Dear members of Polish food co-operatives,
for many years the idea of establishing an umbrella organization for food cooperatives in Poland has been resounding: a platform for dialogue, cooperation and deepening our identity, a space for mutual support and protection of the values we have developed. During the Second Food Sovereignty Forum (Warsaw, 30.01-02.02.2020) a group of people representing food cooperatives initiated their work. We met within the thematic group “Umbrella for food co-operatives”, which resulted in establishing an informal and open group called Umbrella for Food Co-operatives.
The first task we set ourselves was to create a common definition of a food cooperative. We considered it important and necessary to define our identity. It is also a signpost for those outside the movement. The fashion for cooperatives has led to the emergence of numerous entities calling themselves “cooperative”, which however have little in common with the idea of joint cooperation.
We developed the shape of the definition thanks to discussions among experts in the fields of the history of the idea of cooperativism, post-growth, and platform cooperativism. We consulted the content on an ongoing basis in our home cooperatives, bending to the comments coming from there.
In April 2021, we took an active part in giving feedback on the Social Economy Action Plan presented by the European Union http://bit.ly/feedbackparasol. In the fall, the EU will present the final Action Plan, which is expected to include an aid program also for entities such as cooperatives.
In May 2021, Umbrella for Food Co-operatives submitted an application to the European Social Innovation Competition 2021, whose this year’s edition runs under the theme “Skills for tomorrow, shaping a green and digital future”. It is a competition run by the European Commission, which aims to support social innovation projects at an early stage.
The upcoming plans of the Umbrella of Food Co-operatives are:
- creation of a Cooperative Charter that will constitute our communities as institutions of the common good,
- creation of the Umbrella Food Co-operatives website with a .coop domain, along with the possibility of declaring support for all those in favor of the food co-op movement on the website,
- clustering as a process of legal cooperation between our entities.
In preparation of our online visibility, we obtained the domain umbrella.coop. The .coop extension is intended for use by cooperatives, co-ops and other entities dependent on them. Active cooperative domain holders are automatically listed in the online cooperative directory.
However, there are eligibility criteria for registering such a domain. These include information from cooperative member organizations confirming adherence to cooperative principles.
All actions taken by us are to foster the development of cooperatives in Poland. Therefore, we turn to you, members of food cooperatives, with a request for partnership support and signing the attached agreement of cooperation within the Umbrella for Food Co-operatives.
The wording of the declaration
Accord of The Umbrella for food cooperatives (pl. Parasol dla Kooperatyw Spożywczych ) – a network associating food cooperatives in Poland
We, the undersigned, representatives of Polish food cooperative – (name of your organization), declare our intention to cooperate in “Sieć Kooperatyw Spożywczych – organizacja parasolowa/ Food Commons Cooperative Network – umbrella organisation” – an organization serving the purpose of a coherent image of food cooperatives, mutual support and stronger impact in the public sphere. In order to provide stable support for the development of the umbrella organization, we express our intention to cooperate in the name of the values that serve our organizations who identify with the cooperative movement.
The Text as of May 22, 2021
Express your opinion by commenting and we’ll get back to you with details.
So far, they have expressed their willingness to cooperate: