We want to explore and pilot innovative and participatory approaches and co-design very practical solutions to re-set food supply chains in the Tisnov area. The project responds to current unsustainable agricultural practices and lack of social cohesion in rural areas. By applying values and principles of Social Solidarity Economy (SSE), environmental care, and civic engagement, we want to contribute to building resilient communities.
Tisnov area, South Moravia, Czech Republic
We are facing extraordinary drought, loss of quality soil, and very slow shift towards sustainable agriculture. Tisnov area consists of mostly rural settlements, however, vast majority of food is provided by global suppliers, local (organic) farming is in decline and the offering of quality local products is limited. Civic initiatives trying to re-set the food production-consumption systems in a more democratic way lack capacity to explore new models of functioning in practice and space to engage in meaningful dialog with others (farmers, educators, local authorities) which would lead to real impact. Sharing of experiences, knowledge, and resources among different actors is essential for the practical application of ideas and their testing so that they can impact on our sustainable future.
We want to implement the idea to support us and our communities, but also for future generations and our environment. The main target groups are:
· Members of the local community (Tisnov area) directly engaged in the food production-distribution system: producers, distributors, relevant consumers
· Other members of the community: relevant civic initiatives, educators, authorities, entrepreneurs, neighbors
· Existing initiatives applying and promoting economic democracy and SSE
New SSE initiatives as well as other communities sharing our values and planning to implement new (participatory) approaches in food supply chains may also benefit from our experiences. Last but not least, everyone will benefit from more democratic and resilient communities based on mutual support and solidarity.
Our idea is based on participatory approach, peer-to-peer learning and networking. It combines principles of economic democracy (SSE) with environmental aspects to promote solidarity and food sovereignty in local communities. We have envisaged a multi-stakeholder event, a series of sharing and educational sessions, as well as a community outreach event:
1) A core group of local actors and partners identifies needs and goals, and designs details of next steps.
2) Facilitated “open space” meeting of various stakeholders from the community: local initiatives, farmers, mainstream local businesses, public bodies, LAG, neighbors, and partners. The focus of the meeting will be on resilient food systems (not only) in times of crises, on basic values of economic democracy and SSE, as well as specific needs of local actors.
3) Mastermind group sessions and workshops to share knowledge within the group of actors as well as with input from external experts. Topics will be based on the actors’ needs and outcomes of the multi-stakeholder event.
4) A community event where members of the groups and local initiatives, producers, and other actors present their ideas, proposed activities, and values in order to open up discussions with the broader community.
5) Creation of audiovisual materials to share main outcomes of mastermind and educational sessions with other initiatives and public.
After the end of the project, wider parts of the communities in Tisnov area will be engaged in or interested in more democratic and participatory approaches to food supply chain. New models of resilient food systems will be explored and piloted in practice, including reflection of their challenges and limits, and ways how to overcome them. Capacities of civic initiatives will be strengthened. Community members with different experiences and views who did not previously engage in dialog will have a chance to do so, and they will be able to create working groups transforming new ideas into practical solutions. Concepts of economic democracy will be discussed across different segments of the community and individual actors will be more aware of the tools for engagement at different levels.
We follow principles of social solidarity economy and bring into practice concepts such as participative decision-making, community ownership, and community-governed services. The previous non-democratic regime has interrupted a rich tradition of civic engagement in fulfilling communities’ needs and until today, such activities are often viewed as suspicious at best. Our aim is to make those concepts credible again, explore and show examples and benefits of active citizenship in daily lives. Our idea promotes building capacities of local initiatives, networking and exchanging experience across diverse sectors, and sharing visions and practical examples of active citizenship with a wider public. It offers community members the opportunity to learn from each other and co-create real changes.
The team consists of members of Hojnost, active in the topic and area since 2012, Viktorina Loca, actively engaged in their community since 2015, and Ecumenical Academy. We have a background in environmental issues, community building and practical experience with SSE. We care deeply about the place where we live, the food we eat, and relationships we develop within our communities. We were not satisfied with the way things were so we decided to start changing them. We try to re-create food supply chains and get a stronger voice in local matters. We believe that by building relationships among different actors and communities and by showing successful examples of change, we can together overcome new challenges, foster personal responsibility, engagement, and solidarity in our communities.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs (project coordination, fin. management, educational and networking activities x 14 months): 15000 €
PR activities and materials: 4200 €
Facilitated meetings, mastermind sessions, workshops (logistics, experts’ fees): 6500 €
Community event: 1500 €
Audiovisual materials (infographics, short videos, web presentation): 5000 €
Office expenses: 1400 €
Other services (graphics, print): 700 €
Material: 200 €
Travel (to mastermind sessions at different partner locations): 500 €
Any feedback is welcome! Does someone know any effective online tools for shared order management (for community supported agriculture and similar systems), ideally open source? Also, anyone out there experienced in managing group processes with highly diversified groups?