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Community Not For Sale — Cooperative Economics

March 30 @ 3:00 pm

PODER Emma develops community ownership and works to stop gentrification and displacement in the Emma neighborhood outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Press photo courtesy of Race Brook Lodge and the Schumacher Center
PODER Emma

Andrea Golden of Poder Emma, a community ownership and cooperative development organization of Asheville, NC, will give the second annual Robert Swann Lecture, ‘Community Not For Sale: Popular Education, Community Organizing and Cooperative Economics,’ in the Barn at Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield, followed by a Q&A.

About the Robert Swann Lecture Series:

This series was inaugurated in 2023 in honor of Robert Swann, founder of the E. F. Schumacher Society, now the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. Bob Swann brought the pragmatic skills of a builder to his lifelong commitment to community and decentralized economics as a pathway to peace and ecological harmony. His 1960s civil rights work led to an effort to secure land for African-American farmers, serving as a model for the Community Land Trust movement.

Later on, in the Berkshires, Swann continued his work as a pioneer and advocate of Community Land Trusts as well as local currency initiatives— democratic tools for place-based economic transformation. The Swann Lectures provide a platform to those who embody Bob’s practical activism and who lead by example, advancing community-based economic transformation toward a just and regenerative future.

Poder Emma

Andrea Golden is a popular educator deeply committed to cooperative economics and building collective power. She is Co-Director and founder of PODER Emma Community Ownership, co-founder of Cenzontle Language Justice Cooperative as well as Dulce Lomita mobile home park cooperative, where she lives in western North Carolina with her partner and three children.

PODER Emma develops community ownership and works to stop gentrification and displacement in the Emma neighborhood outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville’s development patterns have put mobile home communities in the crosshairs for displacement. In the face of this pressure, the Emma community has built a flourishing cooperative ecosystem that includes four worker cooperatives, four mobile home park cooperatives, and a real estate cooperative with 25,000 sq. ft of commercial property, totaling nearly 20 acres of permanently protected land and a total community investment of over $6 million.

Andrea and her neighbors’ dedication to place, and the cultivation of a sense of belonging, identity and culture have allowed for solutions that prove that, when community comes together, people can transform their lives for themselves and future generations.

More recently, PODER Emma has expanded to include a Worker Owned Cooperative Network, with four area worker-owned enterprises engaging in peer learning in areas including open book management, coaching supervision, and policy development. done A member of the national community wealth cooperative Seed Commons, PODER Emma’s loan fund has invested more than $2 million in community-owned cooperative assets in the Emma neighborhood.

PODER Emma Community Ownership

As the City of Asheville rapidly develops, many communities are facing accelerated displacement. The community relationships, trust, infrastructure and resources that have been built by neighbors is at risk being lost, particularly due to the vulnerability of mobile home residents who have seen the replacement of mobile home parks with condominiums and commercial properties across the county.

“This is why we focus on community controlled economic development, local policy advocacy and cultural work to protect our community.

“… The Emma Community is an incredibly vibrant, united and strong community. However, the relationships, trust, infrastructure and resources that have been built by community residents is at high risk of being lost, particularly due to the devastating pattern of replacement of mobile home parks with condominiums and commercial properties across the county.”

Emma Community Ownership (ECOP) is working to create tools and strategies to prevent displacement and to protect the tightknit nature of mobile home communities which keep our families safe.

ECOP formed a research team comprised of residents of the Emma Neighborhood and surveyed nearly 200 Emma residents to assess the quality of life of residents of mobile home parks, to understand risk factors for displacement of low income residents due to gentrification, and to begin the creation of an Emma Community Plan.

“PODER Emma believes that the future of the neighborhood should be designed and led by people who live here! In order to support community members’ ability to participate actively in leadership, we are also dedicated to supporting each other as neighbors to ensure that our basic needs are met.

“Our cooperative development work is centered around the belief that communities have the wisdom and experience needed to create powerful collective solutions to address the structural barriers that we face, and that cooperative development is an important part of creating community power and equity.”

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Event Details

Details

Date:
March 30
Time:
3:00 pm
Event Categories:
, ,

Event Location

Race Brook Lodge
864 Undermountain Road
Sheffield, MA
413-229-2916

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