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A guide to SSE entrepreneurship from a gender perspective

Article by Ripess Intercontinental, November 2019

Quartiers du Monde (QDM) publishes the guide “Accompanying social and solidarity entrepreneurship with a gender perspective”. The purpose of this document is to provide tools for alternative entrepreneurship for women’s socio-economic autonomy.

Quartiers du Monde (QDM), a French international solidarity NGO and member of RIPESS “Women and SSE” working group, publishes the guide “Accompanying social and solidarity entrepreneurship with a gender perspective“. The guide proposes tools to entrepreneurship differently and reach the women socio-economic autonomy. This guide is the product of a co-construction between organizations from Latin America, Africa and France.

Why do women pay more attention to others than they receive? The profound inequality in the use of the time that mark our societies must challenge us all. It should be noted that women’s time is still considered an inexhaustible resource, an adjustment variable between the irreconcilable logics of the market economy and life.

It is therefore essential to reflect on how to build other ways of doing business, based on the thinking of women involved in Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) companies. Thus, this guide was created on the basis of the South-South-North network program “Women of the World: A Network of Women Entrepreneurs in Solidarity” and is based on two pillars: SSE and the gender perspective (GP). This orientation is intended to respond to the observation that the registration of an activity in the SSE field is not sufficient to promote equality between women and men despite the values established within the SSE.

Thus, by integrating SSE within a gender perspective, this guide follows a conceptual approach and a method of intervention that aims at real equality between women and men to counter the effects of certain initiatives through gender mainstreaming, in order to transform the gender inequality generated by patriarchal and neoliberal systems in the world.

Goals and objectives

The guide ” Accompanying social and solidarity entrepreneurship with a gender perspective ” provides training and reinforcement of the linguistic skills that accompany any social and solidarity entrepreneurial initiative in a facilitator’s gender perspective. As well as a collective reflection on the issues addressed, which places women entrepreneurs as protagonists in each stage of their business initiatives, from creation to consolidation.

The guide also enables entrepreneurs to make decisions based on their territory, giving them a viable financial vision and social justice, working towards transforming women’s economic activities into viable business initiatives and creating collective wealth.

The main objectives, as presented at a RIPESS Women and SSE Group webinar in late 2017, are:

  • Empower and strengthen the facilitators’ capacities and groups and networks leaders to support social and solidarity entrepreneurship with a gender perspective.
  • Empower and strengthen women’s capacities within collectives with income-generating activities and SSE initiatives with gender perspective.
  • Contribute to the strengthening and transformation of women’s economic activities towards viable entrepreneurial initiatives that create collective wealth.

It has 4 main sections:

  1. Introduction to the plural economy
  2. Entrepreneurship Preparation
  3. Steps to develop an SSE entrepreneurial initiative with a gender perspective
  4. Additional information and tools

And each section includes dynamic proposals, descriptive content, real examples, as well as exercises and various other additional materials in the form of videos, fact sheets, etc.

The guide can be used by different groups, women or mixed, cooperatives, social organizations, etc., and can be implemented with other methods that accompany the creation of social solidarity entrepreneurship, as its contribution focuses on the women and men’s transformation.

Finally, it should be kept in mind that it is a guide and it can -and should be- adapted to each context, as it provides a solid basis for the evolution and support of processes when creating justice and equality in neighborhoods and communities.

Facilitators who use these resources encourage discussion, reflection and planning to promote a more inclusive, fair and equal SSE between women and men, so the most important thing is this fact.

The process of reflection and work behind the development of the guide

The guide is the result of a sixty-month process of reflection and learning. During this period, nine women’s associations and ten women leaders – present in working-class neighborhoods in Latin America, East Africa and Northern France – worked to integrate the gender perspective into SSE using various tools.

The advisors, the program’s international coordination and the facilitators met during five formative face-to-face meetings (in Bolivia 2017 and 2013, Morocco in 2014, Colombia in 2015, Paris in 2016).

