Mike Strode


Why did you join the Dill Pickle?

As a co-organizer of the 2018 Chicago Cooperative Economy Summit, I was excited to learn more deeply of the social justice and affordability aspects at the core of Dill Pickle's founding. I committed during that time to becoming a more involved cooperative advocate in the city and decided to take out a membership with all of active and forming food cooperatives within Chicago.

How have you participated as an owner?

As a co-op owner, I have attended and hosted events in the cafe area of Dill Pickle with the hope of expanding on the fifth cooperative principle: "Education, Training, & Information". I have also attended one Board Meeting so that I might get an understanding of how the cooperative is governed and studied up on some of the publicly available policy governance documents.

Why do you wish to serve on DPFC Board of Directors?

During my attendance at a CooperationWorks! training in Madison, I became excited about the critical importance of institutional cooperative anchors to provide space for public education and build the cooperative movement while in attendance at a presentation by Willy Street Co-op. As a cooperative developer, educator, and advocate in Chicago, I am committed to supporting Dill Pickle in being one of those anchors of cooperative capacity building in Chicago while holding its mission to deliver diverse and affordable food access to its membership.

What perspectives, skills, experiences, or affiliations do you hope to bring to board leadership?

I am the founder of the Kola Nut Collaborative, a time-based skills and service exchange which is presently the only active timebank in the Chicagoland area. I am interim chair of the DSA Solidarity Economy Working Group which hosts monthly gatherings to educate and build capacity around economically democratic strategies such as cooperatives, timebanks, and participatory budgeting. I am principal consultant of Kola Community Solutions LLC, a community research and strategy firm which works to advise Chicago residents on the implementation of cooperative economic structures in their neighborhoods. I am member of the New Economy Coalition, a national network of organizations working democratize the economy such that it can better serve people, communities, and the planet in a restorative rather than extractive manner.

how might the co-op open its doors wider to prospective new owners and community members?

There are likely several opportunities to use different event strategies to expand the types of populations visiting the store which would hold the possibility of widen current and new member engagement. There may also be opportunities to use digital communities to better communicate the events to members who may not have visited the store in some time.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Go Dill Pickle!