Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale’ (G.A.S.) or Solidarity Purchase Groups, are collective purchasing organisations that form alternative food networks managed by a group of citizens (known as ‘gasisti’) who come together to buy food and other goods at wholesale prices and/or from small local producers, to be redistribution between members. There are about 75 GASs in Rome and its surrounding province.
In the north-east of Rome there is an old country side building where more then 20 years ago a bunch of willing and motivated people decided to take up an abandoned area to develop an entire microcosm of activities.
The idea that the world can be more sustainable is lived in a demonstrative way in Rome’s Citta dell’Utopia. Its users believe in a shared, communal philosophy and give physical space to many other local cultural and social associations. Members contribute to meeting a demand that they see unfilled in the city – Italian language courses are taught by volunteers, physical fitness and sports activities as well as social programs for psychological support are offered.
Oktoberdruck is an example of a small printing company in Berlin which bridges the gap between the grass-root movement and business. Oktoberdruck was founded in 1973 by three students as a self-governing printing company. It is based on three fundamental ideas: Environmental compatibility, fair working conditions with a collective organization and product quality. The initiative is working towards a steady reduction of electricity, water and the use of chemicals and ecologically harmful substances and CO2 emissions.
The initiative “Rosa Rose’’ is one of the community garden projects in Berlin. The initiative started in 2004, when a group of neighbours in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain began turning a 2000m² brownfield into a garden to create their own little oasis. The idea was to grow vegetables, some fruits and herbs and create a green space and dog area that would also be open to passers-by. But unfortunately the oasis had to be abandoned a few years later, due to a planned construction.
The Repair Cafés are places where gatherings are held (usually) once a month that bring together people with a broken item and people with experience repairing things. People can have their products repaired for free with the help of experts working voluntarily. By taking your broken item to this meeting you can also learn how to repair and better maintain your product. The Repair Café has the tools required and you can have a coffee or tea in the meantime. You can go without anything to repair, just to watch and learn and be inspired.
Stadt macht satt (“Harvest the city”) is an initiative in Berlin that tries to answer the questions: “How can we use food resources in the city more efficiently? How can urban gardening bring food production closer to the people that are physically and mentally separated from nature?” Anja Fiedler, founder of Stadt macht satt, offers strategies and practical solutions to these questions. As an expert in sustainable development education, she provides know-how on urban gardening, and where fruits and vegetables can be harvested for free.
Founded in 2010, Leila introduces the practical implementation of a concept which had only been known theoretically before under the terms ‘commons’ or ‘shareconomy’: Why should we buy things for our own, if we can borrow and share them with others? The idea and invention came out of a free store of the Technical University in Berlin. The founders wondered how to contribute to a dematerialized society and to decrease the amount of useless things we possess. The result was Leila, a ‘borrowing shop’, being located today in Berlin’s district Prenzlauer Berg.
People living in small villages have their special needs and desires like all of us, but there can be problems with how to get their voice heard at the municipality level.The solution could be to set up a village association to work as a supervisor of the interests of the people living in the village. In Finland these kind of village associations are rather common, as there are almost 3000 registered village associations in the country.
Hollola energy co-operative buys wood chips from its members and converts the chips to heat in heat plants owned by the municipality and sells the heat to the municipality. The co-operative has tens of members and its members get income from energy wood. The co-operative takes care of a couple of heat plants at schools and one heat plant in an old people’s home.