Long-time owner gives her anti-fashion emporium over to a co-op

Credit: Leif Norman

Almost 25 years ago I moved from an off-the-grid cabin in the bush to downtown Winnipeg to attempt urban harvesting, community living and ethical, anti-capitalist small business.

Urban harvesters or “pickers” reclaim, clean, fix and repurpose discarded items to sell. First a trader and then a worker at Ragpickers Anti-Fashion Emporium in the core-area Exchange District, I inherited the business in the early ‘90s.

Uneasy with ownership, I expanded the Ragpickers structure. I found book dealers and invited other pickers to sell their treasures. I soon assembled a 13-member collective. Our 6,000 square feet held two newspapers, a jewellers’ co-op, a coffee house and a bike repair shop. I loved the vibrant chaos.

As an alternative entrepreneur, I am working to establish self-sufficient, empowered artists as the pioneers of a new economic model of rural/urban interdependence and conscientious living. When the Manitoba government announced its new multi-stakeholder co-op legislation for the International Year of the Co-operative, it resonated deep within the Anti-Fashion Emporium. Beginning in 2012, workers, makers, consumers and other supporters will share ownership of a new Ragpickers co-op. With the rise of the Occupy movement, the momentum behind our formal co-operative shift seems unstoppable. – Kristen Andrews

To read the full version of this story see here.

Like this article? Subscribe to Geez and get more like this delivered to your door, ad-free, four times year.

View comments, or leave one yourself

Hide comments

(No one has dared comment yet.)

Sorry, comments are closed.

Issue 25, Spring 2012

Get Our Newsletter

(Tasteful and spam-free, guaranteed.)

All content is © 2005–2017 Geez Magazine and its respective authors.   (Ascend)

Geez Magazine | 400 Edmonton Street | Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | R3B 2M2 | (204) 942-1058