Bill Mollison on Mondragon Coop
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10 000 Trees
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activist to grassroots
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planetary permaculture

strategy of 10 000 Trees
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Cuba permaculture
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India permaculture
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Palestine Permaculture
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Africa permaculture
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Meso America permaculture
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Sustainability Worker Cooperatives 21st Century – Richmond Cooperative Experience

The City and community of Richmond California are actively researching and developing a sustainability worker cooperative project for the area: Richmond Community Cooperative Collaborative Group. The Mayor and community members visited Mondragon with the Praxis Peace Institute in the northern summer of 2010 and signed a memorandum.

Mondragon Permaculture | Mondragon Cooperative | Evergreen Cooperative | Mandela Cooperative

Fagor, Mondragon Cooperative, Photo Nicholas Roberts

A presentation written by Nicholas Roberts on the Richmond Cooperative Experience

A video and presentation by Marilyn Langlois and Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

A proposal essay written by Nicholas Roberts on the Richmond Cooperative Experience

Mayor of Richmond and Mondragon Cooperative Letter of Intent and Endorsement

Monday 15th March: Nicholas Roberts

Nicholas at Mondragon/Arrasate, Basque Country, Spain

Our meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of every month (except January) at the:
Ku-ring-gai Centre for Seniors 259 Pacific Highway Lindfield [map]
Doors open at 7pm for a 7:30pm start.Phone 1300 887 145, or email for more information.

Nicholas was born in Sydney and grew up on a small chicken farm on the rural fringe of the western suburbs of Newcastle in the Hunter Valley. Nicholas has founded a number of Permaculture cooperatives including Permaculture Groups, Permaculture NEWS Cooperative and Permaculture TV and he makes the case that cooperative are a key structure that Permaculturalists can use to organise and work effectively together.

In the early 90s he completed a PDC at Crystal Waters with Max Lindegger as teacher and followed this by WWOOFing at Bill Mollison’s Tyalgum farm and a few other properties in Australia and Italy. The last 5 years Nicholas has been making a wiggly transition from an IT media career in the big end of town (with stops, starts and backtracks) into sustainability and media, with most of his efforts going into research and publishing and the formation of a global Permaculture Cooperative. Taking sanctuary in Robyn Francis’ Djangbung Gardens (now Permaculture College Australia) he did more experiments with a Permaculture cooperative project that became PermacultureTV.

During 2009, Nicholas toured Australia, California, New York, France, Basque Country, Spain, England, Scotland and Denmark researching Permaculture cooperation in the context of climate change and peak debt. In 2010 Nicholas and his partner plan to be the USA and Europe researching and working with Permaculture cooperatives. They will continue to use media to spread the concepts and developments of Permaculture cooperatives.

While researching a Permaculture Cooperative [blog] [video] in the summer of 2009 we visited Mondragon Cooperative [video] [photos] [blog] and enjoyed a day-tour of the cooperative, which included a factory tour and a lunch, history and business workshop. This video presentation includes an oral history from the days of the founder Don José María Arizmendiarrieta as the oldest farmers son and revolutionary journalist to the modern cooperative. Photos of the cooperative headquarters, the historical museum and the town of Arrasate.

Photo Credits: Kirstie Stramler and Nicholas Roberts

Mondragon boardroom

The oral history if given by Mikel Lezamiz who is the educational director of the Mondragon Cooperatives Corporation, the world’s largest consortium of worker-owned businesses located in the Basque Country of Northern Spain. Lezamiz is one of the most knowledgeable sources on the history and current operations of Mondragon’s 120 worker-owned businesses.

We went to Mondragon to research a Permaculture Cooperative: a global network of sustainability worker cooperatives. The Mondragon Permaculture.TV collection

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To jumpstart US job market, turn workers into owners
Many Americans build wealth through their home. Why not through work?

In hard times like these, the co-op model makes sense. After all, public confidence in corporations, banks, and the larger financial system is at low ebb, while unemployment is at its highest level in 25 years. Homeownership, historically a reliable way to build equity, has been rocked by foreclosures. People are looking for other ways to do business and save money.

