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NASCO Institute 2020: Choose Your Own Future

Banner Image of NASCO Institute 2020Since 1977, NASCO's Cooperative Education & Training Institute has been widely recognized as one of the most important training and networking opportunities available to members, directors, staff, and managers of group-equity cooperatives. The annual NASCO Institute is always a one-of-a-kind opportunity to network with hundreds of cooperative leaders and employers, to caucus about pressing issues, and to work on building an inclusive and accessible cooperative movement.

Choose your own Future

Currently, cooperatives are facing uncertainty as all of us are in this new reality.  We are focusing on our commitment to a brighter future. Cooperatives are full of imagined possibilities and real solutions to problems of the present and the future. This year we will bring together cooperators to bring to life the future we want to see.

Learn more and register for NASCO Institute 2020

‘Owning the Economy’ Community Wealth Building Summit 2020

Banner with information about event10am to 4:30pm Eastern Time

Join the third annual Community Wealth Building Summit. This one-day summit is the premier UK event for uniting, informing and inspiring the community wealth building movement.

This year’s summit will showcase how community wealth building is being used to rebuild and reform local economies reeling from the impact of Covid-19. It will provide insight into policy and practice from city mayors, national and local governments, communities and practitioners in the UK and beyond; helping us all to build fairer, sustainable, and more resilient local economies in these unprecedented times.

Register for the Community Wealth Building Summit

This year’s event will present opportunities to hear from global thought leaders who are progressing community wealth building policy and from emerging and established practitioners

The summit will help you to:

  • Learn how community wealth building can and should be placed at the heart of the Covid-19 recovery effort;
  • Understand how community wealth building represents a break from failed economic planning;
  • Increase awareness and understanding of the ideas behind community wealth building and the places where they are being applied.

Learn more about the Community Wealth Building Summit

Land As Commons: Building the New Economy

Image banner with information about speakers and event1:00pm to 4:00pm Eastern Time

Sunday, October 25, 2020 is the date of the 40th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures. Kali Akuno and George Monbiot will speak addressing the topic “Land as a Commons: Building the New Economy.” The virtual event will take place from 1pm to 4pm Eastern Daylight Time. The two talks and the live-streamed discussion following will be free to all registered.

The topic is land access, the problems generated by a concentration of ownership, and ways of creating a more fair and equitable system. The Schumacher Center’s own response to the inequities in land access is to call for a voluntary gifting of land into regional community land trusts where its use can be allocated through lease agreements in a socially determined manner outside of market forces.

Register for "Land As Commons: Building the New Economy"

Just Transition–Transformative Strategies on the Frontlines of Struggle

Image featuring speaker names and pictures7pm - 8:15pm Eastern Time

This webinar is the 5th in a series of the Just Transition Listening Project hosted by the Labor Network for Sustainability and friends.

As we stand at the intersection of multiple, intertwined global crises—an environmental justice pandemic, the threat of fascism and white supremacy, and the crash of the fossil fuel economy, it’s hard not to feel despondent about the future of humanity.

However, communities that have historically been most impacted by these crises—Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples on the frontlines of poverty, pollution and police violence, are also cultivating visionary strategies for building a better world—pathways to restore the balance of natural ecosystems and human relations, and sharing these across frontline struggles worldwide.

Register now for the Just Transition - Transformative Strategies on the Frontlines of Struggle webinar

Who are these frontline community leaders?

This panel represents some of the most visionary leaders from Black, Brown and Indigenous communities across North America (Turtle Island)—organizing at the intersection of environmental justice in communities that have historically been the first and most impacted by both the storms, floods, fires and droughts associated with climate change, as well as people who have borne the most disproportionate burdens of pollution, poverty, police violence and pandemic perpetuated by the extractive economy driving climate change.

These four community organizers have been immersed in long-term campaigns and organizing strategies to build local, economic alternatives to replace the same extractive, industrial economy causing these crises, and linking their efforts with state, national and international movement alliances, such as the Climate Justice Alliance, representing the leadership of thousands of frontline communities. 

What can we expect to glean?

Labor and environmental activists can learn how grassroots struggles of radicalized communities are building power and effectively organizing against industries and government policies that are driving pollution, poverty, police violence as well as climate chaos.

We can learn how international unions and green groups need to build shared vision and common cause, as well as bridge the racial divide with these Black, Brown and Indigenous communities who are first and most impacted by pollution, poverty, police violence and climate chaos.

