March 24th, 2007 - News

Beyond profits: They're businesses, not social agencies, but their bottom line is geared to helping the needy
Miodrag Mialevic likes most of what comes with working in a kitchen – the smells, the sounds, the creativity, the chance to taste different foods every day. But there are things he doesn't like, things made all the worse by his clinical depression, such as teasing about his condition or bosses who don't seem to care. "There was not much sympathy," Mialevic says of restaurants he has worked at in the past. In the hurly-burly of a fast-paced commercial kitchen, niceties can sometimes fall by the wayside under the pressure of getting good food to hurried wait staff, he says. Mialevic is now at the Raging Spoon, a catering service run by and for people with mental health conditions. It teaches them to work in a restaurant and to take on more responsibility for the food being produced.

Sex workers look into launching co-op
The lonely girl in a pleather skirt and stilettos waiting vainly on the corner for a date isn't a typical image associated with a member of a business co-operative. Neither is the busty blond woman leering out from the E section of the telephone book. Group-owned and controlled by its members, co-ops are the traditional purview of credit unions, farmers and artists. But a coalition of prostitutes in Vancouver sees no reason why it can't join that list. Tired of unsafe working conditions, the B.C. Coalition of Experiential Women is exploring the idea of starting a sex workers co-operative, where the selling of sex and its accoutrements would be controlled not by the need to pay off drug debts or pimp fees but by the prostitutes themselves.