Cooperative Fermentation, a new project working to democraticize the food system through creating cooperatives, will be hitting the road for the last week of July to share information about cooperatives in Maine communities.

The tour will begin on Vinalhaven, then go up to Eastport, Machias and Stonington before coming back inland to Waterville and then to Portland.

“The goal of this tour is to inspire people to create cooperatives that help meet basic needs in their communities,” said Jonah Fertig, coordinator of Cooperative Fermentation and the facilitator of the workshops, in a news release.

Each workshop will present information about cooperatives including an exploration of the values of cooperatives, history of cooperatives in the United States, and the structures and finances of cooperatives. The second half of the workshop will be a participatory design session where participants will share cooperative ideas and then work together on designing a cooperative for their community.

This tour is happening amongst a groundswell of interest in cooperatives in Maine, regionally, nationally and internationally. In Maine, many new cooperative efforts are starting up including over five new local foods retail stores, farming cooperatives, restaurants, service cooperatives and more. In June, employees of three stores in Stonington purchased the businesses from the owner turning it into the largest worker cooperative in Maine. Later that same week, the City Council in New York City approved a $1.2 million budget for worker cooperative development. Similar efforts are under way in towns and cities across the country to build a more democratic economy that can meet the needs of people in their community.

“Cooperatives are businesses rooted in their communities that support peoples’ voices in their workplace which helps to grow a more vibrant, democratic economy and society,” said Fertig.

Tour schedule:

Sunday, July 27, 7 p.m.: Vinalhaven Town Hall

Tuesday, July 29: Machias

Wednesday, July 30, 6 p.m.: Eastport Bank

Friday, Aug. 1st, 6.p.m: Barrels Community Market, Waterville

Tuesday, Aug. 5th, 7 p.m.: Local Sprouts Cooperative, 649 Congress St. Portland:

“Celebrating Worker Cooperative” Amy Johnson, Membership Coordinator of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives will be visiting Maine to connect the work of the National Worker Cooperative Movement with local cooperative work here in Maine. This informal night will provide an opportunity for people to meet one another, connect with the US Federation and share inspiration to create more cooperatives in our communities.

The Creating Cooperatives Tour is supported by the Cooperative Development Institute, the Broad Reach Fund, and the Resilience Hub.

For more information contact Jonah Fertig, 615-9970,