Publications: Articles about the Agronaftes have been published twice in newspapers, listed in other web pages and we have given interviews in the radio. We have been included in one university research thesis and we have some contacts with university professors who do academic research in the area of alternative methods of food production.
Closing, we are expressing our gratitude for being invited in the GROWL proceedings.
On behalf of the Argonaftes,
CONSUMERS' SOCIAL COOPERATIVE OF THESSALONIKI
The cooperative grocery “bios coop” is a place where consumers can find mainly Greek and cooperative products, most of which are regional and are produced in ways that do not cause harm to the humans and the environment. It is open 13 hours a day, with staff who are members of the cooperative specially trained on both subjects: social and solidarity economy and professional. On the shelves you will find almost any product that a houshold needs, a full "basket".
High quality and low prices
The products you can find in the grocery are of guaranteed quality, being under screening constantly not to contain banned chemical additives, microbiological load, mutants, inappropriate and unsafe substances and other components that harm our health and the environment. In order to achieve low prices for consumers and fair to producers, we avoid wholesalers and middlemen and cooperate with the "Greek Diet Coop» (cooperative company formed by cooperatives of grocers and farmers from all over Greece). Our suppliers are mostly agricultural cooperatives and small production units, while on our shelves we provide space for as many as possible local quality producers. Our efforts tend to create conditions for lower prices, a more equitable distribution between consumers and producers and a greener operation cycle of production-distribution and consumption.
We do not speculate,we cover our needs
The continuous decline of our income combined with the rise in commodity prices and the doubt about their quality (due to unrestrained speculation) ensures that the grocery is a very necessary and timely priority project which gains support. The aim of "bios coop" is not speculation and enrichment of its members, but the fullfilment of basic nutritional needs of it's members and clients who are in a very difficult situation. Prices are the same for everyone, members and non members, whereas part of the surplus (about 40%) at the end of each fiscal year will be returned to the workers, the members and the local community, according to the General Assembly's decision, as required by the statute. The bulk of the surplus (about 60%) will remain in the cooperative, in individual accounts of the members, in order to develop and continuously expand it's activities. We strengthen our purchasing power, providing products of high quality at low and fair prices "from the field to shelf". We do not speculate. We reimburse any surplus to those who have produced it.
"BiosCoop": A Cooperative permanently open to new members.
"Bios Coop" is open to everyone who wants to become a member, without excluding anyone due to race, religion, political belief, gender, etc. To become a member of the Consumers' Social Cooperative of Thessaloniki "Bios Coop", one should:
1. Accept the Statute
2. Complete and sign the entry form.
3. Pay at least the amount of money of one cooperative share, which is 150,00 €.
We join our small forces to begin the change of the current situation where very few people speculate squeezing both consumers and producers, and destroying our health and the planet. We invite people to join us, to get our food in our hands. To cooperate in an environment of Direct Democracy aiming at Social and Solidarity Economy.
ARSIS TIME BANK What is the Bank of Time?
The Bank of Time is a network of free exchange of services and goods which provides the participants with the opportunity to exchange-money free-services and goods. It is part of the program ``Social Structures of Confronting Poverty in Thessaloniki’s Municipality``. This program is a collaboration of ARSIS-Social Organization of Supporting Youth, of Thessaloniki’s City Hall, and of the N.G.O. PRAXSIS. It has been approved by the Ministry of Labor Social Security and Welfare and is co-funded by the European Union and specifically by the European Social Fund and the Hellenic state and notably by the Business Program ``Development of Human Resource``.
Why was the Bank of Time created?
The Bank of Time was created in order to promote solidarity economy. It abolishes the value of money, which is the main factor in the creation of social isolation, and replaces it with time. The reinforcement of Time Bank’s exchange network can give the opportunity to its participants to improve their daily life by offering access to products and services which may be inaccessible within the frame of today’s economic reality.
Why be a member of Time Bank?
To cover many of your daily needs without a cost offering in exchange your own services or products. At the same time, you contribute to the expansion of its free exchange network.
What can I ask for? What can I get from Time Bank?
Via Time Bank it is attempted the creation of a fullest possible list of services and products which can be exchanged. You can ``give`` any object / product, new or used in good condition, or you can ``provide`` a service and profit from the services of other members of Time Bank.
What services and products are provided via Time Bank?
. Can I exchange a table for a visit to the dentist?
. Can I paint a house and start English lessons?
. Can I give a computer I no longer use and get a washing machine?
1st Step In Becoming A Member of Time Bank
Initially, visit Time Bank’s site: xronos.diktyodomwnthess.gr.
Then, you can enroll electronically and afterwards we contact you in order to activate your account.