In addition, they contacted each other virtually, through the network forum and a webinar platform, to discuss the tools’ application, the relevance and response of women, and to systematize learning. The resources were co-constructed by all stakeholders, and the associations made a cultural adaptation and translated into their original languages.

RIPESS and Quartiers du Monde join forces around the guide

In 2018, a pilot training based on the guide was carried out in Mali, within the SSE network, RENAPESS.

This experience led to an idea for a joint project between RIPESS and Quartiers du Monde, which is currently being developed. The central idea would be the formation of pilot RIPESS SSE networks in the gender approach of various countries and continents. This project would include the application of the knowledge and skills acquired in the operation of the networks themselves, in their activities to support collectives, and in their advocacy work on SSE and gender. Without forgetting the convergence with other movements of transformative economies around the subject thanks to the visions and skills acquired, echoing the current dynamic of convergences of transformative economies in which both RIPESS and Quartiers du Monde participate (World Social Forum of Transformative Economies)

A RIPESS pilot SE Learning Tour & Cross-training in the US

An article by Ripess International, November 8, 2019

This week, from November 8th to 11th, the RIPESS Education working group will pilot the Solidarity Economy Learning Tour & Cross-training hosted by Cooperation Jackson (US) with the participation of both local and international trainers from the US, Latin America and the Caribbean; Canada; Europe and Eastern Asia.

The aim is to allow an exchange of knowledge of Solidarity Economy (SE) trainers and work on the development of an SE curriculum. Both the format of the learning tour, based on visiting local SE practices, and the curriculum that is being developed will be available to other SE networks/initiatives to be used and adapted to their local contexts. The understanding of SE is about a way to change the current economic and social capitalist paradigm towards a more just and sustainable world.

During these four days, the participants will combine classroom learning to provide a grounding in the theory, practice and organizing strategies to build the solidarity economy with site visits to see and engage with real world solidarity economy practices.

Amongst the objectives, this project wants to pilot and co-develop a SE Curriculum, including materials, methodologies, and guidelines, and facilitated by SE educators from around the world, as well as Cooperation Jackson folks. And also, to connect and get to know each other and engage in a process of personal transformation: “to know ourselves in relationship to others – an understanding of ‘us’ and mutuality”.

By being a training of trainers, this gathering of trainers also aims to generate a dialogue, sharing and networking between trainers who are connected to the grassroots SE movements from all over the world. Taking a popular education approach, the participants will begin with the knowledge of the participants and understand that everyone is a teacher and learner.

This approach, which well aligned with SE in terms of its principles, foundations, and methods, is a process of analysis-looking for patterns, accessing new knowledge as needed, developing a strategy of action, implementing that action, then returning to a reflection of the experience, analysis, gathering new knowledge to transform the local and global economy to construct a new society based on justice, equality and love, and so forth. The goal of popular education is to engage in a continual process of reflection and action in order to achieve the transformation of reality through an economic, social and political liberation.

Cooperation Jackson, Mississippi (US)

The gathering of trainers is hosted by Cooperation Jackson a project that is igniting a lot of excitement in the U.S. as well as internationally as it is part of a broader vision to transform the local and regional economy and society through a political/electoral strategy, grassroots organizing through people’s assemblies, and building the SE through a cooperative network consisting of four interdependent institutions: a federation of local worker cooperatives, a cooperative incubator, a cooperative education and training center, and a cooperative bank or financial institution.

For these reasons, RIPESS’ education working group has decided to collaborate with Cooperation Jackson to organize this gathering of trainers and to start developing a Solidarity Economy Curriculum that can be used in the future by people from all around the world.

SE Education material available on Socioeco

The RIPESS Education working group has compiled a list of SE training material to be available to any person interested or working on SE and education. All the material can be found in Socioeco, the RIPESS’ resource center and we invite all trainers and SE networks to send new materials socioeco.org to be included in the section on SE training tool material or in the special map on pedagogical tools.

RIPESS will publish some updates during the gathering of trainers on our social media accounts Twitter and Facebook. So, stay tuned to follow the development of the SE Curriculum and all participants’ learnings during these four intense days.

