MEDIA RELEASE: Data released today shows growing cooperative density in NYC




CONTACT: Ali Issa,, (718)310-9968




Democratic approaches to food, housing, work, energy and banking are concentrated in formerly redlined neighborhoods, analysis shows


New York, NY – There are at least 1,942 entities in NYC that fall under the banners of community control and democratic management, according to a new digital map released by the Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC (CEANYC) today. 


The map – called “Seeding Solidarity: A Map of NYC’s Economic Future” [] – features locations and descriptions of:

  • 1200 affordable housing cooperatives 

  • 508 community gardens 

  • 86 community supported agriculture initiatives 

  • 66 worker cooperatives 

  • 40 energy cooperatives 

  • 22 community development credit unions 

  • 14 community land trust projects 

  • 6 food cooperatives

which the map calls “8 formal sectors of NYC’s solidarity economy.” This data was collected from the most up-to-date surveys from sectoral networks (Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, Just Food, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives, Solar One, Inclusiv, New York City Community Land Initiative and more) that closely work with and track these types of organizations specifically. 


The district overlay feature of the map reveals a distinct concentration of these entities in NYC’s formerly redlined neighborhoods: the Northwest Bronx, the South Bronx, Washington Heights, both East and West Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, the Lower East Side, Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, East New York, Brownsville and more. 


Another feature of the map defines the formal sectors listed above, arguing that since these entities were founded on – and are often presently driven by – shared principles and use democracy, ecological sustainability, social justice, mutualism and cooperation to meet community needs, they are part of one movement. They value people and planet over profit. 


Finally, As the “Voices of NYC’s Solidarity Economy” section of the map shows, community leaders involved in this work come to it from a broad range of backgrounds. Working people, unions, immigrants, women, and marginalized communities have led the way in fighting for institutions that create a better city for everyone through cooperation. From an affordable housing cooperative in the South Bronx, to a community supported agriculture initiative in Bay Ridge, to the city-wide Drivers Cooperative, this section allows the people doing the work tell us why.  


// QUOTES //


Ayo Harrington, Member + Co-founder – Orchard Alley Community Garden (Lower East Side) 

 “This movement started when the community goes out and clears the land with their bare hands to create a better environment for themselves, and their children and the community. Our community is the reason they exist. Community gardens bring people that wouldn’t know each other — together around a common love or a cause.”


Richard Knolls, HDFC shareholder, South Bronx – Member of Affordable Housing is for All

“Affordable housing coops are needed not just in New York, but throughout the whole country. We all need a place to live. The number one thing that needs to happen in these United States of America is that everybody should have a roof over their head.” 


Mohamed Housain, Worker-owner + Co-founder, The Drivers Cooperative 

“We are looking to build connections with other worker cooperatives to expand the worker cooperative movement. We hope to encourage our businesses to adopt worker cooperative models as a pathway to economic democracy.” 


Karna Ray, worker-owner, Brooklyn Packers (Central Brooklyn)

“Living under capitalism, we are subject to the push and pull of very extreme forces, all the time, and a lot of them are completely out of our control. It’s hard not to feel that things are done to us, as opposed to we’re doing things together. [With cooperation/coops] we’ll have more satisfaction in being able to control the reins of our own lives.”


Alicia Portada, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, East Harlem People’s Federal Credit Union – “We serve individuals and the community that have been redlined from credit and capital for years. With a focus on building wealth. We rely on our solidarity partners to reach more people in other sectors and to spread the word about member-owned financial institutions.”


Niani Talyor, Co-Founder, East NY Community Land Trust – “We have a model that says ‘people over profits.’ OK? Housing is a human right. CLT’s are not just for people that have money. We’re a community here and I got involved cause I wanted to have a place to live. So I could own, but also that I could help community.”


Rana Abu-Sbaih, Bay Ridge CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – “CSAs embody everything beautiful about working with your community. Not only do you develop relationships with your neighbors, but also the farmer you’re working with. Those farmers have seen our children grow up on their food. It’s beautiful to take a step away from the commercial, from capitalism. CSAs are an oasis within capitalism, pointing to another kind of economy.” 


