The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy

conference coop herb shops herbalism abroad NYC store news trips workers

As many of you know, Boline Apothecary is on track to become a worker owned cooperative within the year. This means anyone working for us will also own the business and be invested in its success and growth! We have assembled a fantastic team and many are already working and you may have met them!

On June 9-11 2017, two of our future worker owners (Lily and Toni) took the trip to New York City to attend the weekend long conference, The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD), run by the US Federation of Worker Owned Cooperatives (of which Boline Apothecary is a member) and the Democracy at Work Institute (from which we are getting help in our conversation process).

We stayed and learned at Fordham University, a law school that has a progressive history and present. The campus was delightfully across from Lincoln Center and blocks from Central Park. Toni and Lily availed themselves of the Manhattan scenery- after day-long sessions of dense heady material, it was lovely to get out and enjoy the city! Lots of people watching, glorious food choices, and shopping at Manhattan's herb shops to boot! Herbalist heaven!

We learned so much at the conference. Friday, Toni  spent the whole day learning about cooperative legal structures, while Lily learned about cooperative bookkeeping and financial management. Saturday, we went to different workshops such as loan readiness and applying for financing, co-op communication and facilitation, democratic decision making, business conversions versus start ups, creating equitable supply chains, raising capital, and more!

In addition to the truckloads of information we received, we made vital connections with co-op lenders, lawyers, and other resources we will be working with soon. We have a clear plan in place to move us forward to worker ownership now and now we just need to put in the work.

On the last day in Manhattan, they visited both Alchemist's Kitchen and Flower Power, two of NYC's wonderful herbalist havens. We made made herb friends, talked to them about carrying Boline in their shops, and sampled some amazing NY products (and brought quite a few home). We imbibed some wonderful herbal infused beverages from AK's herbal juice bar (Kava Cardamom? Yes, please!)

Like Boline Apothecary, Flower Power is old school herbal shop with herbalists on staff. And like Boline, they supported Herbalists without Borders and the #NODAPL protests with shipments of herbs and money. When you are in NYC, check them out! They are the oldest continuous herb shop in the city!

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