Berkeley Votes to Boost Co-op Economy in the Face of Gentrification

Arizmendi Bakery

In 1971, the owners of The Cheese Board turned their Berkeley, California, mom-and-pop shop into a co-op, where they became worker-owners alongside their former employees. Over the years, more co-ops branched out from the bakery, forming the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, a group of six bakeries and a development and support collective in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, The Cheese Board Collective, as it’s now called, has an espresso bar, a pizzeria, a menu of nearly 400 cheeses, and dozens of well-paying jobs.

Cathy Goldsmith has worked as a baker there for 21 years. Like the other worker-owners, she also has duties in human resources, accounts receivable, and community relations. She estimates that she makes about twice as much as she would make at other local bakeries where her responsibilities would be more limited.

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