She also spends her days sketching out her ideas, as she’s literally the 'cartoonist-in-chief.')"
Read the full article on onbeing.org.
Oakland Is Claiming Its Worker Cooperative Capital Title
By: Malcolm Burnley
(Originally published September 22, 2015)
"[O]n September 8th, the City Council made good with a ceremonious resolution 'supporting the development of worker cooperatives in Oakland.'
Among other items, the move recognized that these sorts of businesses — estimated to number between 300 and 400 nationally — offer wages and benefits above industry averages. The resolution, too, was a tacit acknowledgement from Council that the city will look for ways to support co-ops down the road . . .
What that municipal support might look like is to be determined. But in a draft ordinance authored by the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), one of the organizing forces behind the referendum, the wish list for worker co-ops includes: getting the city to offer low-interest loans for converting traditional businesses into worker co-ops; preferential status to co-ops in the city contract procurement process; and waiving taxes and permit fees in the initial year of existence."
Oakland City Council Looks to Provide Support for Worker Cooperatives
"The Oakland City Council is considering a resolution to support an unconventional business model that some say can help fight income inequality in the East Bay. The resolution, which the council will review at its September 8 meeting, is aimed at encouraging the development of worker cooperatives, which are businesses that are owned and governed by employees, meaning workers share profits and tend to make above-average wages.
"The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), an Oakland-based nonprofit that worked with Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington on the resolution, said the measure is largely symbolic but hopes it will be a precursor to the passage of more concrete reforms that would incentivize the growth of these businesses in the city."
Oakland set to be a leader in workplace cooperatives
By: Sara Stephens
(Originally published August 31, 2015)
"On Sept. 8, community members will pack Oakland City Hall to celebrate the City Council's groundbreaking resolution to support worker cooperatives as a powerful tool for economic development and democratic, empowering workplaces. The resolution will recognize the benefits that worker cooperatives bring to local economies, especially to Oakland, which is a national hub for such enterprises.
"Oakland will be one of the first cities in the country to integrate tailored support for worker cooperatives into its business assistance center.
"This resolution is a first step toward a broader worker cooperative development strategy. Following this event, the Sustainable Economies Law Center and partner organizations will work with Councilwoman Annie Campbell Washington and others in the city to pass an ordinance that creates meaningful incentives and investment in worker cooperatives."
At Airbnb, growth brings scrutiny, regulation
"Airbnb profits from transactions," said Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, city policies program director at the Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland. "There's no incentive for them to put limits on how many people can do this, how much they can charge or how many homes they list."
But, she notes, Airbnb is mindful of political pressure. And when pushed, it has agreed to changes.
Sustainable Economies Law Center in Fast Company article about Gig Economy Workers
Sarah Kessler published a piece in Fast Company entitled, "What does a Union look like in the Gig Economy?"
Janelle Orsi, from the Sustainable Economies Law Center, advocates for a worker-owned platform model:
"The only way for independent workers to really benefit from the platforms that use their labor, argues Janelle Orsi, a lawyer who specializes in sharing economy issues, is for them to own the platforms themselves, in what she calls a 'freelancer-owned cooperative.' Since these platforms would by definition treat workers better, she thinks they could challenge companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Homejoy by essentially stealing their workforces. 'The companies themselves have very few assets," she says. "They don’t own cars, and they don’t own infrastructure, they don’t own hotels. They just own a software platform and a lot of clout. And if that clout goes away, then they just have software. And lots of people can create software.'"
Read the whole article here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3042081/what-does-a-union-look-like-in-the-gig-economy
Seed Libraries Fight For the Right to Share
February 11, 2015
It’s easy to take seeds for granted. Tiny dry pods hidden in packets and sacks, they make a brief appearance as gardeners and farmers collect them for future planting then later drop them into soil. They are not “what’s for dinner,” yet without them there would be no dinner. Seeds are the forgotten heroes of food—and of life itself.
Sharing these wellsprings of sustenance may sound innocuous enough, yet this increasingly popular exchange—and wider seed access—is up against a host of legal and economic obstacles. The players in this surreal saga, wherein the mere sharing of seeds is under attack, range from agriculture officials interpreting seed laws, to powerful corporations expanding their proprietary and market control.
Sustainable Economies Law Center on CBS Bay Area Focus
On Sunday, January 25th, the Sustainable Economies Law Center's Janelle Orsi and Ricardo Nuñez were interviewed by CBS' Bay Area Focus! They spoke about the work SELC does and why legal resources are needed in every community to support the creation of cooperatives, renewable energy, shared housing and transportation, and more! Watch the video below!Read more
Duluth Library's Seed Sharing Program Hits A Hurdle
By: Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
(Originally published November 30, 2014)
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has given a thumbs down to a Duluth seed-sharing program that allows members to borrow vegetable seeds from the library in the spring and later return seeds they collect from their gardens.
State agriculture regulators say the exchange — one of about 300 in the United States — violates the state's seed law because it does not test seeds.