In an interdependent system, fitness comes from contributing in some way to the health of the whole. The quality of empowered participation means that all parts must be “in relationship” with the larger whole in ways that not only empower them to negotiate for their own needs, but also enable them to add their unique contribution towards the health and well-being of the larger wholes in which they are embedded.
This affordable housing cooperative land trust was built by its owners on a beautiful San Juan Island community in Washington State. The shared ownership structure has been deeply empowering to lower-income residents, enabling them to achieve economic security, affordable shelter, and to develop collaborative skills. They then go on to fulfill their dreams and to unleash their entrepreneurial energies to the greater good of the local community.
Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperatives empowers its worker owners to reinvent the lost art of economic democracy. They are also acquiring the skills that enable them, individually and collectively, to participate in a meaningful way in the regeneration og their inner city community. As Ted Howard, Executive Director of the Democracy Collaborative, reports, Evergreen worker owners are truly "actors in the history of their own lives."