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avatar for Rodney North

Rodney North

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Co-op Consultant

Rodney North is a consultant to cooperatives and social enterprises, and he's an active member of both the DC Cooperative Stakeholders Group..This is a group of people and institutions from the Washington DC area who have been meeting since December 2016 to explore ways to strengthen and support co-ops in the city. Because cooperatives are one thread in the city's overall economic development strategy, the city's Dept. of Small and Local Business Development convened the Cooperatives Stakeholders Group and has been supporting the effort. Rodney is also an active member of the Alliance for Regional Cooperation - a new organization whose mission is to build a stronger ecosystem in the DMV for local businesses.

 

Before returning to the DC area in 2015 Rodney spent 20 years as part of Equal Exchange - one of the nation's largest, most successful, and influential worker-owned cooperatives. It is best known for its brand of organic Fair Trade coffee, tea, chocolate or other foods. But it is also a $65 million dollar enterprise 100% owned and controlled by the 150 men and women who work there. Rodney held many roles there: Vice chair of the board of directors, worker-owner, staff trainer and other leadership positions. But he was best known as The Answer Man. In that role he served as the co-op's spokesperson and as an all-purpose resource for the public, media, activists, academics and fellow staff. drawing on his many years of experience and his wide knowledge of the issues that matter to Equal Exchange, its customers and the dozens of farmer co-ops who supplied Equal Exchange. Rodney has also served as an advisor to other worker co-ops in the US and Canada.