Yoli Ouiya, Member, 4th St. Food Cooperative, East Village – “At a food cooperative we’re all in the same mindset, where if we work together, we can create access to reasonably priced food. We can have fresh produce from local farms. We do better together by working together.” 


Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative Board Member and Executive Editor of Brooklyn Deep, Mark Winston Griffith: “New York’s coops struggle to connect with each other in a world dominated by capitalist culture. As a map, Seeding Solidarity literally puts our proximity to each in perspective as a starting point for a shared economy. As a database it provides the building blocks for a movement; It helps solidarity-minded businesses and consumers navigate a way to one another, like lighthouses on a hostile, nighttime sea.” 


Ali Issa, General Coordinator, Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC: “This is a map of power. Both the power local NYC communities have built over generations and the potential power to grow an independent solidarity economy that can sidestep extractive economic players altogether. Co-ops unite!” 


“The solidarity economy movement in NYC stands on the shoulders of an unsung legacy of labor and community organizing. The formation of Coop City in the Bronx – the largest coop in the country, Community Home Care Associates (CHCA) and The Drivers Coop – the largest worker coops in the country are all NYC based. From the slew of community organizations that offer advocacy to BIPOC and immigrant communities across the five boroughs and having one of the highest union density rates in the country – NYC offers the solidarity economy the opportunity to thrive. Between labor unions and community organizations, they both offer strategic opportunities for our movement to grow, proliferate and develop long term.” Emmanuel Pardilla, Director of Membership, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives


“The Bronx Cooperative Development Initative is very excited for this map to be in the world. Whether you are talking to a high school student, a neighbor, or an elected official, we cannot create a more democratic economy without being able to see the ways in which economic democracy has been hidden from our lives already. This map makes cooperation and solidarity visible and in doing so shows that we are not as selfish as we have been led to believe. We can build institutions that prioritize cooperation and care. The proof – we have already done it!,” said Evan Casper-Futterman, Program Director of the Economic Democracy Learning Center with the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative. “This map helps us look across The Bronx for both assets and opportunities in building economic democracy in our communities. What do we have, how can we connect and build across neighborhoods? The map is the starting point for being able to work together and to bring new people into movement and community with us.”


Council Member Sandy Nurse: “As the founder of BK ROT, a co-founder of Mayday Space, and a longtime proponent of community gardens, I know firsthand how important it is to build the solidarity economy. From providing deeply affordable and democratically-controlled housing, to putting healthy food on the table, to offering free or low cost community space, our solidarity economy plays an indispensable role in the lives of New Yorkers. This dynamic map from the Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC will help provide access to solidarity economy practitioners as well as identify our strengths as a movement. By mapping this data we see not only how far we’ve come, but how far we need to go to bridge municipal resources with the cooperative movement in order to truly transform our economy.”


“Those closest to our problems are closest to the solutions, and it is exciting to see communities across the city bringing power and ownership directly to every day New Yorkers. CEANYC’s “Seeding Solidarity” map helps us understand how a record number of cooperatives and community-led initiatives are changing how New Yorkers eat, shelter, work and bank, and makes imaginable a future where community development credit unions, mutual housing, low-income housing co-ops, community land trusts and community gardens become part of the bedrock of our city. This is particularly important in my community, where the median worker earns just $21,000 and where nearly 70% of residents are rent-burdened. I look forward to utilizing this map as governance is further democratized in the City.” – Council Member Pierina Sanchez 


“The organizations and initiatives made more accessible by the “Seeding Solidarity” map represent both the best of New York and an innovative approach to how our economy can function. Each one is a gift to the communities they serve and call home and, together, they offer a powerful network. I commend the Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC on their work and look forward to our entire city reaping the benefits. This map is a powerful tool in our efforts toward the shared goal of building the solidarity economy.” – Council Member Chi Ossé

“I am excited for the launch of the ‘Seeding Solidarity’ map and for more people to learn about the amazing organizations in District 2 and throughout the city who are organizing a better economy and a fairer city based on collective action and mutual support,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “I have fought in City Council to secure necessary resources for Worker Cooperatives, Community Land Trusts, food access, and more ways to support these organizations as they grow. I am so proud to see the impact these groups are already having, and excited to work with Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC and other advocates to continue to support community-based economic development.”

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