A simple name change from Re:Vision International to Re:Vision reflects the commitment of cofounders Eric Kornacki and Joseph Teipel to cultivate a thriving community from the ground up. They are enthusiastically encouraging residents of this urban neighborhood southwest of downtown Denver to create their own economic opportunities by using their own hands.
Today, Re:Vision (revision.coop/) is focusing on building a community food system, empowering residents to discover and develop their own leadership abilities, and creating community-owned cooperatives. “The co-op model really is the way of imparting community ownership and sustainability,” says Kornacki, who is the executive director of Re:Vision.
Local agricultural production and marketing is at the heart of Re:Vision’s efforts. The grassroots involvement by people living in the neighborhood is providing the momentum to carry this vision forward.
“Our Co-op Center has been a Re:Vision supporter for years, because its unique model has always looked towards the meaningful connections that can be established between urban and rural producers,” says Bill Stevenson, director of the RMFU Economic and Cooperative Development Center. “And now that the Re:Vision-sponsored Westwood Food Co-op has been incorporated, we have been working very closely with the new board on the co-op’s bylaws and board development.”
This year, Re:Vision is helping more than 300 families grow their own food. The goal is to increase this to 400 families next year. And the Westwood Food Cooperative will bring the first grocery store, and jobs, to the community.
The movement to increase access to healthy food for low-income residents of Westwood is known as Re:Farm. This approach calls for a community food system that will strengthen the community and build economic wealth at the local level.
Engaging residents and empowering them to step up to this challenge is the goal of Re:Unite. This is being accomplished through workshops to build skills and promote grassroots networking.
Re:Own is the term used to identify the steps being taken to foster self-sufficiency and use cooperatively-owned businesses to provide services and to keep dollars and control at the local level.
Not surprisingly, Re:Vision is a founding member of Denver’s Sustainable Food Policy council.
Kornacki is a past RMFU Fellow while Teipel is a current Fellow. The Fellows program provides leadership training tools to people who want to make a difference in their hometown communities as well as in the world of agriculture. Kornacki and Tiepel look forward to replicating the Re:Vision business model in other communities, a long-term goal which will take into account the unique resources and needs of the residents. For now, Re:Vision is watching its efforts take root and grow for the common good.