It should be noted that for those who do not have access to the internet, the enrollment procedure takes place directly at our offices.
For further queries and clarifications, you can visit us in ARSIS head offices, Venizelou 70. Alternatively, you can contact us here:
EUROPEAN VILLAGEEuropean Village is an NGO (non-governmental and non-profit organization) that was established in October 2006 in Athens, Greece.
Initially, our main purpose was to give the opportunity to young people from Greece to participate in mobility projects abroad and gain:
working experience through vocational trainings
multicultural experiences that would enable them to tuckle xenophobia and racist phenomena
self confidence and empowerment
In order to achieve all this we participated in numerous Youth in Action projects, we coordinated four Leonardo da Vinci projects and several projects through Grundtvig programme. We also organized a multinational youth exchange and a training course in Greece.
So since 2006 till today we have given to more than 300 young people a chance to gain international experience through participation in the above programmes.
However, soon we realized that we needed to work also locally if we really went for social change. As a result of this approach, in May 2010 European Village created the first cooperative cafe in Athens, aiming to create an open social space. This is the point when we started to be more active locally, while at the same time we kept up participating in mobility projects.
Through this cooperative project we worked and are still working on community building as well as on human relationships.
The main principles and orientations of the project are:
Alternative decision making processes and Nonviolent Communication
After four and a half years of experimentation, we are richer in experience and knowledge and at the same time we are still learning how to position ourselves in the social reality and how to relate to each other in a way that reinforces us to keep on being open to new ways.
In other words we are still here, in the middle of a big social unrest and huge dynamics for change unfolding around us, trying to create new models towards a just society.
FREE AND REAL / TELAITHRION
The «Telaithrion Project» hopes to put in actual perspective, that a self sufficient sustainable society that is based on true incentives and selfless giving, can exist, and that can be applied to practice in everyday life, and that even if the entire culture of humanity adopted it could flourish. We would like to share all the practical knowledge, the information, the technologies and at the end the solutions that we may discover, research and apply to this journey of ours. We will do all we can to animate, empower, educate and inspire all people we meet so they will be able to follow their own path towards a more possible, more balanced coexistence of races and species on the planet.
We want to learn from our mistakes, to evolve the way we communicate with our fellow men, to re-establish our self’s by re-establishing our environments and our needs and at the end to act on the research and knowledge of mankind to the areas of health, technology, energy, education, farming, social structure, entertainment and empathy. To embrace diversity and uniqueness and become better than our own self’s, accepting the daily feedback as food for thought and conscious harmonious creative and productive communication. We want to live with the lowest possible ecological footprint and simultaneously with the greatest possible freedom in education (information) and creative living.
We want a world of peace and freedom, with technological development that operates as an extension of human potential, a world that will strategically and consciously will manage with balance the natural recourses, were a reality of a society of healthy living conditions and full of open minded people can be possible, free spirit and real incentives, away for any kind of isolations, artificial barriers, technology driven by planned obsolescence and pointless, without real and creating motives, labor.
The most striking feature of the community is its shape. The circular design is the main feature in the shape of the community following the wisdom and excellent geometry of nature.
The circular design allows for minimal power consumption in relation to the maximum social benefit. The architecture, in its efficient application, uses the minimum amount of materials for the safest and most efficient layout. As the materials are improving and changing, so will the architecture and design. These increase the advantages and expand the facilities, goods and services, making them accessible to everyone.
A ring shaped pathway will pass close from every structure in the community, offering by this way easy access and the same amount of distance from each individual point. Interconnected paths and water streams will be used for the supporting of the three-dimensional forest garden that is being created on the entire surface of the land, but also for bio-climatic purposes.
Bigger and smaller artificial lakes also will be created offering a more stable and friendly climate the same to nature as to man.
In the center of the community there will be a Geodesic Dome Cluster which will be made from five interconnected Geodesic Domes. Each of the domes will have many different uses facilitating many activities like arts, education, research, entertainment etc.
Going from the center outwards and though the forest garden, three Yurt Modules, that will be made from 7 interconnected Yurts, 6 for individual use and one in the center as a common space access area.
The placement of the yurt modules will be done evenly around the center of the community. These modules will be used primarily for residential and hospitality purposes.
After calculations on nutritional and space needs that have been made based on the current piece of land that is already part of the project, the size of the population is expected to start with about 15 people and gradually grows to about 30 people.
It is important to note that the community itself will be seen as a dynamic, evolving integrated system rather than a static structure. Initially, most of the construction will be done by hand using traditional methods and local materials.
Our ultimate goal, however, is to capitalize on the types of structures and prefabricated technologies to streamline and accelerate the process. The materials used will evolve accordingly, but will always remain natural and locally.
