March 8, 2017
By Guy Gregory
MCDC Communications Specialist
Cooperative and community leaders from across Montana came together to learn from one another at the second annual Back to Basics Cooperative Summit. Eighty-nine people attended this year’s summit at Fairmont Hot Springs which was co-hosted by MCDC and the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, a division of Lake County Community Development Corporation.
National Cooperative Business Association President and CEO Judy Ziewacz delivered this year’s keynote address followed by four concurrent tracks. Tracks featured headline speakers and distinguished panelists that included Dan Hobbs of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center; Christina Jennings of Shared Capital Cooperative, and Paul Travitz, organizer of the Riverside Crossing Adult Cottage Cooperative in Hamilton, Montana. Each track focused on a different co-op business sector: food and agriculture co-ops; housing co-ops; consumer and shared service co-ops; and community investment co-ops.
USDA Rural Development’s Montana State Director, Janelle Gustafson addressed attendees during Tuesday evening’s banquet dinner and was followed by Margaret Bau, USDA-RD Cooperative Development Specialist.
In addition to the summit hosts, Back to Basics was also sponsored by the Montana Cooperative Education Fund, Montana Farmer’s 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 (AERO).
To read more about highlights and see photos from this year’s summit, click here:
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