Version 3.2_September 2016
Individual Paper: Dobrze Co-op – facilitating the transition from niche to mainstream.
About the authors
Who are we and what position do we take? Combining the roles of activists, community organizers and co-op members we reflect on our own experience within the organization. Community-engaged research and collaborative building of knowledge for the sake of evaluating successes and failures.
About the Co-op
A short retrospective on our initiative. Growing from an informal group of 20 people, meeting and buying food directly from farmers once a week, to the >150 thriving community running a co-op store in the city centre, giving stable employment to at least 4 members. The main motives for founding the initiative. Connection to the Degrowth movement.
Conditions and internal/external factors
What factors were important for this process? Examples of internal factors are: assuming aware leadership, group motivation, clearly communicated goal, community building. Examples of external factors are: help from the municipality, success of crowdfunding campaigns, demand for organic products, eco-lifestyle.
Challenges and plans for the future
How big can/should we grow? In which way should the co-op develop? Hierarchy/specialization: community-building, effective democracy. Learning and teaching cooperation within the group. Is this model viable, effective in communicating/embedding degrowth values? Is this model applicable in other countries/circumstances (e.g. in Eastern Europe)?
Sustainability of the project: is it just eco-fashion or are we changing mindsets? Going beyond shopping - experiencing the commons, the role of education, democracy and community. How to facilitate the transition from niche to mainstream without losing the degrowth attitude/principles?
Start time: 14:30
Track: Environmentally sound economies