After thorough discussion and research for a location Free and Real acquired land in the geographical region of Greece in the area of Istiaia Edipsos in northern Evia Island.The site is located near the summit of Mount Telethrion at 450 meters altitude. The size of the land that is already part of the project is approximately 12,000 square meters. In the near future we hope to have an adjoining piece of land about the same size thus doubling the total. At present all research departments are working on development of the project.
Suggestions of other possible locations, either private or public property are more than welcome and will be assessed in accordance with the parameters necessary for each individual project. Some cases are already under study in the areas of Corinth, Thebes, Lamia and others…
ECO-PIECES THE COMMUNITY SECTIONS
The research that drives us, every day that passes, in the designing and the application of the project and also all the actions that have added so far in its evolvment can be found at FreeandReal.org. The community will be divided in 3 basic major sections.
The Geodesic Dome Cluster
In the center of the community, the Geodesic Dome Cluster will faction like the heart of the entire project. Composed of 5 interconnected Geodesic Domes, all of them with multiple uses and different purposes.
The main dome will be about 100 square meters and it will have a second flour of about 70 square meters. The 4 surrounding ones will be about 60 square meters each.
These domes will be available to all, they will work as common spaces and they will house educational, communication and support facilities, art and music center, science and research center, athletics and entertainment and in large scale seminars or conferences or other events they will even work for hospitality reasons as well.
The Yurt Modules
In the center a yurt of about 45 square meters will serve as a common space between the other 6, 16 square meter yurts.
In the common space yurt there will be central heating that will provide heat to the other satellite yurts, bathrooms, small kitchen, library, terminal server and other shared facilities.
The 6 smaller yurts will be for personal use, with large bedrooms, study room, etc.
With this design we reduce the total needs on energy and materials by a factor of 5. More about the research that has been done on eco-building can be found here.
Basically the entire community will be immersed inside a magnificent forest garden. This garden is already being developing with the help of the Natural Farming method and the valuable support of the will be developed though the use of the Natural Farming method.Natural Farming Center.
Many waterways and streams that will start from the artificial lakes, that will be filled with a natural way, will surround this belt to irrigate the forest and offer a sustainable climate for both plants and people.
For residential and housing purposes 3 individual Yurt Modules will be used. Each Yurt Module will consist of 7 interconnected individual yurts.
Only organically grown crops would be grown, without the use of dangerous fertilizers and pesticides. Most of the plants and the trees in the garden will be eatable and they will support the nutritional needs of the community.
Also many supporting structures like, tool sheds, greenhouse, compost facilities etc will be spread out around the community.
An energy consumption study has already been made for the cover of the energy needs for the project. A multi renewable energy system will be used with the main focus being on the wind power production.
Also small-scale photovoltaic panels, a small hydroelectric installation even smart panels or geothermal in a combination of all these applications but with focus to our main concern beeing the strategic management of energy consumption.
NEA GOUINEA Reinforcing resilience and self-reliance of communities in degrowth: The case study of the 'Nea Guinea' workshops as agents for degrowth
The “Nea Guinea” non-profit organisation is a project that began in September of 2009, placing as a central objective the self-reliance of some of our basic everyday needs such as food, energy, health, shelter and clothing. Through theoretical and practical workshops we try to gather and to evolve the necessary knowledge and craftsmanship, in order to get involved actively in the production process and to conquer higher levels of self-sufficiency and autonomy in our daily lives. At the same time, the project tries to shape, new, economically sustainable and socially just processes that enable us to break free from the exploitation of paid labour and in this manner to redefine our everyday lives in parallel, but also in antagonism to the dominant economic system. By interacting with similar projects, the project aims for the creation of cooperative structures and solidarity networks that will support the transition to a more just, ecological and sustainable society. The project, focuses in both
the development and transfer of technical know-how, and in the production of goods. The manner with which the public workshops are organised, gives an opportunity to the participants to familiarise themselves with the idea of self-management, developing at the same time appropriate skills in order to produce their own goods or to manufacture objects that they need.
The case study of the renewable energy workshop of the 'Nea Guinea' non-profit organization in Athens, Greece, is presented in detail, in the search of practical examples of how these ideas have been put into practice in paths towards a sustainable degrowth.
The RES workshop of 'Nea Guinea', begun in Athens in 2009 with the goal of developing open source renewable energy technologies, spreading their usage in Greece and supporting local degrowth initiatives in electricity production. The workshop started its activities with practical seminars on building small wind turbines where the participants manufactured a complete small wind turbine throughout the course of a week, by constructing from scratch the generator, the blades and the metal frame from simple materials and with the use of simple workshop tools.
