Allied Community Coop is the first local iteration of a Mutual Aid Network, and the crucible where many MAN ideas were born. Located in a food desert, in an economically exploited majority-minority community which also lacks a school, neighborhood center, or geographic connectedness with the rest of Madison, Allied Coop was formed as a multi-stakeholder cooperative in 2014 in order to build health and wellness in the neighborhood. For Allied Coop, the definition of wellness explicitly includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, economic, and social well-being. Allied Coop is currently working to address the food access crisis by developing a buying club in the short term and a neighborhood cooperatively-owned grocery store in the long-term. Allied Coop has actively used timebanking to support its development and growth, and will create a savings pool this year to support its members in meeting food and health needs.
Madison Axis of Awesome Madison’s next pilot project builds a mutual aid network that links Allied Coop in Southwest Madison in a large corridor which includes Horizon and Matrix co-working in west and central Madison, Social Justice Center in east central, the Sherman Avenue local food production corridor developing in Northeast Madison, and burgeoning action in Sun Prairie. This MAN will be geared toward mapping existing resources and needs, identifying and implementing resource exchange and sharing processes to build toward equitable distribution, and incubating community enterprises to fill gaps in resource production.
The current primary project to establish the Madison MAN as a visible local entity is the creation of the Social Justice Commons within the Social Justice Center – including coworking space, a really free market/library of things, shared equipment and administrative resources, and a vibrant learning community. Learn more at madisonman.coop.