Many people think of co-ops as the hippie-dippy grocery store that sells organic goods. In fact, a 2009 study by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives found more than 29,000 cooperatives in the US, which make $500 billion in annual revenue, support 83,000 people, and pay $25 billion in wages and benefits. They include national firms such as credit unions, and local businesses such as the Alvarado Street Bakery in Petaluma, Calif., or the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry in Cleveland.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Bringing Mondragon to America
by Chris Lindstrom on September 09, 2009

These core principles help provide the cooperative members with basic guidelines for working together in a cooperative environment, to commit themselves to personal development, teamwork, participatory management, joint projects, social entrepreneurialism, and finally, corporate excellence. The role of the Management Model is not just to make managers responsible for the success of their cooperative, but how to get workers to take on this responsibility and enthusiasm as well. It is not my impression that they have achieved this 100%, but I think that for an industrial community, they have perhaps set the highest standard for honoring worker rights than any other place in the world. However, this remains only to exist within the Basque region and has not spread in any major way to the multitude of companies that have come under MMC ownership in the past couple years.

The MCC claims that they are being very mindful of the environment by doing things such as reducing their carbon emissions in all of their cooperatives. While, in certain areas they were undoubtedly far ahead of countries such as the US, they were not quite as active in areas of sustainable agriculture. Agricultural production as a commercial sector simply was not as much of a priority as residential goods or the retail of non local food products. So it can be safely said that the MCC is by no means perfect. However, it provides one of the most sophisticated institutional examples of a truly egalitarian and socially just economic system.

Source: Economics of Peace

Mondragón and the United Steelworkers/ New opportunity for the co-op and labor movements?

Here in the U.S., we have sewn many of the seeds of such a cooperative economy. For example, food co-ops have been partners in the success of worker co-ops Equal Exchange and Alvarado Street Bakery. Food co-ops and others have created loan funds, such as the Cooperative Fund of New England and Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, that support cross-sector co-op development. We have worker co-ops that have integrated union representation, such as Collective Copies, and examples of multi-stakeholder co-ops, such as Weaver Street Market and FEDCO Co-op Seeds, that bring workers and consumers together within a single enterprise. We have international management training programs such as the St. Mary’s University Master of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions, and cross-sector organizations such as the National Cooperative Business Association. And we have a growing awareness that “co-operation among co-ops” is not just a principle but a key competitive advantage.

In this context, the agreement signed by Mondragón and the United Steelworkers is much more than a piece of paper. For unions, it’s a new opportunity to explore the human and economic potential of cooperative ownership, rather than settling for adversarial relationships with capitalist enterprises. For worker co-ops, this may be an opening to deepen solidarity with organized labor through new and innovative structures. And for the cooperative movement as a whole, we have an opportunity to reassess our assumptions about the role of workers, the meaning of membership, and the potential for engaging employees in nonadversarial settings characterized by shared ownership.

Multi-stakeholder co-ops, highlighted by Mondragón’s astonishing success, would seem to offer a promising area for exploration among co-ops in the U.S. These structures contribute a uniquely cooperative approach to labor relations that would strengthen our competitive advantage in an increasingly challenging global economy.

Source: Cooperative Grocer

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Mondragon Permaculture with Bill Mollison

In the Mp3 audio of Bill Mollison 1983 PDC (Permaculture Designers Certificate) in Stanley,Tasmania (Geoff Lawton attended) that are available as DVD for sale and on the internet, Bill Mollison talks at length about the Mondragon Cooperative (along with Commonworks etc) as an organisational framework – a natural order of People Care and Fair Share for Earth Care that permaculture projects ought use.

I actually found and listened to these Mp3’s just before we went to Mondragon (such is life!). We really did Build The Road as We Travel (the only book on Mondragon that we saw on tour). Also, re-reading the Permaculture Designers Manual 1988 he has a couple of references again to Mondragon in the Alternative Nation section towards the end of the book.

Source: – Notes on Mondragon & Permaculture,

Mondragon or Arrasate, the place in the Basque Country
Mondragon Cooperative

Presentation of Mondragon Cooperative by Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Marilyn Langlois of Office of Mayor of Richmond City in the Bay Area.

