This is just a small post. I had hoped that this was to be a comprehensive photo essay but alas it was not to be. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.
My first farm visit, or rather a visit to an organization that is undertaking farming amongst other activities, was the Addis Alem Co-operative Society, founded in May 2014. “Membership of the coop combines experience in agronomics, crop production, agro-processing, marketing, technology, construction and sustainable development at the community level”, Source: http://www.addisalemcoop.com.
From the website: (sorry something is wrong with the point size of the font)”The mission of Addis Alem Co-op is to improve the standard of living of our members through co-operative self-help and a united approach to common problems that they may ultimately play a highly important role in the growth of our nation’s economy while ensuring its food sovereignty. Our Co-operative is rooted in the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of our founders, our members are called upon to act with the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”
I am a big fan of coops because of the Seven (7) Cooperative Principles:
1. Voluntary & Open Membership.
Addis Alem Co-op is a voluntary organisation, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control.
Addis Alem Co-op is a democratic organisation controlled by its members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).
3. Member Economic Participation.
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the Co-operative. Part of the capital is the common property of the Co-operative. Members receive dividends on shares subscribed. Members benefit in proportion to their transactions with the Co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4. Autonomy & Independence.
Addis Alem Co-op is an autonomous, self-help organisation controlled by its members. If the Co-operative enters into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
5. Education, Training & Information.
Addis Alem Co-op provides opportunities for education and training to our members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the Co-operative. The Co-operative informs the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
6. Co-operation among Co-operatives.
Addis Alem Co-op serves its members most effectively and strengthens the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community.
Addis Alem Co-op works for the sustainable development of the community through policies approved by their members
I encourage folks to read the Coop President’s, Anthony Nurse, message, from May 2015.
The meeting attendees: (from left to right: Micah, Leonard, Tasha, Anthony, Keithan) and me of course taking the pictures!
The future store front:
The view: we are somewhere in the middle of the island at one of the highest points (FYI: the island does not have any mountains):
The future community kitchen:
The huge corral top upon which sits the church:
The famous ‘indigenous’ black belly sheep, a hair sheep not wool – I was actually thinking of them as goats until I did some research. Silly me. Some interesting facts can be found at at our good friends at wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbados_Black_Belly:
Two types of papaya trees:
We ran out of time so we didn’t actually get to visit one of their member farmers. Perhaps another time.