More than Housing - Boston's Cooperative Economy

This section expands our focus from collective houses to the creation of a localized, comprehensive, and regenerative cooperative economy in the Boston-area, New England, and the world.

Be sure to check out the Resources for Co-ops page for info on sourcing and growing food, anti-oppression trainings, and other ideas for cooperative living in the Boston area.

Cool, collective, and grassroots projects in Boston

Services and Stuff

Boston Building Resources "
provides high-value, affordable materials, both new and used, for home maintenance and improvements. But beyond simply buying products, customers can find expert advice, technical assistance, and hands-on workshops that teach home improvement skills."  The co-op has two parts:
  • Boston Building Materials Co-op, a consumer co-op, "provides new materials for home improvement with a special focus on kitchen cabinetry, windows, doors, energy-saving products, and green products."
  • The Reuse Center "is a charitable nonprofit that accepts donations of new and gently used materials for resale."  The Reuse Center offers discounts to low-income customers.
Co-op Power "is a consumer-owned renewable energy cooperative" in the greater Boston area.  "As consumers, we harness our collective buying power to secure sustainable and affordable energy products & services. ... As investors ... we harness our financial resources (our member equity, member loans) to creating the sustainable energy resources and jobs we need now."

Timetrade Circle is a Cambridge-based "local bank – but we keep track of time. When you spend an hour of your time performing a service for somebody else, we credit you with one Timebank Hour. You can cash in that Timebank Hour on a service provided by another member of our bank. Whether you give a music lesson, take care of someone's pet, volunteer at a community center, or help someone get to a doctor's appointment, one actual hour equals one Timebank Hour."

Freecycle is a free to use classifieds site for all your free stuff needs-- post an offer or grab some treasure from a neighbor.


Corvid College calls itself "
an experiment in equalizing the place of teachers students and books in the things we do to fulfill our natural educative impulse."  It is Boston's premier free school-- free in thought, free of hierarchy, and free of debt.  The school offers truly impressive courses on a wide variety of subjects, and invites anyone wo has cultivated an expertise or a deep curiosity to teach a course.

Free School University is one of Occupy Boston's ongoing projects.  FSU classes "entertain, educate, and enliven individuals through free and relevant education.  Our purpose is to support and create the space for skill sharing and sharing basic info regarding Occupy Boston and to encourage self-organization, teaching, and learning."   

The Collective House Assembly Meetup Calendar features a variety of of workshops and lectures taking place at co-op houses around Boston.

Get books and zines from the Lucy Parson's Center, a non-profit, worker-run collective bookstore in JP, or from the all-volunteer Papercut Zine Library at Lorem Ipsum, a bookstore in Cambridge.



Broadway Bicycle School is a worker-owned bike shop and bike repair school in Cambridge that also offers DIY shop space for cheap if you already know how to fix your own.

Bikes Not Bombs is a non-profit that reclaims used bikes for locla youth programs and international anti-poverty intiatives.  Shop at their bike shop in JP to fund their work.


Encuentro 5 is a collectively run "
space for progressive movement building in the heart of Boston's Chinatown organized by Massachusetts Global Action (MGA). MGA sees e5 as embodying its notion of how multi-organizational collaboratives and social movements emerge."  The place holds a LOT of organizing, from Occupy Boston to IWW and other Labor organizing.  They also host the Collective House Assembly's monthly meeting-- every 2nd Saturdays from 12pm - 2pm, at E5, 33 Harrison Ave (floor 5).

E5's website lists other community spaces in Boston: "Other important venues include the Community Church of Bostonthe Democracy CenterLucy Parsons Center, the Non Profit Center Boston, and Spontaneous Celebrations (click here for a map). Many student and campus organizations often have access to venues on their respective campuses."

Co-operative or worker-owned organizations and businesses

Boston has co-ops that provide everything from website design, fair trade coffee and chocolates, and books, to bicycle repair courses and home remodeling. We encourage co-op houses to source from co-operative businesses whenever possible!

WORC'N is the Worker-Owned and Run Cooperative Network of Greater Boston, "an informal network of worker-owned cooperatives and co-op developers that meets on the second Thursday of every month, usually in Somerville or Jamaica Plain."  Check their website for a compendium of resources on starting and running a worker-owned business.

Other worker-owned businesses include: