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Converting Cooperatives: Legacy Conversions and Micro Businesses

Converting Cooperatives1pm to 2pm Eastern Time

In the fourth of five webinars by the Asian American Solidarity Economies project, our speakers will discuss legacy business conversions into cooperatives and how existing micro-business can work together in cooperative ways.

Register for the Legacy Conversions and Micro Businesses webinar


Shevanthi (Shev) Daniel-Rabkin (Democracy at Work Institute) is passionate about the intersection of sustainable business and economic development. Her work spans over fifteen years in community and labor organizing, and strategic capacity building with nonprofit and small businesses. She previously served as Lead Manager of Worker Cooperative Initiative at Pinchot University – Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, and also helped develop a Cooperative Management Certificate program at Pinchot University. Shevanthi has managed and implemented large-scale labor organizing and worker justice campaigns with SEIU1199 NW, and programs centered on civil rights and social justice leadership, in rural and urban centers across the country, as well as solidarity work in South Africa, Nicaragua and Ethiopia. Shevanthi is also a co-founder of the O’Dell Education Center, a nonviolence direct action and leadership academy in Washington State, owned and operated by the Institute for Community Leadership. She is also Executive Board member at the Center for Women in Democracy, strengthening women’s capacity and leadership in public and private sector. Shevanthi has an MBA in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University and BA in History and Anthropology from University of Washington.

Soyun Park (Micro Business Network) is an organizer, a trainer, an organization builder and a movement strategist. She has over 25 years of experience with youth and community organizing in Black and Brown communities to affect local, state, and national policy change on racial and economic justice issues and immigrant rights issues.Over the last few years, Soyun has been focused on community economic development, working with owner operator micro businesses fighting predatory development in DC. A natural ally of neighborhood residents and workers, she has mobilized micro business owners in support of progressive worker policies, against public utility rate increases, and to push the largest electric holding company in the US to provide sustainable alternatives. She is also working in Baltimore with Korean owned liquor storeowners and the surrounding Black communities to identify solutions to city policies that perpetuate anti-Blackness and racial triangulation. She grew up in this country as the daughter of an immigrant shop owner and brings this experience into her political and organizing work to make an impact. She lives East of the River in DC with her two beautiful children.


Yvonne Yen Liu (Solidarity Research Center) is the co-founder and research director of Solidarity Research Center, a worker self-directed nonprofit that advances solidarity economies. She serves on the board of the US Solidarity Economy Network and was named the 2018 Activist-in-Residence Fellow at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.

Parag Rajendra Khandhar (Asian American Solidarity Economies Project) Parag is a founding principal of Gilmore Khandhar, LLC, a law firm focused on legal, policy, and advocacy tools to advance economic justice, racial equity, and social transformation. He teaches at George Washington University Law School. Parag co-founded Baltimore Activating Solidarity Economies (BASE) and the Asian American Solidarity Economies Network (AASE).

Asian American Solidarity Economies Webinar Series is a project of Solidarity Research Center in partnership with UCLA Asian American Studies Center and National CAPACD.

Understanding Food Sovereignty and Policy Through a Community Lens: Food Systems in Rural and Indigenous Canada

rplc, rdi, brandon university2pm to 3pm Central Time

The concept of food sovereignty and its connections with diverse rural and Indigenous communities have, until very recently, been underappreciated and unrecognized in government policy. This webinar reviews the concept of food sovereignty and its history, central tenets and contentions. Challenges with institutionalizing food sovereignty are considered, including the challenges in and contributions by diverse rural and Indigenous communities. 

Register for Understanding Food Sovereignty and Policy Through a Community Lens

The current development of A Food Policy for Canada and the case of Nishnawbe Aski Nations are presented as opportunities to apply rural and Indigenous lenses to questions about how principles of food sovereignty might be recognized and supported by public policy. Policy recommendations that reflect food sovereignty principles and rural and Indigenous priorities are suggested with a focus on the need for democratic engagement, attention to place and power, and value driven actions for food providers, people and nature. Finally, action-oriented, community-driven future research related to the articulation, operationalization and measurement of food sovereignty is proposed.

Transitioning to the New Rural Cannabis Economy

rplc, rdi, brandon university2pm to 3pm Central Time

June 19th, 2018 marks a historic day in Canada – it’s when the Senate approved Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act. The act states that recreational cannabis will officially be legal to cultivate, produce, distribute, retail and consume on October 17th 2018. With four months to prepare for legalization, provinces and local governments appear to be scrambling to create policy that aligns with the legal Federal requirements.

