For his 91st birthday three years ago, Bob Moore of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods turned his 600 employees into co-op owners of a company that had more than $50 million in annual sales in 2018. Co-op Cincy has worked to create such cooperatively-owned businesses in greater Cincinnati and help current businesses transition to co-op models since 2010. In April, a group of 40 toured Mondragon, a network of 95 co-ops that employs 80,000 people in Spain’s Basque region. Co-op Cincy, the first US union co-op explicitly modeled after Mondragon, had launched its first union co-op, Our Harvest food hub, in 2012 and has since loaned more than $1 million to co-op businesses, trained more than 1,300 people yearly on worker ownership, and employed more than 100 people through its network co-ops. In May, delegation members urged Cincinnati city council to prioritize worked-owned businesses when awarding city contracts.

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