The world is on fire….. let’s join forces with peaceful counter-fires

By Josette Combes

This November, we can only be concerned about the state of the world: Sydney threatened by the flames while bushfires burned more than 10,000 km2 in Australia. Similarly, Amazonia has been the victim of devastating fires, California is facing the same devastation while Venice is experiencing one of the highest floods in its history and this list could grow longer and longer. Despite denials from climate skeptics, there is a link between these series of disasters and climate degradation and between this degradation and the now uncontested absurdity of our energy-intensive lifestyles. According to the World Climate Risk Index (WCRI), even if developing countries are the most affected, because they are exposed to harsh climates, Europe is far from escaping the threat. For example, France is 18th, Portugal 21st, Germany 23rd and Italy 25th according to the IRC ranking. The cause of climate change is identified: greenhouse gas emissions linked to the production and frantic consumption of modern countries, and in the process the eradication of biodiversity through the concreting of agricultural land, and intensive monoculture. All this is now well known and documented. Solutions exist, those that citizens are striving to implement as they organize to fight against this deadly entropy that threatens the present and even more so the future. Waiting for governments, who will meet for the umpteenth Climate Summit (COP25) in Madrid in December, to decide to declare the climate emergency and act accordingly….

RIPESS brings together within its networks these initiatives which demonstrate that the drift of an economy totally disconnected from the consequences that its development entails is not a fatality and that it is possible to sustain life by avoiding the appalling costs that accompany the current hubris. There is an urgent need to unite the forces of the various movements and initiatives that are building forms of post-capitalist economies, transforming economies for systemic change that can no longer be postponed.

There is an urgent need because people all over the world are rebelling against the unfair conditions in which the economy of transnational corporations – which are champions of tax evasion – is forcing them to live or even barely survive. No continent is free from this rise of popular anger, even if the triggers may – at first sight – vary. Hong Kong, Bolivia, Haïti, Venezuela, Chile and Brazil are facing fierce repression in the face of the protest that arises from the confiscation of democracy by authoritarian powers supported by major predators who are calling for the suppression of social achievements. The movement is reaching the Iranian people despite a very coercive system, in Lebanon, in Iraq the same effervescence. In France, all demonstrations are marred by violence, whether they are those of demonstrators or even more of armed police officers. And in Syria, in the midst of a long and atrocious war, the resistance and development of a society based on solidarity and cooperation like Rojava is a lesson in hope and tenacity to which we must connect and that we must defend. The rise of fascisms is a real threath.

Multinational companies are losing ground even if they do not risk communicating on this chapter for obvious reasons, including the GAFAs (1). It can be hypothesized that large groups feel the end of their supremacy coming because humans are gradually becoming aware that the danger of an uninhabitable planet is looming over the human species and that it is the consequence of the over-consumption of products that are not really useful, or even harmful, starting with agricultural production filled with pesticides and inputs. The search for relocating production and related consumption is accelerating.

That is why it is urgent to join forces to build and continue to build areas of resilience, to invent peaceful counter-fires, to animate agoras of hope. This is why the members of the network, on their territories, boil pots of counter-poison. You will have some examples in our November newsletter. And don’t hesitate to let us know about your own recipes. Let us remain vigilant to maintain the taste of good living.

(1) GAFA: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon

RIPESS is looking for a project manager for the WSF of Transformative Economies
October 30, 2019
0
FSMET 2020

From the intercontinental network of Social Solidarity Economy RIPESS we are looking for a project manager with the aim of coordinating the implementation of the World Social Forum of Transforming Economies 2020 within the Network. If you are interested and meet the requirements, you have until November 8th to submit your candidacy.

From RIPESS Europe and RIPESS Intercontinental (during the 2016 WSF in Montreal) the idea to organize a Thematic World Social Forum of “transformative economies” for 2020 in Barcelona (https://transformadora.org/en) was taken forward. This perspective opened up a two-year process in which the aim is to promote the acceleration of convergence dynamics between movements and networks offering alternatives and transformative solutions with a transformative vision (such as agroecological, feminist, commons, solidarity economy and cooperative (…) movements/ networks).