The Mayor of Richmond Gayle McLaughlin co-presents to community members a tour of Mondragon Cooperative in September and explains the possibilities of a new business model for Richmond

Tuesday evening public session

Thursday afternoon public session



Industrial Symbiosis Kalundborg, Denmark

Pathways to Sustainable Self-Governance: Democratic Open-Source Food and Manufacturing Networks

Short Description

Worker Cooperative Networks for Sovereignty of Food, Commerce, & Community: Panel/Breakouts/Discussion to Envision & Chart Implementation Framework of Industrial Permaculture Ecology

Full Workshop Proposal

Pathways to Sustainable Self-Governance: Democratic Open-Source Food and Manufacturing Networks

Workshop Information
Event Date: Fri, 06/25/2010 – 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Event Location: Wayne County Community College: 23A

Full Description:

This workshop outlines a vision for a democratic, worker-owned, advanced industrial ecology society. We seek pathways to provide the burgeoning food education/justice movement with the tools to become economically sustainable, and to link the emerging green industrial worker cooperatives with them into sovereign networks. Once active, such networks can become the basis for sustainable, socially just communities that revitalize locales via open source sustainable agriculture and manufacturing methods. Our panel — with academic, commercial, and school of hard knocks experience — will frame the demonstrated solutions, numerous pieces of the puzzle that we as a society need to put together.

Pathways to Sustainable Self-Governance: Democratic Open-Source Food and Manufacturing Networks

Short Description

Worker Cooperative Networks for Sovereignty of Food, Commerce, & Community: Panel/Breakouts/Discussion to Envision & Chart Implementation Framework of Industrial Permaculture Ecology

Full Workshop Proposal

Pathways to Sustainable Self-Governance: Democratic Open-Source Food and Manufacturing Networks

Collaborating Organizations

Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives (2543) | Mandela Marketplace (2339) | Planting Justice (1407) | Mandela Foods Cooperative (2340) | Abolish Human Rentals (1460) | Permaculture Cooperative (1720)

Photo: Oakland Sol: Oakland Sustaining Ourselves Locally who generously provided accommodation, workspace and knowledge during incubation of this workshop

Collaborating Organizations

Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives (2543)

The Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives is itself a cooperative made up of five member businesses: four cooperative bakeries and a development and support collective. Members share a common mission, share ongoing accounting, legal, educational and other support services, and support the development of new member cooperatives by the Association.

Mandela Marketplace (2339)

Mandela Market Place is a pioneer in development, application and assessment of community food systems. The organization evolved since 2001, first as a project of the Environmental Justice Institute – Tides Center, until incorporating in 2005 as a stand-alone 501c3 organization with a goal to strengthen community health, integrity and indentity by providing economic opportunity and empowerment for inner-city Oakland residents and businesses, and local family farms. Mandela MarketPlace works directly with community residents, local, state and federal agencies, non-profits, small business owners, and farmers to support strategies to meet food needs, expand economic opportunity and increase self-reliance of low-income and disenfranchised people.

Planting Justice (1407)

Planting Justice is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, CA dedicated to food justice, economic justice, and sustainable local food systems. We are the first organization of our kind to combine ecological training and urban food production with a grassroots door-to-door organizing model that will vastly increase our educational community outreach, help us to recruit volunteers, decentralize our fundraising sources, and provide local jobs that also train young community organizers.

Mandela Foods Cooperative (2340)

Mandela Foods Cooperative is a locally-owned and operated full-service grocery store and nutrition education center located in West Oakland, a community long underserved in grocery retail. The present undersupply of food retail in West Oakland represents an opportunity to leverage untapped local buying power into new business and employment opportunities and healthy eating options for West Oakland residents. The Cooperative will offer local goods, wholesome, fresh and affordable foods grown on family farms, nutrition education classes and a cooperative economic investment program that provides multi-level investment for community residents.

Abolish Human Rentals (1460)

Abolish Human Rentals is dedicated to bringing an old idea into the public conscience, that the standard employment relationship, a contract for the rental of people, is invalid due to the inalienable rights of humans. It is based on the already widely held principle of the non-transferability of responsibility for one’s actions. That principle, taken to its logical conclusion, means the rental of humans have no more legitimacy than their sale.

Collaborating Organizations:
Arizmendi Assn. of Cooperatives (2543) — — and
Mandela Marketplace (2339) — — and
Planting Justice (1407) — — and
Mandela Foods Cooperative (2340) — — and
Abolish Human Rentals (1460) —

Language(s): English
Climate Justice: sustainability, resources and land
Democracy and Governance

Important pieces that will be presented here include the successful strategies employed in the worker cooperative networks/alliances of Mondragon, Ohio, and the San Francisco Bay Area, Permaculture design strategies implemented even in harsh climate zones, Denmark’s national industrial symbiosis program, non-parasitic capitalization of non-hierarchical enterprises, and regenerative urban food justice paradigms.

