Cooperative Design lab is container. CDLs are leadership and organizational development programs. We have two different programs. One is a rapid-cycle cooperative development process for specific projects in a place. We call this CDL. The other is a 9 month leadership development program for cooperative leaders. We call this CDL9.

CDL this year will focus on a hands-on project of Farming Artists in Blue Hill. We will explore structures in intentional community, farming and manufacturing, and funding. We will be prototyping systems together and exploring the thinking and processes need to implement the design.

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CDL9 is the only program of its kind offered in the Northeast and is in its fourth year. CDL9 is a new name for our original leadership development program. Over the course of three retreat  for a range of projects. We create a container for cooperative leaders, meaning managers, board members, consultants, and founders, to deep dive on the leadership challenges of the 21 Century. We ar

In CDL and in CDL9, participants will gain the knowledge, skills and capacity to start, operate, lead, and enliven a cooperative project. Participants can expect to:

  • Go through a step-by-step process to make a cooperative project happen as a start up or a conversion
  • Space to workshop an potential project for a loose collaborative
  • Do strategic development work for goal setting and prioritization
  • Discern the appropriate organizational structures for a project
  • Learn skills and tools for cooperative leadership and management
  • Weave a network of community support for a project
  • Explore the role of cooperatives in building a resilient local economy in their community
  • Learn about how to leverage multiple forms of capital to grow your project
  • Create or refine a specific process to take a project to the next level
  • Raise capacity and clarity among members
  • Surface possible models for community-scale ventures in food systems, shelter, transportation, energy, and education  


"Worker cooperatives are business entities that are owned and controlled by their members, the people who work in them. All cooperatives operate in accordance with the Cooperative Principles and Values. The two central characteristics of worker cooperatives are: (1) worker-members invest in and own the business together, and it distributes surplus to them and (2) decision-making is democratic, adhering to the general principle of one member-one vote.

Though we lack comprehensive data on the nature and scope of worker cooperatives in the U.S., researchers and practitioners conservatively estimate that there are over 350 democratic workplaces in the United States, employing over 5,000 people and generating over $500 million in annual revenues."

 - Excerpt from "What is a Worker Co-op?" in the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, https://www.usworker.coop/about/what-is-a-worker-coop