Freerange Cooperative?

Dear Freerangers!

Things have been looking up and up for Freerange. We have now released 4 journals (with two more to come this year!), around 6 books, and have a functional and awesome website with 2 new articles a week appearing on it.

We have around 2000 people on our contact list, and around 2000 people a month visit the website.

We don’t really make any money, but do cover our costs and are about to give $2000 to Architecture for Humanity to do a project in Christchurch from the sales of Chur Chur: Stories from the Christchurch earthquake.   We do have enough funds in stock to continue printing future copies of our Journal as they come out (and hopefully pay myself back soon for the original investment.)

The increased participation and consolidation of Freerange has been massively helped by the ongoing support of folk like Shakey Mo, and Gina Moss and more recently by Nick Sargent, Byron Kinnaird and Jacqui Moyes.   Plus heaps of others that help edit, write, produce, consume the online and printed content.

All this makes me think it might be time to formalise the organisation of Freerange.  So far it has legally just being me operating as a sole trader, and with the informal notion that this is a cooperative.  I’d like to look into setting freerange up as a proper legal cooperative, which would share the ownership and the gains of ownership between us in some way.  There are a number of different types of Cooperative, and it’d be great if any of you were interested in participating in working through how we might do it. is good, or just google around.

The one that jumps out initially is a kind of producer coop where we are join as creative producers (of text, images, design etc) and Freerange is a vehicle for us to spread, sell and disseminate our work to producers (and each other). i don’t think this would significantly change they way we operate now apart from:

  • Making the whole thing more inclusive and transparent,
  • Setting us up as a proper company (we can be a not-for-profit if we want)
  • We could use it to increase the subscription rates if we wanted by making that a mandatory act of being in the cooperative so we pay to join, but all get copies of the journal for that cost.
  • If we do this we can buy a .coop web address.  How funny would be?  Like a chicken coop!

So what does everyone think? any thoughts?


3 Replies to “Freerange Cooperative?”

  1. Barnaby, this looks like a great model, and has been something I’ve been thinking about for a while. The Coop principles are fantastic and seem to me exactly what Freerange already is, as a type of Producer Coop, with flat and inclusive organisational practices.
    The ‘buy-in’ by members in the form of subscription makes a lot of sense, I support that idea because these small investments are also a form of commitment from the members (democracy by participation and all that). Im undecided about what financial model it could take, non-profit etc.. the current practice of supporting worthwhile projects (AfH, independant film projects, etc) while keeping a kitty to keep ‘core’ FR projects going like the Journal seems to be working.. hopefully we may even be able to financially support the maintenance of the website, distribution, marketing etc…

  2. Yes it looks like a good idea to me. We probably have been operating as a coop the whole time really..! Paying a membership of some kind seems reasonable to me, especially if we get copies of the mag in exchange that really makes sense.

    I suppose we are liable to pay tax through you being a sole trader already aren’t we? I would like Freerange to be non-profit. That essentially means that we put any profit back into the ‘business’ rather than skimming it off ourselves as members. I think.

    I would say we could begin reasonable exclusive, as in you have to contribute creatively to Freerange in order to be a member, not just pay a fee. That should just be readership or subscription.

    It has my vote. Fo Shiz.


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