Participants will self-organize into groups to construct models that put some of the pieces together. Workshop participants will then seek to bolster viability of the proposed models, emphasizing possible pilot programs in Detroit, Oakland and in Brooklyn.

Panel members include Quinton Sankofa of Mandela Marketplace and James Berk of Mandela Foods Cooperative, Mike Leung of the embryonic Worker Cooperative Credit Union, and Gavin Raiders of Planting Justice. Facilitator: Kirstie Stramler of Permaculture Cooperative.

For updates leading up to USSF 2010, see the panel and workshop group pages on and videos on .

Organizer Name: Kirstie Stramler
Organizer Email:
First Sponsoring Organization Name: Permaculture Cooperative

From the Economics of Peace Conference, 2009.

More on Mondragon Cooperative, search Mondragon and Bill Mollison on Mondragon Permaculture

mondragon statue

Fred Freundlich and Mikel Lezamiz (Mondragon) PART 1 of 4 speaking at The Economics of Peace Conference in Sonoma Ca 2009 from The Economics Of Peace on Vimeo.

Fred Freundlich and Mikel Lezamiz (Mondragon) PART 2 of 4 speaking at The Economics of Peace Conference in Sonoma Ca 2009 from The Economics Of Peace on Vimeo.

Fred Freundlich and Mikel Lezamiz (Mondragon) PART 3 of 4 speaking at The Economics of Peace Conference in Sonoma Ca 2009 from The Economics Of Peace on Vimeo.

Fred Freundlich and Mikel Lezamiz (Mondragon) PART 4 of 4 speaking at The Economics of Peace Conference in Sonoma Ca 2009 from The Economics Of Peace on Vimeo.

Fred Freundlich (left) teaches at Mondragon Universtiy in Spain. He is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, where his dissertation research is a new university initiative affiliated with the Mondragn Cooperative Corporation. Freundlich is a senior principal of Ownership Associates.

Mikel Lezamiz (right) is the educational director of the Mondragon Cooperatives Corporation, the world’s largest consortium of worker-owned businesses located in the Basque Country of Northern Spain. He helped organize Praxis Peace Institute’s 5-day seminar at the MCC headquarters in the fall of 2008. Lezamiz is one of the most knowledgeable sources on the history and current operations of Mondragon’s 120 worker-owned businesses.

I am flying to Copenhagen from Los Angeles on Friday (assuming no reversals) will be covering Klimaforum09 and the Copenhagen Climate Complex/Circus/Bizarre/Conference (take your pick)

Mondragon Graffiti

Mondragon Graffiti

I will be primarily doing research and interviews for Permaculture TV, focussing on the 10 000 Trees Strategy for Climate Change, authored by Tony Andersen and the International Permaculture Council

as far as I can tell, the 10 000 Trees Strategy for global or planetary permaculture is the ONLY geo-engineering solution possible

will also be researching and interviewing for the Gaia Permaculture (planetary permaculture) project and the Permaculture Cooperative project

am also involved with Climate Camp TV, WiserEarth Copenhagen and now the GaiaSpace Meshwork social networking system for solutions


“What is Klimaforum09?” an interview with Tony Andersen Klimaforum09 organiser

“Saving the Planet With Permaculture” or “Planetary Permaculture: A Global Strategy for Climate Change – Tony Andersen of Klimaforum09″

“What the F$%k is Geoengineering?”

more on Klimaforum09 on Permaculture TV

Klimaforum09 Mandate – Local permaculture people create Gaia Permaculture

Map of Copenhagen Climate Complex – Places and Events

Permaculture Cooperative

more on the Permaculture Cooperative project

my profile/resume: Nicholas Roberts

Bill Mollison on Mondragon Permaculture

Photos of Mondragon Cooperative tour

Photos of Mongragon (town of Arrasate) in Basque Country

Other Stories

State of the USA Organics Industry – interview with Dr Phil Howard, MSU

McGaia – corporate permaculture – family friendly geo-, genetic & socially engineered organic perennial polyculture

The Corporate Climate Coup

Democratic Carbon, Carbon Dictatorship & the Climate Circus


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Nicholas Roberts & Kirstie Stramler

Permaculture Cooperative
skype permaculturecoop

video http://Permaculture.TV

The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development and the Mondragon Experience and Social Entrepreneurship

Source: Sweden, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Nov 2009

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