The Southern Grassroots Economies Project (SGEP) is building networks across the US South to promote and launch sustainable cooperative economies. Our work is inspired by the rich history of social justice struggle in the South and looks to the example of the worker-owned cooperatives of Mondragon, Spain and Emilia Ramagno, Italy for guidance.
Business enterprises that are community-based are responsive to the needs of the people in their immediate area. They are far less likely than large corporations to pick up and leave their community based solely on the promise of a greater profit margin. These businesses, and the people who own and work in them, are also far better stewards of the environment and the local “commons”—because these resources also nurture and belong to them.
The South is home to communities marginalized throughout the history of the United States. Women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, youth and poor whites are often the most affected by shifts in regional and global economies. This current crisis is no different. If the outcome of multiple rounds of corporate bailouts is merely congratulating Wall Street for lowering the unemployment rate slightly, we will not have achieved any significant gains. The individuals and organizations within the SGEP are working to create a culture of community-based ownership in the South—a culture that will fundamentally alter our relationship with business, work, and community wealth.
SGEP Member Organizations
- Federation of Southern Cooperatives
- Fund for Democratic Communities
- Highlander Research & Education Center
- Cooperation Texas
- Farmworker Association of Florida
- Cooperation Jackson
Associated Member Organizations
These organizations are not based in the South, but have partnered with the SGEP groups to build and strengthen the new economic development work in the South.