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November Coop Lunch and Learn Series

November Lunch and Learn SeriesIf your organization wants to make a bigger impact in their local economy, then this free webinar series is not to be missed.

Training, education, and information is not only a co-operative principle, it’s an important part of growing any organization. Every Thursday during the month of November we are offering free noon-hour webinars that will expand your organization’s knowledge about strategic opportunities around economic development. All you need is to RSVP in advance.

Register for the November Coop Lunch and Learn Series

To best enjoy these webinars, we highly recommend watching this webinar with a colleague; invite them for lunch! All webinars run from noon-1PM (MST)

November 2nd: Co-operative Strategies that can grow your business save you money,

If your enterprise is looking to reduce costs, increase productivity, and build a strong work culture, then this 45-minute lunch hour webinar is not to be missed. Learn how co-operative strategies can be applied in your business, not for profit, or community.

Hosted by Seth Leon, Manager of Co-operative Services; Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

November 9th: Member Loyalty Programs: Enhance member value while supporting local business

North Parkland Power REA (NPP) has increased value to their members offering loyalty discounts to a range of local businesses. This strategy also connects their co-op to the local business community in a meaningful way. Learn how NPP devised and executed on this strategy, and the key actions needed to get started in your community.

Hosted by Andrea LaBrie, Member-Owner Representative; North Parkland Power REA ltd.

November 16th: As Local As Possible: Craft Brewing in Alberta

Alberta’s craft beer industry is exploding, having tripled in size over the past few years. Growth continues, all over Alberta, in an industry that has deep roots in the history of the province. Where has the industry come from and where will it go? How can your community play its part in making brewing a signature industry for Alberta?

Hosted by Terry Rock, Executive Director; Alberta Small Brewers Association

November 23rd:  Local Investing & Community Economic DevelopmentLearn about how to invest locally, raise capital for your local business, and how to grow your local economy. Recent changes to investment rules in Alberta will soon make things easier to invest locally and raise money locally. Learn how community economic development can help your business do well, and do good. This webinar will help frame local opportunities with long-term economic growth, opportunities to maximize your impact, access tax benefits, and mobilize growing networks.

Hosted by Courtney Hare, Public Policy Manager; Momentum

November 30th: How inclusive spaces increase market share and build stronger businesses

Creating welcoming spaces strengthen brand identity and improve customer experience. This webinar explains how to develop accessible and inclusive spaces that will help your business grow. Learn how to maximize your marketing and strengthen your brand. This webinar will also touch on project management for creating accessible spaces, and how to access grants.

Hosted by Sean Crump CEO and Head Chair; Universal Access

Understanding Food Sovereignty and Policy Through a Community Lens: Food Systems in Rural and Indigenous Canada

rplc, rdi, brandon university2pm to 3pm Central Time

The concept of food sovereignty and its connections with diverse rural and Indigenous communities have, until very recently, been underappreciated and unrecognized in government policy. This webinar reviews the concept of food sovereignty and its history, central tenets and contentions. Challenges with institutionalizing food sovereignty are considered, including the challenges in and contributions by diverse rural and Indigenous communities. 

Register for Understanding Food Sovereignty and Policy Through a Community Lens

The current development of A Food Policy for Canada and the case of Nishnawbe Aski Nations are presented as opportunities to apply rural and Indigenous lenses to questions about how principles of food sovereignty might be recognized and supported by public policy. Policy recommendations that reflect food sovereignty principles and rural and Indigenous priorities are suggested with a focus on the need for democratic engagement, attention to place and power, and value driven actions for food providers, people and nature. Finally, action-oriented, community-driven future research related to the articulation, operationalization and measurement of food sovereignty is proposed.

Transitioning to the New Rural Cannabis Economy

rplc, rdi, brandon university2pm to 3pm Central Time

June 19th, 2018 marks a historic day in Canada – it’s when the Senate approved Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act. The act states that recreational cannabis will officially be legal to cultivate, produce, distribute, retail and consume on October 17th 2018. With four months to prepare for legalization, provinces and local governments appear to be scrambling to create policy that aligns with the legal Federal requirements.

