In our society, we rarely see examples of group benefit prioritized over profit. Few models of exchange place the rewards of ownership in the hands of consumers or provide workers with a chance to participate in self-governing institutions based on democratic models of decision making. Rarest of all are arrangements whereby consumers, producers, and workers act in collaboration with one another to produce advantage for all. The MARSH Cooperative is testing these ideals in the real world, attempting to activate new paradigms for the ethical replacement of capitalism.
Beth Neff is an organic farmer, urban planner, sustainability activist, writer, parent, and cooperative organizer. Her current project is MARSH, a not-for-profit organized as a cooperative laboratory for the practical investigation of relational forms of social, economic, ecological, and cultural composition. MARSH combines urban farming, a sliding-scale grocery store, a sustainable commercial kitchen, and public space in order to cultivate tactics and strategies for resilience and biocultural transformation.