Omar Freilla: Worker Cooperative Development as a Comprehensive Solution for Our Time [Ep. 42]

In this episode of Next Economy Now, Shawn Berry, a Partner at LIFT Economy, interviews Omar Freilla. Omar is the founder and coordinator for Green Worker Cooperatives in the South Bronx, where they run the Coop Academy to empower a new generation of small local businesses that are cooperatively owned and operated.  Shawn first met Omar in 2004 after the founding of the USFWC when he came to visit Shawn at his woodworking co-op in SF.  It’s been a pleasure for Shawn to see Omar’s work grow and develop over the years.


In this interview we discuss:

  • Why coops are such powerful and deep solutions, socially, environmentally and economically.

  • Omar’s experience visiting the Mondragon Coops in Spain

  • Common misconceptions about coops

  • How the current political and economic climate make this work more important than ever

  • New York City’s groundbreaking funding & coalition for coop development

  • Successes and best practices from the Coop Academy


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Shawn Berry is a Partner at LIFT Economy, where he works as an organizational strategist inspired to harness the power of business to create resilient local economies as patterns to be documented, open sourced, scaled globally and adapted regionally.

LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can follow Shawn on Twitter @sd_berry or email him