Amsterdam Energie


FARMING THE CITY believes that bottom-up initiatives are a great way to work towards sustainable cities.

Recently one specific kind of initiative caught our attention: cooperations. Cooperations have a long history in the Netherlands and have played a key role in the development of our welfare society during the 19th and 20th century. The idea of cooperations was originally picked up by the Marxist movement as an alternative for the poor relief that was in previous decades mostly exercised by the churches. The aim of the Marxists was to emancipate the labour class, thumb as opposed to the churches who tried to convert people in the first place. But besides helping the poor, cooperations also focused on banking, housing, education and even cooperative factories were founded.

Consumer cooperations in specific, offer present day solutions for the transition to more future-oriented consumption. In a consumer cooperation, members buy goods from the cooperation that the cooperation has bought for them. Through this system goods can be purchased cheaper than usual, making this an opportunity for consumers to make a conscious choice for a product that they might otherwise not be able to afford. Consumer cooperations are a perfect tool to pave the way to sustainable choices. The UN recognised this and called the past year to be the year of the cooperation!One of the most common kinds of consumer cooperations are food cooperations. All over the world groups of consumers bundle their strength to purchase organic food for a cheaper price. In Amsterdam Vokomokum is a good example of this type of cooperation: a growing collective of citizens that buy organic and vegetarian food for prices that almost resemble wholesale prices. Besides being a way to buy good food, their aim is also to build a community of people with the same interests. They have around 60 members who all help out with the work every other month.

Another consumer cooperation with a very different product is Amsterdam Energie, a cooperation that sells local renewable energy. All their energy is produced nearby Amsterdam and through either windmills, solar panels, water or biowaste. Their profit is invested in different kinds of sustainable energy projects, such as isolation and the development of renewable energy sources. It probably doesn’t get much greener!

We are already big fans of Amsterdam’s cooperations but there’s always room for more: Collective bottom-up action is the way to go if we want to combine community building with a sustainable future for our planet.

Check out more at: Amsterdam Energie and Voko Mokum!
By: Barbara Koole

Posted on 18 December 2012 and filed under News

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