The first year of the process driven mostly by the SSE movement through RIPESS, RIPESS Europe and its Spanish (REAS) and Catalan (XES) members, has led to a preparatory meeting in April 2019 in Barcelona. In July 2019 a meeting of international networks/movements of transformative economies has allowed the creation of an extended coordination committee integrating more geographical and thematic diversity of networks/movements. In a context in which RIPESS represents one of the most committed networks within this diversity and its particular international composition, and besides the fact that many more activities and actions deriving from the planning, organization, realization, conclusion and follow-up of the WSF TE have emerged, there is a need for RIPESS to animate its own dynamics within its network, beyond the follow-up of the new coordination committee and the different commissions in collaboration with the other movements and networks involved.

In this situation, the RIPESS delegates in the process need a person in charge of coordinating the implementation of the forum process among the network, by promoting the transfer of information between the various decision-making and organisational bodies. This person will be responsible for ensuring that the inputs of RIPESS and its members actively contribute to the preparation of the 2020 meeting, in accordance with the RIPESS strategy in the WSF TE process.

Check the offer here (pdf).

The deadline for applications is November 8th, 2019. Send applications in Spanish and English with CV and motivation letter to info@ripess.org

Rise Up For Rojava
Rise up for Rojava

RIPESS Europe gathers hundred of initiatives acting through solidarity economy, allied to develop social and economic justice. As a network we bring together over 40 national, sectoral and inter-sectoral networks in several European countries. 

The experience of Rojava, the “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria”, has been embodying hope through democratic cooperation.

Rojava women and men have been demonstrating to the world it is possible to organize social and economic justice by articulating self-governed councils, communes and cooperatives. Demonstrating it is possible to build a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Demonstrating it is possible to implement a eco-feminist political project. 

Some members of RIPESS are working – directly or indirectly , with groups in Rojava, such as Solidarity Economy Association (UK) participating in a project called
Cooperation in Mesopotamia, “Fostering international solidarity between the UK co-op movement and the predominantly women-led solidarity economy that’s being created in Northeastern Syria”.

Turkey is now set to destroy the people of Rojava’s Democratic Federation, and ISIS is using the Turkish attacks for insurgency.

We have been learning from Rojava people tenacity in organizing justice and freedom in a society facing war and in a region under attack from many sides. We have been learning from Rojava people the meaning of cooperation and emancipation.

We join the democratic movements worldwide to resist and stop the war against the people of Rojava: Rise Up for Rojava now.

Meeting on Social Impact, November 28 at Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
L’impact social au-delà des chiffres Les partenaires du projet européen VISES organisent leurs 3èmes rencontres de l’impact social : “L’impact social au-delà des chiffres “. Cet évènement se tiendra le jeudi 28 novembre 2019 de 9h30 à 14h à Villeneuve d´Ascq. Après 4 ans de recherche-action, les partenaires du projet européen VISES dévoilent leurs résultats. Entreprises-testeuses, centres de recherche, fédérations d’entreprises d’économie sociale et solidaire de France et de Belgique vous expliqueront ce qu’ils ont apporté au projet et en quoi VISES leur a été utile ! Sera également présent le TIESS (Territoires Innovants en Economie Sociale et Solidaire – centre de transfert Québécois en innovation sociale), qui nous partagera sa vision de l’évaluation de l’impact social, l’idée étant d’ouvrir la réflexion sur une vision commune de l’impact social, au delà des frontières. Pour plus d’infos sur le projet Vises, n’hésitez pas à vous rendre sur le site dédié : http://www.projetvisesproject.eu/

Pour vous inscrire ou pour plus d’informations, contacter l’Apes – Olivia Ruel-Mailfert : oliviamailfert@apes-hdf.org

The WSFTE will take place 25th-28th of June 2020 in Barcelona

The World Social Forum of Transformative Economies will take place from the 25th to the 28th of June 2020 in Barcelona. The decision was taken by the members of Barcelona’s local convergence group, the hosts of the event, which is made up of activists from various transformative economies sectors (feminist economies, food sovereignty and agroecology, the commons, the social and solidarity economy, and fair trade and ethical finance, amongst others).