Up until now cannabis has played an important, but hidden role in the socioeconomic fabric of southern rural regions of British Columbia. As B.C. rural areas prepare to address the incoming act, there is a recognized challenge posed by the lack of available best practices resulting from the sector’s newly legalized status. There is both a need to understand social implications related to cannabis legalization, and a desire to advance economic opportunities of this emerging industry.

Register for Transitioning to the New Rural Cannabis Economy

Resource-tasked governments who are required to respond to this momentous policy change within tight timelines, and with many unknowns, such as long-term consequences of cannabis legalization, are lacking policy innovation. To date, provinces and local governments are mostly adopting existing policy (such as that for alcohol and tobacco) and applying it to cannabis. This strategy is problematic for a variety of reasons that will be discussed in the webinar. Results from a preliminary data gathering exercise that elicited rural residents’ opinions of legalization will also be shared. 

Ultimately, my research project aims to explore the socioeconomic impacts of legalization, focusing on the challenges and opportunities unique to rural areas of British Columbia

Putting Rural on the Agenda: The Prominence and Priority of Rural Issues and Opportunities in Policy Making

Rural Policy Learning CommonsPanelists from Canada, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom will explore how different jurisdictions bring attention to rural within their policy making processes. Dr. Jackson-Smith will present on the changing symbolic and material importance of ‘rural’ places in governance and policy across different levels of government in the United States. Norman Ragetlie will outline the challenges with rural policy in Ontario, Canada due to a lack of a comprehensive, government-wide strategy with goals and strategic directions which stakeholders and government agencies might monitor together. Professor Sally Shortall will outline findings from her work on rural policy in the United Kingdom. These presentations will be followed by a robust facilitated discussion and question period. This session will be hosted by the Rural Governance Network of the Rural Policy Learning Commons.

Register for Putting Rural on the Agenda


Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith is a Professor and Assistant Director of the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University in the United States. He is the outgoing president of the Rural Sociological Society. His own research focuses on drivers and impacts of technical and structural change in the food and agricultural system, rural land use change, and interdisciplinary and engaged approaches to improving water sustainability in urban, rural, and agricultural landscapes.

Norman Ragetlie is currently Chief Executive Officer with the Rural Ontario Institute. He served for eight years from 2010 to 2018 as Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement with the Institute. In that role he engaged with many types of stakeholder organizations and led collaborative projects and studies on matters relevant to rural communities. From 2000 to 2010 Norm was with the provincial Ministry of Ag. Food and Rural Affairs supporting rural community economic development. In the previous decade Norm was a Senior Policy Analyst with regional municipal government. He began his career in the non-profit sector managing a food cooperative as well as coordinating environmental advocacy campaigns. He holds a Master of Science degree in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph. He has been active in a variety of voluntary roles including Chair of the Ontario Farmland Trust from 2011 to 2017 and with local community projects.

Professor Sally Shortall took up post as the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy, Newcastle University in October 2016. She is interested in rural development policy and practice, the role of women on farms and in rural development, social changes in farming practice and the links between evidence and policy.

Building Your Success Formula

Micro Finance Webinar Series7:00pm to 8:00pm

We will explore Dr. Fraser’s work and success in economic development. His work in launching one of the largest entrepreneurial networking initiatives, Frasernet, and how the power of relationship building, and networking can help you take your business to the next level.

Register for Building Your Success Formula

About the Guest Speaker:

Dr. George Fraser is the Chairman and CEO of Fraser Net Inc. He founded almost 30 years ago with a vision to lead a global networking investment company that brings together diverse human resources to increase opportunities for people.

This webinar is facilitated by David Cohen of the David Cohen Group

For more information please contact microfinance at

The Micro Finance Webinar Series is offered through Alterna Savings

101 Ways to Increase Sales

Micro Finance Webinar Series7:00pm to 8:00pm

Be prepared to challenge your thinking and fears about selling. You will learn how to think critically about every single action you take in your business and in life, to better understand how your sales and business actions either help you or hinder you.

Register for 101 Ways to Increase Sales

About the Guest Speaker:

Tom Stoyan is known as Canada’s Sales Coach, he is author of several books and articles including “Sell More… 101 ideas to increase Sales Now.” Tom’s sales strategies have resulted in doing work with organizations like; TEC, Air Canada, KPMG, GE, The Canadian Cancer Society, and Rogers. He is the first inductee in the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame!

This webinar is facilitated by David Cohen of the David Cohen Group

For more information please contact microfinance at

The Micro Finance Webinar Series is offered through Alterna Savings


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