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Aroundtheworld.coop and its passage through the Americas

23 September 2019

Sara Vicari and filmmaker Andrea Mancori began a trip around the world

With the support of the ICA and EU Partnership to boost cooperative development # coops4dev, researcher Sara Vicari and filmmaker Andrea Mancori began a trip around the world in January to visit and record a series of short-lived documents on some of the fastest and most inspiring examples of cooperatives from different economic sectors on five continents.

The aroundtheworld.coop project offers a suggestive overview of the crucial role that cooperatives will have from the territory in creating a sustainable economy. Each cooperative is a unique set of people and communities that have voluntarily engaged in collective actions to improve their ideas based on a shared global vision, creativity, passion and innovative ideas. For that reason, one of the great challenges around the world. Copy is to find people from all continents, listen to their stories and from each of those learn unique experiences.

Sara and Andrea departed from their homeland, Italy, and have already crossed Africa, India and Oceania on their way. In its portal we have seen moving stories, where we can perceive similarities and differences between the different examples of cooperatives that have been analyzed. The aroundtheworld.coop project arrived a few months ago in the American continent after crossing part of the Indian Ocean and the southern Pacific Ocean, they have worked on a calendar just between long days of filming, research work and an extensive editing process.

We will briefly compile the different cooperatives and mention some cases they have documented highlighting the wealth and diversity of the sector within the continent.

The Cheese Board Collective located in Berkely, in northern California, in the east bay of the San Francisco Bay area. It opened as a small cheese shop in 1967. In 1971, the two original owners sold their business to their employees and created a 100% worker-owned business. Today, the Cheese Board Collective consists of a cheese shop , a bakery, an espresso bar and a pizzeria. Learn more about this cooperative here http://cheeseboardcollective.coop/about-us/about-main/

Up & Go (upandgo.coop) was launched in May 2017 by cooperatives of domestic workers in New York City. It is a digital platform of cooperative property through which consumers can book high quality residential and commercial cleaning services, a model implemented with fair labor practices. The owners are mostly women and immigrants who establish the pricing and services policies of Up & Go. It should be noted that the members of the Up & Go cooperative also own the brand and code of the company. Learn more about this cooperative here https://www.upandgo.coop/

During their time in Costa Rica, of course they had a space to visit the staff of the Cooperatives of the Americas office and tell us about their experiences and learning in the last five months of travel. On this occasion they carried out a totally different format since their work did not focus on a single cooperative, but on one sector, that of renewable energy, visited three of the four rural electric cooperatives in the country. They are Coopelesca, in the northern province; CoopeGuanacaste in the same province of the name of the cooperative; and Coopesantos, in the province of San José. All of them are active in the production of 100% renewable energy and those who manage to cover almost all the energy needs of their partners. In a country with such a variety of micro-climates, these cooperatives have specialized in producing energy from the natural resources availables.

COOPELESCA is particularly involved in the production of hydroelectric energy (although for a few months they have the largest solar park in the country), while Coope Guacanaste is specialized in the production of solar energy (but also produces wind energy). COOPESANTOS R.L. It focuses mainly on wind energy, being the first cooperative in the country to have built a wind farm.

Then they traveled to South America to Brazil, there they visited the Coppalj cooperative, composed of small producers from Lago del Junco Ltda, in the Brazilian state of Maranhão, approx. 300 km from the capital São Luis. The cooperative was founded in 1991, created by women who work babaçu and small farmers who maintain control over babaçu palms.

In countdown to end their passage through the Americas, they travel to Argetina and meet the history of the Work Cooperative, Creating Consciousness created in 2005 by a group of neighbors with great concern for the final disposal of solid waste urban, due to the problem of urban recuperators (cartoneros) and the possibility of generating alternatives for these problems with social responsibility and sustainability. Today, the cooperative has 51 members, of which 60% are women, and performs the services of collection, selection and classification of waste, and recycling as much dry waste as possible.

Very soon they will arrive in Uruguay with a new history, which will close with a flourish their passage through the Americas, in October they will be in Kigali at the International Conference in Kigali and then they will come to Costa Rica and share with us during the XXI Regional Conference of the Cooperatives of the Americas, in November. This is just the beginning Sara and Andrea will start again other dreams will continue to give the cooperative sector their passion and energy, as they have done so far on this trip around the world.

This publication has been prepared with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Cooperativa de las Américas, and in no case should it be considered as reflecting the views of the European Union.

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