We can also learn how these frontline community strategies to dismantle today’s colonial, extractive economies and build local, living, caring and sharing alternatives – pose the best opportunities for all working class people seeking jobs that are healthy, sustainable and supportive of families and community wellbeing.


  • Host, Panel Moderator: Jeff Johnson, Former President, Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
  • Rosalinda Guillen, Community 2 Community
  • Elizabeth Yeampierre, UPROSE
  • Enei Begaye, Native Movement
  • Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson

Winona LaDuke and Leah Penniman in Conversation

Winona LaDuke and Leah Penniman in Conversation2pm Eastern TIme
Register here

Leah Penniman saw in the history of Black farming cooperatives a way for Americans of color to re-establish a connection with the land and rebuild a culture disrupted by the systematic exclusion from land ownership. 

She turned to the story of the emergence of the community land trust movement out of the civil rights movement in Albany, Georgia in 1967. She studied the agricultural innovations of George Washington Carver, a leading agricultural scientist concerned with soil depletion and as a result, she embraced natural farming methods. She read works by W. E. B. Du Bois, founder of the N.A.A.C.P., pointing to the economic strength of Blacks working cooperatively. She was inspired by Labor Union leader, Fannie Lou Hamer who started “Freedom Farm” a Black cooperative in the Mississippi Delta and who famously said “When you’ve got 400 quarts of greens and gumbo soup for the winter, nobody can push you around or tell you what to say or do.”

If we fail to know our history, then we’re a rootless tree and a rootless tree cannot survive. So we’re going back in our history in order to talk about what we’re doing to further Black agrarianism, to further new economies for Black and Brown people. We really need to understand that the food system isn’t broken. It’s designed and working exactly as it was intended. It was built on stolen land and it was built with stolen labor and that continues today in an unbroken chain that started in 1455.

She and her husband established Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY as a training center to introduce young people of color to farming. For Leah, farming is a political act. It is at the same time an act of joy. And it is an act of service. Much of the produce is distributed to families in the nearby city of Troy. Families who pay only what they can. In Leah’s mind, healthy food should be a right, not dependent on income. 

Seeds are blessed when planted. Ancestors are remembered. Moon and sun, water and earth are all part of the ritual of farming taught at Soul Fire Farm. Leah envisions a repopulating of rural areas by people of color farming cooperatively, building soil and culture and community.  Her vision is compelling, even intoxicating.

Winona LaDuke is an activist, community economist, author and member of the Anishinaabeg peoples. She is an advocate for community land stewardship, local food sovereignty, and regenerative resource use. Her advocacy is persuasive in part because of her ability to communicate stories and ideas of the Anishinaabeg peoples in ways that are both timely and relevant.

She understands that the language surrounding land, resource use, and farming affects how we take care of those things in a very profound way.

According to our way of living and our way of looking at the world, most of the world is animate. This is reflected in our language, Anishinabemowin, in which most nouns are animate. Mandamin, the word for corn is animate; mitig, the word for tree, is animate; so is the word for rice, manomin, and the word for rock or stone, asin.

When it comes to the concepts of land ownership and usage, language is even more crucial. “In our language the words Anishinaabeg akiing describe the concept of land ownership. They translate as ‘the land of the people,‘ which doesn’t imply that we own our land but that we belong on it.”

Speaking on food sovereignty, LaDuke said that for many indigenous peoples around the world, food crops are understood to be their relatives. The indigenous people on the Big Island of Hawaii “consider that the taro was their older brother, and so it is not surprising that they, like the Ojibwe people, fought the genetic engineering of our wild rice.” And they won.

A powerful speaker, a natural leader, Winona LaDuke inspires others to take action to address centuries of injustice to indigenous peoples. 

In celebration of 40 years of the Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures, and in anticipation of the October 25, 2020 Lectures with Kali Akuno and George Monbiot, we are highlighting the work of past speakers, asking for updates of their earlier remarks, and inviting them to reflect on current conditions.

On Thursday, October 8 at 2pm Eastern, Winona LaDuke and Leah Penniman will engage in a live, virtual conversation on Zoom, moderated by Jodie Evans. They will reflect on their original talks given current political, economic, and social realities and will then comment on each other’s work. Registration is free. A question and answer period will follow initial presentations. If you are unable to attend, a recording of the event will be available.

Register now for Winona LaDuke and Leah Penniman in Conversation

About the speakers:

Winona LaDuke—an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) member of the White Earth Nation—is an environmentalist, economist, author, and prominent Native American activist working to restore and preserve indigenous cultures and lands.