Up until now cannabis has played an important, but hidden role in the socioeconomic fabric of southern rural regions of British Columbia. As B.C. rural areas prepare to address the incoming act, there is a recognized challenge posed by the lack of available best practices resulting from the sector’s newly legalized status. There is both a need to understand social implications related to cannabis legalization, and a desire to advance economic opportunities of this emerging industry.

Register for Transitioning to the New Rural Cannabis Economy

Resource-tasked governments who are required to respond to this momentous policy change within tight timelines, and with many unknowns, such as long-term consequences of cannabis legalization, are lacking policy innovation. To date, provinces and local governments are mostly adopting existing policy (such as that for alcohol and tobacco) and applying it to cannabis. This strategy is problematic for a variety of reasons that will be discussed in the webinar. Results from a preliminary data gathering exercise that elicited rural residents’ opinions of legalization will also be shared. 

Ultimately, my research project aims to explore the socioeconomic impacts of legalization, focusing on the challenges and opportunities unique to rural areas of British Columbia

Co-op Cafe Meetup

Alberta Community and Co-operative Association8:00am to 9:30am
Calgary Co-op (Macleod Trail)
8818 Macleod Trail SE 

The Alberta Community & Co-operative Association (ACCA) host a monthly co-op meetup to provide an opportunity for those working in the co-op sector and related areas to get together, network, and talk-shop. This is also an opportunity to identify resources that we could bring into the sector to support common goals (guest speaker, experts, etc.). If anything, it’s a great way to get the started with colleagues over coffee.

Register for the Co-op Cafe Meetup

We host these meetups every Third-Thursday of the month from 8:00-9:30am. Please feel free to invite colleagues to this event. If you would like to RSVP, suggest an idea or start a discussion, please join our Facebook Event.

If you are not based in Calgary, and would like to host one in your community please drop Seth Leon, Manager of Co-operative Services, a line at sleon at

Upcoming Dates:

Thursday September 20th
Thursday November 15th
Thursday December 20th

Putting Rural on the Agenda: The Prominence and Priority of Rural Issues and Opportunities in Policy Making

Rural Policy Learning CommonsPanelists from Canada, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom will explore how different jurisdictions bring attention to rural within their policy making processes. Dr. Jackson-Smith will present on the changing symbolic and material importance of ‘rural’ places in governance and policy across different levels of government in the United States. Norman Ragetlie will outline the challenges with rural policy in Ontario, Canada due to a lack of a comprehensive, government-wide strategy with goals and strategic directions which stakeholders and government agencies might monitor together. Professor Sally Shortall will outline findings from her work on rural policy in the United Kingdom. These presentations will be followed by a robust facilitated discussion and question period. This session will be hosted by the Rural Governance Network of the Rural Policy Learning Commons.

Register for Putting Rural on the Agenda


Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith is a Professor and Assistant Director of the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University in the United States. He is the outgoing president of the Rural Sociological Society. His own research focuses on drivers and impacts of technical and structural change in the food and agricultural system, rural land use change, and interdisciplinary and engaged approaches to improving water sustainability in urban, rural, and agricultural landscapes.

Norman Ragetlie is currently Chief Executive Officer with the Rural Ontario Institute. He served for eight years from 2010 to 2018 as Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement with the Institute. In that role he engaged with many types of stakeholder organizations and led collaborative projects and studies on matters relevant to rural communities. From 2000 to 2010 Norm was with the provincial Ministry of Ag. Food and Rural Affairs supporting rural community economic development. In the previous decade Norm was a Senior Policy Analyst with regional municipal government. He began his career in the non-profit sector managing a food cooperative as well as coordinating environmental advocacy campaigns. He holds a Master of Science degree in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph. He has been active in a variety of voluntary roles including Chair of the Ontario Farmland Trust from 2011 to 2017 and with local community projects.

Professor Sally Shortall took up post as the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy, Newcastle University in October 2016. She is interested in rural development policy and practice, the role of women on farms and in rural development, social changes in farming practice and the links between evidence and policy.


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