Chicagoland Regional Workers Cooperative Convening has ended
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Pecan Milk Cooperative
Pecan Milk Cooperative was founded in Atlanta in 2013 by then-20-year-old social justice movement organizer and long-time vegetarian (turned vegan) Nigel J. The desire was to have a way for artists and organizers to have a way to make a living while focusing on the work that was most important to them. At the time, Nigel lived on a communal land trust in the East Atlanta neighborhood of Lake Claire. A housemate had a Vitamix blender, which enabled Nigel to make almond milk at home for the first time. The milk was so much more delicious than anything Nigel or the housemate had tried. That same year, Nigel discontinued studying for a Social Change concentration at Georgia State University in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Department and began working food service and food delivery jobs while working on developing the cooperative and continuing social justice movement work.

In the spring of 2014, Pecan Milk Co-op purchased www.pecanmilk.com. In the autumn of 2014, Pecan Milk Cooperative, LLC was registered with the Georgia Secretary of State.
In the spring of 2015, the co-op opened a business account at a local credit union. After nearly a year of working with the Georgia Department of Agriculture for approval equipped with both ignorance of the process, Southern politeness and inextinguishable tenacity, the co-op received a Manufactured Food License in the autumn of 2016.

In 2018, the co-op took a break from the farmer’s market scene and met with the grocery manager of Sevananda Natural Foods Market Cooperative. This major health food store — the largest health food cooperative in the Southeast — was the first grocery store that Pecan Milk was sold in from the shelves. At the height of the co-op membership here, there were up to seventeen locals interested in becoming working, owning members of Pecan Milk Co-op. Shockingly, though, in August 2018, two of our beloved team and community members were caught in a high tide at Tybee Island off of the Georgia coast, drowned and died. Montell “Monte” Newton was only twenty-four years old, a housing insecure musician, photographer and event organizer. Kiwan Benson, a veritable rockstar, was thirty-one years old. Those devastating losses shaped us and our business. We understand that they’ve never stopped helping us out.

We provided milk for a few other independent grocery stores in 2018: Floral Park Market and Savi Midtown. That year, we also consistently provided milk to our first coffee shop Condesa Coffee. Over the next few years, instead of focusing on making sales and increasing clients, the co-op refined the structure and ironed out mistakes. It was important to become great at operating the collective business before building relationships with important wholesale clients. Proudly, Pecan Milk Cooperative is Black-owned and LGBT-owned. We welcome people of all ethnicities, genders, sexualities, immigrant statuses, ages and abilities. These days, our strong team is focused on making sure that y’all has access to high quality plant-based milk.

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