Building a Community-Controlled Economy: The Evangeline Co-operative Experience


186 pages
Contains Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-7857-5
DDC 334'.09717'1




Reviewed by Alice Kidd

Alice Kidd is an editor with The New Catalyst editorial collective in
Lillooet, B.C.


The Evangeline region of Prince Edward Island has been called the
“uncontested co-operative capital of North America.” Small in area
and population (20 square kilometres and 2500 residents), the local
Acadian community supports 16 co-operatives that provide employment and
services for the region. The authors’ evaluation of the role of this
organizational form in community economic development is based on their
study of two service and two workers’ co-operatives.

Two parallel histories frame the research: a description of the
several-hundred-year journey of the Acadians in Maritime Canada to their
present community on Prince Edward Island; and a brief summary of the
Antigonish Movement and its influence on Evangeline. These histories
reveal a community with a strong desire for self-determination in both
their cultural and economic life.

The authors suggest that building new economic institutions outside of
urban power centres requires the input of energy and resources.
Community consciousness of the value of interdependence and mutual
self-reliance is essential; if it does not already exist, it can be
developed. In addition, committed individuals who work in supportive
institutions can be invaluable as purveyors of good financial and
organizational advice based on up-to-date research. Working with these
basic ingredients, the self-reliant community can generate co-operatives
and other organizations capable of performing community services (such
as care for the aging) and communications support for the maintenance of
language and culture.

Evangeline is a unique place. The Acadian community has a long
tradition of co-operative action, which helps to explain its success in
developing new co-operatives. This book provides valuable insights into
the workings of this co-operative community.


Wilkinson, Paul, and Jack Quarter., “Building a Community-Controlled Economy: The Evangeline Co-operative Experience,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,