Wellbeing of Farmers: Physical Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing
Key Challenges: Low farm income (market vulnerability), Lack of attractiveness of certain farming profession, Lack of appreciation/support for female farmers, Lack of generational renewal on farm
Key Target Groups: Young farmers, Female farmers, Farmers facing financial difficulties
Farm Size: Small/Family
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Key contact: Despoina Ioannidou
Organization: Agios Antonios Women's Agricultural Cooperative
In the mountainous village, with less than 700 inhabitants, Agios Antonios in Northern Greece, a group of women run a Women’s Agricultural Cooperative with great success. The aim of the cooperative is to empower rural women, strengthen their family income and identity, develop the village, preserve and spread tradition through the production of local products.
The cooperative produces traditional handmade, high quality products with recipes that reflect their cultural heritage while at the same time empowering farm women and revitalizing the village.
The objective of the Cooperative is mainly to empower women farmers and tackle the challenges they face. The latter range from physical and mental burn-out to social Isolation, disappointment, frustration, devaluation of oneself, resignation and economic limitations, missing of international (funding) opportunities.
This business model aims to offer real incentives for women to create an added value to their farm production and opportunities to gain a fair income; all the aforementioned are seen as proxies for empowering women’s identity as successful farmers/entrepreneurs and their overall wellbeing.
Nowadays the 20 women run apart from the production unit and the catering a warm and friendly traditional coffee shop with a beautiful view of mount Olympus that tourists and locals visit on daily basis. They have achieved to produce traditional handmade- high quality- products with recipes that reflect their cultural heritage such as “Perek” baked in the fireplace, pontiak products, “syron”,”ivristo”, pasta, egg noodles, trachana”, fresh seasonal fruit marmalades and spoon sweets.
They have a website, FB page and a Youtube channel giving traditional cooking lessons. They also organized in the framework of a RurUrbal project a play for school kids “Life formula” related to local development, nutrition and welbeing.
Main Outcome of the activity
for the farmers: Additonal incomes for the women members. Vocational training courses. ICT literacy. Added value to local agricultural products.
For the rural area/farming: community development & agrotourism. Strengthening of relationships. Social cohesion. Revitalizing the village.
Main Practical Recommendations
Farm women and practitioners may use this social innovation as an example of how to stimulate women in rural areas to take up entrepreneurial activities. Women’s agricultural and agrotouristc cooperatives constitute a form of employment with a flexible time-schedule that does not oblige women to spend much time away from home and does not add to their physical burn-out due to the fact that all tasks are shared.
With this SI local products are promoted and rural villages are put on the map of alternative tourism, attracting people and investments thus contribution to the overall rural revitalization and wellbeing.
Key Stakeholders Involved
Farmers and farming families (family-owned, small or medium-sized) and overall the rural community + local Action Group + local municipality
Most Innovative Aspects of the Solution
This form of entrepreneurship can be considered a community of practice in rural areas that provides a “safe” environment for rural women not only to become entrepreneurs but to socialize and develop personal skills. The cooperative is a venture with lower risks and anxieties, that requires job skills already familiar to women. Market challenges are better dealt with through this type of entrepreneurship and through diversification and communication with urban people women achieve an overall sense of achievement and wellbeing.