First international training in MasFranch in Catalonia
The first of three international trainings during the project ?TRY: Transition Youth? is behind us! 33 participants from Poland, Spain and Italy met in the picturesque, Catalan town of Sant Feliu de Pallerols, in ecological seat of MasFranch cooperative. Between 19-26 March 2016 we took part in a series of theoretical and practical wokshops on ecological gardening, sustainable development, the ideas and principles of permaculture, participatory democracy and peaceful conflict resolution.
At the beginning of the meeting we were mainly getting to know each other, learning each other?s names and sharing experiences. We have also learned a lot about the history, principles and organizational structure of MasFranch cooperative, as well as about the huge vegetable garden designed and cultivated according to the principles of permaculture, which in large part feeds residents and tourists visiting the seat of MasFranch cooperative.
During the workshops on interpersonal communication we got to know the methods of peaceful conflict resolution and we analyzed the processes occurring in the relationships that make us behave like a victim, an aggressor, or an assertive person. The exercise, which will certainly remain in our memory for a long time is called ?Medicine Wheel?. The exercise aroused our deep reflections on interrelationships between seemingly independent things. It showed us how to perceive all the life phenomena as a cycle and not as a linear order, which led us to the observation that all our actions cause certain effects which ultimately “come back” to us. This cyclic model puts emphasis on the importance and strong responsibility for our current actions. Similarly to the exercise “Spider’s web”, during which we were reflecting on interconnections between our life experiences, the purpose of “Medicine Wheel” exercise was to change the perspective on our life and beliefs.
Ethical and human dimension of economic activity
One of the most interesting meetings was a meeting with members of a Catalan ecological network ECOXARXA, who are creating an alternative economic system based on social currencies (such as ECO and Troks) and on barter exchange of goods and services. The purpose of this cooperative network developing in Catalonia is to restore the ethical and human dimension of economic activity. Together we discussed the possible solutions to the challenges related to the implementation of projects based on the idea of The Economy of the Common Good (ECG) and sharing economy.
Meeting with the Mayor of Sant Feliu de Pallerols
During the meeting with the Mayor of Sant Feliu de Pallerols we got to know about the close cooperation of the local government with NGOs in the field of environmental protection and the promotion of cultural and natural heritage of the region. Together with the Mayor we visited the area of the future urban community garden ?Horts del Soler?. Participants of our project had also an opportunity to meet with the Mayor and the Councilor of one of the surrounding towns, where a new, integrated model of urban management based on the idea of participatory democracy is being implemented. We have learned how do the participatory processes proceed in these communities and how does the citizen consensus decision-making is organized and promoted by the local government.
During our international training we visited also the members of ?Nuria? and ?La Granja del Cacau? cooperatives, who created community centers which support social integration of local residents and conduct business activities based on the principles of cooperation, sharing and social responsibility.
We also had very interesting visits and interviews with residents of the organic farm (run by one of our participants) who host volunteers ready to work with plants and to take care of farm animals. Just before coming back home we even had a chance to go for a walk on the beach and through the streets in Barcelona. We have found our international meeting and networking very successful and now we are getting prepared for the arrival of our Italian and Spanish friends to Milanówek!