She graduated from Harvard University in 1982 with a B.A. in economics (rural economic development) and from Antioch University with an M.A. in community economic development. While at Harvard, she came to understand that the problems besetting native nations were the result of centuries of governmental exploitation. At age 18 she became the youngest person to speak to the United Nations about Native American issues.

In 1989 LaDuke founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Minnesota, focusing on the recovery, preservation, and restoration of land on the White Earth Reservation. This includes branding traditional foods through the Native Harvest label.

In 1993 LaDuke gave the Annual E. F. Schumacher Lecture entitled “Voices from White Earth.” That same year she co-founded and is executive director of Honor the Earth, whose goal is to support Native environmental issues and to ensure the survival of sustainable Native communities. As executive director she travels nationally and internationally to work with Indigenous communities on climate justice, renewable energy, sustainable development, food sovereignty, environmental justice, and human rights.

Among the books she has authored are All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (1999, 2016); The Winona LaDuke Reader: A Collection of Essential Writings (2002); Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming (2005); The Militarization of Indian Country (2013).

LaDuke’s many honors include nomination in 1994 by Time magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40; the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, the Ann Bancroft Award for Women’s Leadership in 1997, and the Reebok Human Rights Award in 1998. In 1998 Ms. Magazine named her Woman of the Year for her work with Honor the Earth. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2017 she received the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy, and Tolerance.

Winona LaDuke was an active leader as a Water Protector with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in 2017 at Standing Rock, where the Sioux Nation and hundreds of their supporters fought to preserve the Nation’s drinking water and sacred lands from the damage the pipeline would cause. Over the years her activism has not deviated from seeking justice and restoration for Indigenous peoples.

Leah Penniman is an educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land. Penniman is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black & Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Penniman holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. The work of Penniman and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Omega Sustainability Leadership Award, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. She is the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land (2018).

Past lectures by Schumacher Center for a New Economics speakers include:

Winona LaDuke:

1993 - Voices from White Earth: Gaa-waabaabiganikaag

2017 - Prophecy of the Seventh Fire: Choosing the Path That Is Green

Leah Penniman:

2018 - Uprooting Racism, Seeding Sovereignty

Remaking the Economy: Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Justice

NPQ Panelists: A-dae Romero Briones, Kendra Kloster, Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat and moderator Steve Dubb2pm-3pm Eastern
Register here

NPQ’s latest webinar in its Remaking the Economy series builds on this quarter’s edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly magazine, which, in partnership with the First Nations Development Institute (“First Nations”), lifts up indigenous voices to explore environmental justice and its connection to culture, land, people, and the economy.

For this webinar, NPQ brings you three leading indigenous environmental leaders who will speak to these issues in a discussion-style format. The panelists are:

A-dae Romero Briones (Cochiti/Kiowa) is director of programs of Native Agriculture and Food Systems at First Nations in Longmont, Colorado, where she works to promote indigenous food and agricultural systems and practices.

Kendra Kloster (Tlingit/German) serves as executive director of Native Peoples Action. Based in Anchorage, she directs advocacy and policy work statewide on behalf of Alaskan Natives, who constitute 18 percent of the state’s population. 

Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat (Hawaiian) is based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, where she leads an environmental planning consultancy, serves on the boards on two Hawaiian nonprofits, and writes regularly on environmental justice issues.

Register for NPQ's Remaking the Economy webinar

This webinar will explore:

  • Beyond rhetoric, what is involved in creating a “just transition”
  • What are core indigenous practices regarding land, water, and natural resource management
  • What would climate policy look like if indigenous knowledge were at the center of the policy approach
  • What is meant by “regenerative agriculture” and how are regenerative agricultural and food practices being implemented today
  • What does “right relationship” to the land and the environment entail
  • Success stories of policy changes at the state and local level and how to build on these gains in your community
  • Action steps for both nonprofits and philanthropy
  • How to engage business on the path to a just transition

Whether you’re a nonprofit leader, board member, or engaged in community-based organizing, this webinar will provide you with real-life examples and lessons learned that can inform your work in your own community.

Register to learn how nonprofits and movement activists are advancing strategies to address the economic and social inequalities of our time!

The moderator for this webinar is NPQ Economic Justice Program Director Steve Dubb. Steve has worked with cooperatives and nonprofits for over two decades and has been both a student and practitioner in the field of community economic development.  

You can send your questions to to have them answered during the web event.

*The recording and slides of this webinar will be available on the NPQ website 2-3 days after the live event. 


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