At the end of each year, «fruits of solidarity” sends a thank you letter to those who support the national campaigns to make them aware of the impact of their choice. And the yearly achievements for the cooperatives that make up the network in Greece.
Part of this letter is publishing here.
Those coop members who attended the last meeting of the open board Committee found the room occupied. The meeting room was transformed into a studio for the needs of local youth music groups. While the big hall was turned into a closed volley court !!
As you understand, its coop-owned and renovated facility, of a pre-industrial oil press of the 19th century, now are hosting cultural and sports activities of the area, on a permanent basis.
Another example is the amateur theatrical performance, that took place three-months ago, and had as main purpose the promotion of the local cultural and industrial heritage. In this performance most of the “actors”, were members of the local community.
The cooperative’s shop now sells products from other cooperatives in the North and East Aegean, as a member of a new networking that has been developed.
The packaging plant, after months of bureaucratic difficulties, even the law has changed in the meantime, is expected within days to get the necessary license, so the new crop can be packaged by the cooperative, significantly reducing costs, among other things.
Finally, the public olive farm of about 100 acres, despite the Prime Minister’s Announcements and the Commitments by other authorities, has not yet passed to the management of the cooperative. This olive farm is an abandoned estate, in which the declared intention of the cooperative, is scientific research and experimentation on improving the local olive variety in cooperation with the respective university institutes. But they are optimistic that the case is not lost.
As a result of the above, it is not a surprise that the cooperative now consists of 77 members (versus 63 last year) with increasing trends.
The doubling of the members of the team followed the doubling of its object. It is not only the new paste and salad products developed by the R & D team, neither the experimentation on new techniques of packaging Kalamata olive olives. It is mainly the extension to agrotourism through the organization of guided tours of the olive groves and cooperative facilities, as some of you had the opportunity to find out.
A new, complementary activity of the group, involving the local community either as a supplier or as a service provider. It manages and puts tourism in this semi-mountainous area not as a road roller for the natural environment and local culture but as a helper in the effort to transform the productive and cultivating patterns. Incorporating at the same time the larger cooperative within which the group operates.
But they don’t stop there. Through their participation in wider clusters, they are trying to promote the Kalamata Olive Protected Designation of Origin with what this implies on both cultivation practices and institutional recognition. At the same time, creating scientific and productive synergies that, through the information and communication of producers throughout the county, to jointly face major problems caused by climate change, such as the insect pest “Dakos”. A problem that as you may know, has created a huge problem across Greece this year.
About us, DOCK
In the one year since our last communication, we did a lot.
We had a lot of meeting with groups that wanted to set up SSE initiatives and we helped those of them that were ready in their first steps. In fact, 180 unique cases have contacted us, with 22 of those we had personal meetings and offered advisory support. Always without a fee in this first phase before they start their activity.
We continued the writing and publication of “guides” of understanding the institutional framework and basic concepts.
We supported the organization of some of the leading events for the development and promotion of SSE in our country and we participated in a number of training seminars for the sector.
But the biggest challenge we face is that our model of operation, free advice – free counseling to some extent, will now be formal government policy. Across the country, Support Centers with funding for 30 months, are created to do this job, which has proven to be something that people in the social and solidarity economy need in their initial steps.
But for the time being, although it has been several months, this does not seem to be the case soon.
As soon as these Supporting Centers star their job, we are thinking to to turn the resulting revenue from food campaigns for DOCK towards the support of greek SSE eco-system via funding and backstage supporting for networks and synergies that now are in a start – up status.