This past Saturday, we dragged ourselves out of bed before the sun was up to head to Milwaukee for Co-op Fest! We had an amazing time, and were so impressed with Riverwest and all the exciting things happening in this vibrant Milwaukee neighborhood.
Hosted by the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance, Co-op Fest is a one day conference that seeks to bring together co-op supporters from inside the Riverwest community and beyond. The theme for this year’s Co-op Fest, “Our. Cooperative. Communities.” and the website notes that this “reflects an emphasis towards our potential to reclaim our cooperative communities and sustain a responsible social legacy for future generations.”
The first Co-op Fest took place three years ago, and the event has grown larger every year. For this year’s Fest, they set up an outdoor tabling area, where participants are able to talk with Co-op representatives in between sessions. We loved learning about the New Barons’ Brewing Co-op, and are so excited for them to get up and running! (We also loved that they brought cookies baked with spent grains from their brews.)
While sadly we were only able to attend a few sessions, and had to leave before the event was over, we learned a lot and made some great connections. The sessions we participated in were engaging and lively, and session leaders were passionate and knowledgable. We were also happy to meet some other Chicagoans there, and see great potential for connection with other groups that share our interest in Co-ops.
Perhaps most importantly, events like this help to demonstrate how feasible Co-ops really are, and solidifies the idea that we are stronger together.
We are counting down the days until Co-op Fest 2017!