Burial Grounds: Rising Up

Burial Grounds Workers Collective

I am currently providing technical assistance for an incredible group of people who work at the Burial Grounds coffee house in Olympia, Washington. The business has been around as Burial Grounds since 2010 with the stated mission: “to provide a welcoming environment to anyone who walks through the door. We strive to remain a safe place for those looking to indulge in a specialty espresso drink or hand crafted coffee house beverage. We focus on customer service, mutual respect and a community mentality. “

Since this is a conversion project in process, I won’t go into a lot of detail. Needless to say, the culture of the community is already based on the co-op values of equality, equity, solidarity, and democracy. The current owner created a participatory process and as the mission states, wants the coffeehouse to be more than a place to get caffeinated. While to some it may seem a typical coffeehouse, it offers more. A small room (the library) that provides meeting space and actually holds a sharing library (I’m not sure how many books, but easily over a 100 including the classic Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold).

What I like most about my job is working with people who believe in the future and have the passion to create the future world that they believe in. The organizing committee for the Burial Grounds Workers Collective is full of this energy. Engaged, hopeful, and motivated, I often feel that they don’t really need my help at all!

They hope to be up and running by the New Year and I am sure that they will become a benevolent force in the Olympia co-op community in short order!

About John McNamara

John spent 26 years with Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and currently helps develop co-op in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary's University. He has served on the board of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Board of Governors for the late, great Democracy at Work Network. He currently sits on the Co-op Circle for Sociocracy for All. He has taught on worker co-operatives and democratic management in the summer at The Evergreen State College and Presidio Graduate School.
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