Community-Led Initiatives in Europe

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= overview page initiated by Ecolise



Ecovillages in Europe

"GEN today lists more than 1000 local ecovillage projects and networks worldwide , among them approximately 130 in Europe, a number slightly lower than the number mentioned by GEN Europe, that includes 41 projects (aspiring to become ecovillages) and 50 Ecovillages, but much lower than the 430 community projects identified in 2014 by The independent Eurotopia-Directory. ECOLISE maps currently 57 ecovillages. Within Europe there are several regional networks, such as the Baltic Ecovillage Network (BEN) and the RIE, the Red Ibérica de Ecoaldeas which includes projects in Spain and Portugal. National networks are very widespread in Europe as shown by the SUSTAINABLE LIVING COMMUNITIES OF FINLAND, the National Network GEN Hungary and RIVE, the Italian national network. Outside Europe, GEN is strong in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

While Findhorn intentional community, founded in 1962 and harbouring nearly 500 people, Sólheimar is one of the oldest communities in Europe. Founded in 1930 it is today a village with 100 inhabitants focusing on social, artistic and ecological aspects of sustainability.

Transition in Europe

Globally there are 934 local initiatives and 26 national or regional Hubs registered within Transition Network. In Europe we can find nearly 630 initiatives and 18 Hubs. While Transition hubs tend to form at various levels of scale to catalyse and support Transition, local initiatives are groups of local people who come together to design and implement collective sustainable to regenerative solutions in their area.

The first and oldest is Transition Town Totnes which was launched in 2006 and is home to Transition Network that coordinates and supports the Transition movement since 2007. Transition was quickly adopted in communities across Britain before spreading to other countries in the world.

The Hubs are usually national networks as shown by Transition Italia (Italy), România În Tranziţie (Romania) and Red de Transición (RedT) (Spain). However, hubs can be informal and support territorial units crossing existing national/political borders, such as TINI, the national umbrella organisation for Transition Ireland & Northern Ireland, which is currently operation as an is an informal network with a Facebook page. Also, some national hubs can by supported by existing organisations such as the Luxembourg case, which is supported by CELL, the Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg.

Permaculture in Europe

The Permaculture Association was set up as a charitable unincorporated association in 1983 and in 2006 registered as a charity in England The LAND Network of permaculture learning and demonstration sites run by the Permaculture Assocation (Britain) includes 115 registered projects in England and around thirty others in Scotland and Wales. According to Andy Goldring, chair of the association, this comprises only a small fraction of the projects that actually exist, with substantial numbers of unregistered projects in cities such as Leeds (ten or more) and Bristol (fifty or more); the actual number of community-level permaculture projects in Britain is probably around 500-800.

Regional and national networks: Finnish Permaculture Association The Permaculture Association According to its website, the charity´s mission is to: "Empower people to design thriving communities across Britain, and contribute to permaculture worldwide"

The Norwegian Permaculture Association, founded in 1987, lists 2 LAND centres, 2 LAND learners and 5 local networks.

Permaculture is well grounded in Portugal, being one of the countries with more projects per capita and land area according to Worldwide Permaculture Network. In Portugal, the national Rede Convergir map lists 46 registered permaculture projects in late May 2018

Permakultur Danmark lists more than 250 registered permaculture projects In Denmark with the highest concentration in urban areas, there are 10 local networks established or in development and 14 LAND centres and starters.

The Latvian Permaculture Association (LPA) is representing the transition movement in Latvia as a national hub of the Transition Network. Permacultura-Romania Institute for Research on Permaculture in Romania (ICPR)

Solidarity Economy Projects in Europe Solidarity Economy initiatives count to more than two million worldwide and growing fast during the last decade. The SUSY report of 2015 on Social and Solidarity Economy indicates that while solidarity economy gained ground tremendously after the crisis of 2008, it is still a very young sector with most of the projects founded after 2012. [27]

Commmunity Energy Projects in Europe

More than 250 energy cooperatives in Europe .

Community Energy England (CEE),

Community Food Production in Europe

Within Community Food Production we are considering Community Supported Agriculture projects, Self-Sufficiency projects as well as Community gardens. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is defined by the European CSA Research Group in 2015 as “a direct partnership between a group of consumers and producer(s) whereby the risks, responsibilities and rewards of farming activities are shared through long-term agreements."

According to URGENCI, the International Network for Community Supported Agriculture, the first CSA-like initiatives in Switzerland were founded in 1978 (Les Jardins de Cocagne) and 1982 (La Clé des Champs), but the majority of todays CSA initiatives dates from 2007 or later. URGENCI's 2015 report on community-supported-agriculture in Europe documented CSA activity in 21 European countries and recorded 2,783 initiatives producing food for almost half a million people. When CSA-like initiatives like the French Jardins de Cocagne and all Italian GAS are also taken in account, these number rise to approximately 6,300 initiatives and one million consumers. The same study found that these initiatives range from „fully democratic associations of farmers and consumers, through cooperatives of self employed farmers with volunteers, to more conventional firms supported by subscribers." (