Nationally recognized co-op leaders to address statewide summit

The second annual Back to Basics Cooperative Summit will convene at Fairmont Hot Springs from Feb. 27 – March 1. Cooperative and community leaders from across the state are coming together to learn from one another and discuss how the co-op business model can be applied and expanded across rural Montana.  The Summit is co-hosted by the Montana Cooperative Development Center and the Mission Mountain Enterprise Center, a division of Lake County Community Development Corporation.

Judy Ziewacz, President and CEO of the National Cooperative Businesses Association in Washington, D.C. will deliver the Summit’s keynote address on Tuesday morning, Feb. 28. Following Ziewacz’s presentation, participants will choose from four tracks focused on different cooperative business sectors: food and agriculture; consumer and shared services; housing cooperatives; and community investment/financing. Each track features a headline speaker and distinguished panelists including:

· Margaret Bau, Cooperative Development Specialist with USDA Rural Development, National Office

· Dan Hobbs, Cooperative Development Specialist with Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative and Economic Development Center in Denver, Colorado

· Christina Jennings, Executive Director of Shared Capital Cooperative in Minneapolis, Minnesota

· Paul Travitz, Executive Director of the Ravalli County Office on Aging and organizer of Riverside Crossing Adult Cottage Cooperative in Hamilton, Montana

Janelle Gustafson, Acting State Director of USDA Rural Development, will address attendees on Tuesday evening. The Summit concludes on March 1 when participants will engage in regional dialogue to identify ways their cooperative businesses can work together toward building stronger economies throughout rural Montana.

In addition to the host organizations, the Back to Basics Cooperative Summit is sponsored by the Montana Cooperative Education Fund, Montana Farmers Union, NeighborWorks Montana, Triangle Communications, Missoula Electric Cooperative, Montana Board of Housing, Southwest Montana Community Federal Credit Union, Hill County Electric Cooperative, and Alternative Energy Resources Organization. For more information on the Summit and pre-Summit introductory workshops visit the Back to Basics Summit Event Page.

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