From Mondragon to Co-operate WNC: A Deep Dive into Co-operative Economic Models for Our Region

Event Phone: 8288914497

  • February 16, 2019
    1:30 pm - 7:00 pm
There’s a deep multi-cultural history of integrating social and economic co-operation with agricultural systems via a pattern widely referred to as “mutual aid”.  Some examples of historical mutual aid societies which explicitly help farmers include The Grange, Via Campesina, Italian farming co-ops, and Cherokee Gadugi.
Since land is the basis of all survival and of wealth, communities who manage landscapes together over long periods of time develop trust and co-operative resource sharing as survival strategies. Now, as we face climate chaos, species extinction, topsoil depletion and de-mineralization, and a pattern of broken social safety nets and reactionary politics, how do we adopt holistic co-operative approaches that meet these needs and responds to these challenges? We think that establishing Co-operate WNC, a WNC mutual aid network that helps implement permaculture and ecological land use at a regional scale could be a big piece.
Co-operate WNC’s vision is to use collaborative economics like a credit union, timebanking and savings pools to support a regional network of physical community centers which provide human services like healthcare and food access while also serving as organizing and educational centers for regenerative farming.  We are at the beginning stages of establishing several major organs of this vision which require a lot of people and scale: a healthcare co-op, a credit union, a regenerative carbon credit system.
In this workshop and discussion, LWF Director, Patryk Battle will share about his lifetime of involvement with the co-operative movement, as well as his recent visit to Mondragon, which is perhaps the most successful large scale co-operative endeavor happening on the planet (a “co-op of co-ops”), linking 70,000 members into a regional organization that provides social services, community-owned banking, cultural glue and political organizing.  Co-Operate WNC founder, Zev Friedman will share about his co-operative experience living at Earthaven Ecovillage and founding/participating in many co-op organizations, the intensive research he’s been engaged in for the last 4 years around mutual aid history, and the progress made so far to establish Co-operate WNC, a regional mutual aid organization described above. We’ll emphasize how to apply lessons from Mondragon and other co-operative endeavors to our own region in practical ways, leave a good chunk of time for discussion and questions, and aim to leave you with clues for how to begin mutual aid in your own life and community as well as get engaged in Co-operate WNC.


Venue Phone: 828.891.4497

176 Kimzey Road, Mills River, North Carolina, 28759, United States