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About

OUR STORY

Green Broom Brigade Cooperative is a licensed, bonded and insured environmentally green cleaning business that provides both residential and commercial services throughout Santa Barbara County. Our goal is to provide clients with excellent cleaning services that are kind to people and the environment! Our worker-owned business uses the slogan health from the inside out to represent our dedication to superior cleaning services using environmentally green products, and our cooperative business model where workers are co-owners of the business.



Green Broom Brigade is part of a comprehensive plan to address the need for good, sustainable jobs through the creation of worker-owned cooperative businesses. As a worker cooperative, Green Broom Brigade is owned and democratically controlled by the workers. The cooperative business model is a well-established, proven business structure with examples across the United States, Canada and the world.


OUR NAME

The inspiration for the name, Green Broom Brigade dates back to 1889 when Broom Brigades started at the University of Minnesota. At the time, men at the university were taking classes in military science and tactics, which included throwing rifles as well as practicing military drills. A group of women petitioned the school to be allowed to join the mens military training classes.
The university response to the womens request was that they would be allowed to practice military exercises but not to join the classes. The exercises were very popular among women and they created their own unit which they called Company Q and began practicing their drills behind closed doors.
Not everyone was thrilled that women were involved in military drills and one newspaper wrote they should be taught cooking, cleaning, and sweeping, not how to throw wooden rifles. This article led a reporter for the school newspaper to sarcastically report that a broom brigade would be an excellent enhancement to the school.

black and white image of the original broom brigade in 1889

Several months later, at the commencement ceremony, the women performed their routine for an audience. The performance was a huge success and even those once skeptical of women performing military drills were amazed by their talents. Broom Brigades appeared at several universities throughout the country and their inspiring story is the namesake of our cooperative.
Modern Broom Brigades are grassroots movements where people come together to literally clean up the streets. After the 2011 riots in London, hundreds of citizens arrived with brooms in hand to clean up the mess left on the streets.
While the plan for Green Broom Brigade Cooperative is to clean homes and businesses, the spirit of community outreach is strong in our values.


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