Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1992


Published in Great Plains Research 2:1 (February 1992), pp. 127-129. Copyright © 1992 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


For residents of rural towns throughout the United States and Canada, particularly in the Great Plains region, the issues of economic survival and community sustainability are paramount. Brett Fairbairn and colleagues book about cooperatives reintroduces an old strategy for community development. Their concept is that cooperatives are an "alternative kind of development"-well-suited to the needs of rural communities. The book is derived from the authors' concern for community development in Saskatchewan.

The book is divided into six chapters. Although not identified as such, the first three chapters serve to convince the reader that cooperatives are a good and viable mechanism for community development. These chapters seem to make up the meat of the book. Chapters 4 and 5 identify methods used in cooperatives, and Chapter 6 serves as a synthesis and reinforcement. In addition, a prologue and epilogue of hypothetical community scenarios illuminating the problems without, and the benefits with, cooperatives provide illustrative examples.