Patrick McGuire recounts an organizing drive at a grocery coop in Winnipeg in the late 1990s, before the IWW developed its Organizer Training program.
I went to a Propagandhi concert in 1993 and decided to become a vegan. After becoming a vegan, I needed to find tofu, soymilk and lentils, so I started shopping at Harvest Collective. Harvest was a natural and organic food consumer co-op that had operated in the Wolseley neighbourhood (or the Granola Belt) of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for about 20 years. The store was ridiculously small, crowded and always had some weird scent that I couldn’t quite place. Due to its relative longevity and success, a second location was opened across the Assiniboine river on Corydon Ave in the Little Italy district. Originally, this breakaway shop was a separate consumer co-op called Sunflower, but, due to poor management, it was eventually acquired by the original Harvest Collective. These two stores would come to be the first workplaces ever organized into the IWW and certified by the Manitoba Labour Relations Board in the history of our prairie province.