The designs were based on the construction manual of Hugh Piggott 'A Wind Turbine Recipe Book', which stems from the development of small wind turbine technology for rural farms from the Back-to-the-Land movement of the late 70s in Europe and the US. The profile of the participants of the workshops was mostly of male gender, of ages spanning from 23 to 50 years old, most of which had no engineering backgrounds, but were thinking of moving to the country side to live for small periods of time or permanently. The learning process was mostly practical and was applied to groups of 7 to 12 people, while different skills that are useful in the context of rural everyday life were developed, such as metal working and wood working. In this way, a convivial and experimental way of learning was developed during the workshop, were participants experienced a hands on learning process. Eleven of these workshops have been concluded up to now and have successfully built small wind turbines of rotor diameters ranging from 1.2m to 4.2m which have the ability to produce electricity for small farm houses. Though this process the participants were empowered with the knowledge of producing electrical energy from the wind and thus now have the skills to built resilient rural communities.
The energy workshop of 'Nea Guinea' is a member organization of the Wind Empowerment
association, a worldwide network of local manufactures of small wind turbines with more than 35 organizations in its membership. Through the Wind Empowerment discussion forums and other forums such as fieldlines.com of the OtherPower group, an unofficial internet based community driven development process takes place, though the sharing of knowledge and experience on locally manufactured small wind turbine design. Being part of this process, the energy workshop of 'Nea Guinea' developed a small hydro design based on the manufacturing techniques used for constructing a small wind turbine generator. This small hydro generator of 500W nominal power was installed in March 2013 at the rural farm of 'Rodokalo' in the mountain of Iti in central Greece.
This is a practical example of how open source technologies can be applied to a local context and thus become tools for self-reliance. Apart from producing new technological applications, the energy workshop of 'Nea Guinea' has gathered the necessary technical expertise in order to produce complete electrification designs for rural communities in degrowth. Since its beginnings in 2009, the workshop has designed and installed more than ten off-grid systems using the energy of the wind, water and sun for electricity production.
In addition, the case study of the herbal medicine workshop of the 'Nea Guinea' non-profit
organization in Athens, Greece, is presented in detail, in the search of practical examples of how these ideas have been put into practice in paths towards a sustainable degrowth.
Nea Guinea's herbal medicine workshop has been running since 2009, developing different projects in order to inform, educate and encourage people to self manage their health, promoting herbal medicine as a tool for increasing self reliance and resilience of people an communities. Through a process of researching, learning, experimenting, working in groups and sharing skills and experiences, people that participate in the different projects, have the chance to get familiar to the use of medicinal plants and develop the confidence to get actively involved in the healing process, growing their own herbs and preparing their own remedies.
The projects run by the workshop are: herbal medicine education where seminars and courses are organized consisting of theoretical and practical classes on growing, identifying and collecting herbs, formulating and preparing herbal remedies. A web based herb library and publications which consist of working on a medicinal plants database in Greek that will be providing information on herb identification, properties, uses, cultivation and propagation details. The publication of a brochure with texts on alternative health and healing, small herb monographs, herbal medicine recipes and processing techniques that are distributed on a donation basis at social centers, festivals and classes, seminars, and informative open events. At the moment a larger hand book is organised that will contain all the information included in our classes and seminars. Open informative talks and events are organized on the use of herbs in the context of the self management of health and free practical workshops on creating small herb gardens and preparing herbal remedies. During these events, printed documents are distributed, herb seeds and seedlings encouraging people to start their own small herbal garden. Such events are organized in eco-festivals, social centers, schools and universities. A herb garden has been constructed since last year, which will be an open to-
visitors herb garden in Nea Guinea's field in Nea Makri, Attica. This is the project's central point for preservation and reproduction of the seeds, but also a reference point for the identification of different herb species. The 'Drogeria' working group, is a working group involved with the production of herbal remedies focusing on: the production of effective and reliable medicine, researching the capabilities of different herbs as healing mediums and the collection, evolution and dissemination of knowledge relevant to the production and use of herbal medicine formulations.
The alternative healing space, which is a project coordinated by different therapists that cooperate with Nea Guinea and involves offering treatments at a very low price. The alternative healing space includes practices like herbal medicine, reflexology, thai massage, ayurvedic massage, acupuncture and Chinese cupping.
In conclusion, the case study of the renewable energy workshop and the herbal medicine workshop of the 'Nea Guinea' non-profit organization in Athens, Greece, provide an example of how communities can practice paths towards degrowth though open source renewable energy technologies, alternative health, convivial and experimental ways of learning and thus providing more resilient futures.