Open Cafe Cooperative Network Model

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Introduction to the Open Cafe Cooperative Network Model

The Open Cafe Cooperative Network Model helps a community group to create a cafe right in the middle of their community to serve as a third place where people may gather and as a shining example of Community Ownership and governance in the heart of your neighborhood.

Inspirations for this Model

This model takes as consideration the work of the Open World Cafe that is produce by the Open World Foundation and the Replanting a Rainforest project of the Open World Foundation. Stephen Hinton and Alex Rollin decided it was the time to get started on it.

Why an Open Cafe Cooperative Network Model

The cafe has become the new public space in the community. People gather to work, chat, relax, read, and meet the people they want to be with. They sit for hours, meet friends for a quick bite, and go one about their business.

For those involved in building Commons Based P2P Networks a cafe could be a place to start in your community. It can serve as a great place to meet new people who want to join into your community enterprise, and the cafe itself can be a shining example of the tip of the iceberg for the work that could be done in the community.

Many people know things about cafes. They are relatively simple to run, and in some ways only a bit more complex than a busy home kitchen when it comes to daily operation. A cafe operates at a level that many people in the community can understand and get involved in. Making it a great place is like covering it in honey to attract the bees who will do the work of making their community beautiful, feeding from the inspiration of this cafe centerpiece.

10 Reasons

10 reasons (or more) why a cafe (or something like it) is a great fixture and focus for a Commons Based P2P Network:

  • Cafes are the "now" agora. It's where people meet, as a civil public, and can do business if they like.
  • Third place. A familiar place between home and work.
  • Networking and Exposure. Lloyd's of London started as a cafe. Uberrima fides
  • Users may say "It's my place. I mean, I really do own a piece of it. It's a community asset, and I'm a shareholder. I can vote and participate in decision-making."
  • We are welcome and we govern here. We are the change we want to see in the world. It is our microcosm.
  • This idea works. Thinking global and acting local.
  • Start with something and get to the next step. Patronizing a community-owned business, and participating in the governance of community assets. Practice makes perfect, and next time it'll be something bigger than the cafe.
  • Joy in friendship new and old. Connect with the world through the light of joy in the eyes of neighbors and those we see regularly.
  • Strong Local. By building strong local projects we can connect with the world. It just works!

What is the right cafe to start?

The right cafe is the one that serves the members of your community in the following ways, prioritized by your community:

Access to casual public space 
3rd space. Between work and home. A park, but inside with warm and cold drinks and snacks.
Comfort and aesthetics 
The place feels like the place between. Clean, where a visitor can enjoy the decor and the decor serves their enjoyment and use of the space.
Welcoming friends 
A visitor can be proud to share it with friends. The hope is always that there are enough places to sit. Luckily there aren't enough chairs in the place to make it uncomfortable.
We can hear each other 
The place is muted enough that on a crowded day no one has to shout too loud. Music works for the mood, but works with the people inside, instead of trying to set the mood on top of them.
We can meet 
A small group can make a good bet that they can show up and find a table. Perhaps members can even make reservation.
Online, LOUD 
Everyone knows where the place is. It is broadcasting everything that is happening there. It's fun like that. Live.
Connect it to the Commons 
Make every process in the enterprise connect to the commons. Everything that happens there helps the commons to serve the community.

More Information



  • Financial Permaculture Worksheet - tool to be used to map the commons of the cafe. Can be used on any scale for examining inputs and outputs for a system using group discussion.

Internal Links

=External Links

Cheltenham Connect[1]