The dates were chosen taking into account the calendar of international events in which the organizations of the Coordination Committee, which promotes the process at an international level, take part. The aim was that these activities would not clash with others, in order to favor the participation of as many people as possible.

With a nine-month calendar, the members of the local Barcelona convergence group and the members of the Coordination Committee are already organizing themselves in different working commissions, to take charge of tasks such as logistics, Forum contents, communications, and the welcome of the international participants who will come to Barcelona to take part in the event.

The aim is to make the WSFTE a diverse event, with broad representation from all five continents and the maximum number of different collectives, such as farm workers, indigenous people, squatters’ movements, LGBTI people, feminist movements, spiritual movements, youth movements, labour unions and also people working in education, digital economies, and alternative media, amongst others.

The idea is to boost awareness of the transformative economies projects that already exist and which prove that there is an alternative to the capitalist model, in addition to building connections between agencies, organizations and networks around the world.

Another goal is to make the WSFTE a beneficial space for the connection and convergence between the different transformative economies movements, and to define a common global agenda regarding transformative economies, in addition to a collective commitment and specific agreements to ensure the continuation of the movement beyond the convergence process.

To reach these goals, the WSFTE will include a program based on different roadmaps with activities such as workshops, talks, cultural program, creative spaces, virtual participation and areas for children, amongst other.

To follow the Forum’s news, how to register, virtual participation spaces, local convergence events, videos, see https://transformadora.org/en

For more information on the July meeting and the composition of the new Coordination Committee for the event, see https://transformadora.org/en/node/241

Global Peace Marches 2019-2020 from India and Senegal

On October 2, 2019 – the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, a 14,000 km, one-year global march for justice and peace, called Jai Jagat 2020, will start from New Delhi to Geneva. Winding through 10 countries with nonviolence training and events on key justice themes along the way, and joining with separate marches starting from a number of countries in Europe and northwest Africa as well as delegates from around the world, participants will be welcomed and hosted by the City and Canton of Geneva for a week (26 September – 2nd October 2020) of workshops, advocacy meetings and cultural events.

This initiative urges the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a dialogue with UN agencies in Geneva. Four Pillars of Advocacy related to the SDGs are at the core of the Jai Jagat campaign. These are: eradication of poverty, social inclusion, climate justice and the nonviolent resolution of conflicts.

Local committees all along the route will organize daily events, and there will be daily non-violence trainings, making this a year-long practice of non-violence. In some countries new families and new individuals with different stories will be included in the march.

​The arrival of the great march of Jai Jagat bearing the message of Gandhi and the voice of the voiceless is the perfect occasion, through a nonviolent dialogue, to promote various solutions for a world that works for everyone. To welcome the march, a festival/forum of change will be launched; combining, according to Gandhi’s vision, individual transformation with collective change. An innovative contribution to the key role of Geneva in the success of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations.

The Caravan For The Earth To Live

The POUR QUE VIVE LA TERRE caravan offers its public a meeting place for the diffusion and sharing of actions that bring hope.

In agriculture, ecology, politics, economics, social and cultural alternative solutions exist. The caravan creates a space for sharing so that these solutions can grow through the commitment of all. It takes place on average one week in each place to offer conferences, screenings, shows, parties and workshops. We think about it, we learn about it, we train ourselves, we celebrate.

WHY?

In the face of the current economic, social and environmental crises, many individuals are seeking a profound change in the way we live our societies. But many feel that they are helpless. What can I do about it?

Vectors of positive transformations, carriers of hope, the various alternatives underway are already determining the advent of a better world where the human values of solidarity, sobriety and respect for nature will be at the heart of our projects and our businesses.

The caravan is associated with the Delhi-Geneva Jai Jagat 2020 march, organized by Ekta Parishad, which will arrive in Geneva in October 2020.

Community Supported Agriculture and Climate Change

How does the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) contribute to the fight against global warming? Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci, explains the role of Community Supported Agriculture and its benefits in mitigating our impact on the climate.

