On Sunday the 4th of July, a group of customers, suppliers, friends and interested parties celebrated the official launch of Afrikara Co-op, a new style consumer-producer association.
The founding of Afrikara was spearheaded by Aletta Venter, Francois and Henriette Malan, Gustav van der Merwe, Liesl Haasbroek and Louis le Roex, all of them passionate supporters of a new social order in which active communities and healthy environments form the foundation of sustainable living and prosperity.
For more than a year we talked, discussed, argued and finally agreed – we see no other way forward. This feels right. We asked questions such as why should we, how would we do it, when would we do it, can we do it etc. Finally we took the step and said YES, we can and will do what has never been done before. We will take the 1st steps towards implementing a threefold social order in the shape of a primary agricultural co-operative.
There are no local models to follow. We looked at other similar models and am inspired by initiatives such as SEKEM in Egypt, Modragon in Spain, BioRe and Auroville in India, Salamita in Sardinia, Cuba and the kibutsim in Israel. From all these models we worked towards creating a framework that would allow us to develop our own community according to our local conditions. Finally on the 3rd of June Afrikara’s registration came through and on the 4th of July we gathered to mark this momentous 1st step on a journey of discovery to reveal a new world where love makes the world turn around, not money.
We gathered to a welcome of tea, coffee and the divine cakes from Sieglunde and this followed by Aletta presenting the background and development of Afrikara. This ensued a lively discussion on the details and implications of becoming a member. It became clear to all that we are engaging in an on-going process of developing not only a new social form, but also a new way of conducting our economic life in an associative manner where your own well-being is totally tied in with the well-being of your fellow community members. In the African context this is called UBUNTU. In the anthroposophical world this would be expressed in Steiner’s Social Ethic – “The healthy social life is found when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds it reflection, and when in the community the virtue of each one is living”
Our work as Afrikara members is to shape a future where farms are places where:
- plants, animals and humans live in harmony with the forces that shape our world
- food is produced with loving care by farmers that are passionate about their work
- you can spend time reconnecting with and learning about nature
- natural rhythms and cycles are honoured and celebrated through ritual and festival
- learning, in all its dimensions, forms an integral part of all activities
and community members
- receive priority access to all the produce, facilities and resources of the Co-op at special member designated prices.
- can take up one or more of the possible Activity Rights offered by the Co-op to operate their own enterprise within the Co-op.
- have the opportunity to impact on what is produced and how it is produced.
- have full insight into the costs and all factors that influence the production of the goods and services that they consume and use.
- may visit the farms to share in the experience of the life and work of the Activity Right Members
- can participate in all the social and training activities that the Co-op arranges.
The founding centre and head office of Afrikara is on the farm Hoekiesdam in the picturesque Breede River Valley, close to Wolseley. For 5 years the produce of this farm (dairy products, lamb and waterblommetjies) has been sold on the Stellenbosch Waldorf School Market. Demand has outgrown supply and it has become necessary to find new ways to support the development and expansion of this and other similar small-scale organic/biodynamic farms.
The Afrikara Co-op is the chosen legal vehicle through which a number of producers, consumers, friends and other supporters can become directly involved in this process. Ultimately we aim to supply our members with a wide range of superior quality products coming from a number of small organic and biodynamic farms. These products will eventually extend to non-food items such as bio-fuel, construction materials, clothing etc. The sky is the limit and the height of the sky is dependent on our own creativity.
The future of our food is in our own hands.