Written by Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci

Climate change, or climate crisis as it is now more correctly called, is the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is there, and is acting as though it is invisible. Yet it is the single most deadly threat to humanity and life on earth. This September will see several key global events, from the Climate Action Summit to the Global Climate Strike from September 20th to 27th.

Sadly, when you work deeply on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at UN level, you fast realise that they are built on an inherent growth model that continues to exploit more planetary reserves and fossil fuels than our planet or climate can support. And that the indicators that exist can not be changed. But that should not and hopefully will not stop us from acting on the ground!

Yet although we have probably now reached the tipping point where the damage to our climate has become irreversible, we can still do much to mitigate the impacts. And indeed we must address the issues as urgently as possible, with legal frameworks at State and Local Authority level. Placing the responsibility on individual consumers is not and can not provide more than a sticking plaster on the haemorrhage of runaway climate change.

So let us look at some of the aspects where it might be possible to make small but significant impacts to mitigate the burning issues. And burning they are right now, from the Amazon to the Arctic…

The benefits of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Peasant agriculture, small-scale family farming, artisinal fisheries and Indigenous practice combine in agroecology to provide us with a science, a practice and a social movement that includes solidarity economy. This has been recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the 10 Elements of Agroecology. And short/direct food chains, especially Community Supported Agriculture can be placed high on the list of linking producers to consumers to build sustainable territorial food systems. The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model works on the basis of a tandem of producer/consumer direct localised solidarity-based relations, and has the concept of shared risks and benefits at the heart of the concept.

How does CSA benefit the climate? Well firstly, agroecological practice involves using no chemical inputs or plastics (in some cases this may involve a transitional period). It uses techniques such as mulching and cover crops as well as the use of good old-fashioned manure as fertiliser. And it is possible to fight insects and pests through either companion crops or natural insecticides produced on-farm. So no fossil fuels or externalisation involved.

There are also a number of ways in which the impact on the soil can be minimised, such as ‘no till’ or using draft horses to plough the fields. Again, no fossil fuels involved. In the case of harvesting, much is done manually as well, as in the case of Rupert Dunn, a wonderful peasant-baker who grows his own heritage grains in Wales, and harvests the fields using a scythe! In most CSAs, there are also farm days when the CSA members come and help on the farm. My grandsons soon learnt that picking up potatoes on their CSA was hard, back-breaking work. They now have a new appreciation of what work goes into the potato crop!

As the climate becomes increasingly unstable, it is essential to use local peasant seeds that can adapt progressively to these changes. They stand a far better chance of resilience, compared with hybrid or even GM- CRISPR modified seeds sold by the big seed companies. They are also far higher in nutritional value, both instrinsically and because the soil is healthy, living soil with a rich micro-biome. Which leads to a healthy human micro-biome and healthier, happier people!

In terms of nutrition, climate change is set to reduce the nutritional value of food in a serious way. The agroecological approach and fast food-to-fork turn over means that nutritional value is optimised. Many greens lose 30% of their nutritional value and vitamins in particular after the first 3 days. Chemical inputs (pesticides and fetilisers) are now proven to cause over 20% more cancers than a diet of organic/agroecologically grown food. So imagine if your salad is grown in the South of Spain, on a farm using chemical inputs, and has travelled for several days to reach your supermarket…

The impact of our current model

The global trend is also the capture of the complete food chain by the industrial food companies (the same groups as those who own the seeds, the inputs, and the farms also own the food processing companies and supermarket chains…). Sadly “cheap” processed food and ready meals that are high in fat and sugar are widely bought by many consumers. People have in many cases forgotten how to cook, if indeed they ever knew how, which is the norm for many of the younger generation. This represents a quadruple danger: the destruction of the environment and climate change through industrial agriculture; the myth of “cheap” food based on exploitation of labour and lack of real nutritional content in the food (calories versus nutrition is a serious global issue); the excessive use of fossil fuel in the processing, transport and excessive packaging. And finally the cost of excessive healthcare linked to obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) from eating an unhealthy diet.

This article would not be complete without some mention of climate change and the management of our rivers and oceans. Excessive chemical inputs on large industrial conventional farms and release of slurry has created a very toxic situation for many of our rivers through the run-off first into streams and rivers and then into the oceans. And this in turn contributes to the acidification of our oceans. And just as large-scale industrial farms are producing poor quality meat and vegetables, industrial fisheries are destroying the oceans. Artisinal fishers can provide local communities with fresh fish, and there are a growing number of Community Supported Fisheries that operate in the same way as Community Supported Agriculture. Urgenci is currently working to develop this activity.

In terms of sustainable territorial food systems, and CSA in particular, there is also a low carbon footprint concerning the delivery from farms to the eaters. Delivery points are often in the schools or a neighbourhood café, so parents can easily access these points without having to use their car any more than they already would be using it. It is aslo quite common to have multiple producers deliver at the same point, thus allowing consumers to do a ‘one-stop-shop’ just like at the supermarket. Except that it is far more convivial!

The importance of community lands

There is also a shift to the remunicipalisation and relocalisation of public procurement: moving to local food production and preparation for school meals and Green Public Procurement is a strong emerging trend in many cities. It can even involve Community Land Trusts, or use local Municipal Land to grow the food. The question of land is indeed one of the key issues today in building sustainable territorial food systems and guaranteed urban rural linkages. Green belts need to be preserved to ensure food production can continue, and access to land for young producers also needs to be facilitated.

Community Land Trusts are one of the key ways of doing this, as well as incubator farms and agroecology farmer-to-farmer field training schools. Local Authorities have a vital role to play in facilitating these aspects. Good policy exists in terms of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance and Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries, as well as the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries. Likewise, there are a growing number of farmer-led and consumer led co-operative shops, and many different manifestations of a growing movement to relocalise our food systems and fight climate change. This shift is clearly aligned with many values of solidarity economy, generally involves participatory governance, and has the growing implication of Local Authorities at different levels. Different mechanisms exist to ensure affordability for those who are socially excluded.

The commitment to CSA does involve learning to use what is in your weekly share and to cook somewhat differently than if you make a shopping list and go to the supermarket, but it is a collective adventure and generally a return to how our grandparents ate and cooked. Community Supported Agriculture and Community Supported Fisheries are by far the most committed model, and the fight to re-appropriate our food system through food sovereignty and the right to food lies at the core. Human rights are indivisible. The rights of Mother Earth and the right to a healthy nutritious diet are closely linked and at the core of our fight to stop runaway climate change.

Solidarity Oxford mapping the city’s solidarity economy

Solidarity Oxford is a website and digital map which has been produced as part of the Solidarity Economy Association’s Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project.

Oxford has a whole host of organisations, projects and people working to create a just and sustainable city. From swap shops and childcare circles to housing co-ops and community farms, we’ve got a thriving network of initiatives meeting the needs of our communities in ways that put people, and our environment, first.

Around the world, activity like this is known as the solidarity economy. In many cities and countries – from New York City to Barcelona, and from Mali to Brazil – solidarity economy initiatives play a fundamental role in people’s lives.

In New York City, a group of people came together to create a map of their solidarity economy, and this map has helped to make their city’s communities more onnected, their projects and initiatives stronger, and has helped more people to be able to access the products and services they need in ethical and sustainable ways.

We’ve been exploring whether creating a map in Oxford is similarly helpful for our communities.

A big part of SEA’s mission is to make the solidarity economy in the UK stronger, and to encourage more people to find out about it and support in their local area. Our Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project is about celebrating what’s important in our city’s communities, and showing how all the different projects, initiatives and organisations are helping to create a more just and sustainable world.

Together, we are creating an alternative economy based on cooperation and self-determination, which empowers everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or background, and which cares about the health and well-being of people and the planet.

Our longer-term vision is also to show how the solidarity economy that exists in communities, cities and regions in the United Kingdom is part of a much larger movement of people around the world, all working to transform our economic system into a system that works for all.

Download our Pilot Project Report

More info here

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