In the Racek cooperative, we are dedicated to many projects, the main ones are:
- community-owned energy production
- network of social solidarity economies
- community-supported agriculture
- community garden
- bike kitchen
- affordable housing
community-owned energy production
Our cooperative is part of the process of the first emerging community-owned energy production project in Děčín. Due to the current energy crisis and rising energy prices, we have decided to support the idea of community-owned renewable energy because we think it is one of the effective and fair solutions to the crisis. Community-owned energy production has been operating in a number of western countries since at least the 1970s; in The Czech Republic, cooperative ownership of power plants was common at the time of electrification under the First Republic (1918-1938). Today we lack the legal conditions for it, but even without them, projects like ours can be implemented. And we hope that within 2 years a law will be passed that would put these ideas into motion even more – we are already working on it!
What is community-owned energy production?
Community energy is a new model of market relationship arrangements in the energy sector. Thanks to it, everyone who becomes a member of an energy community can participate in the collective production and sharing of energy from renewable sources owned by the community.”
What is an energy cooperative?
In an energy cooperative, members are not out of necessity, but because they want to participate together in cooperation, constructive discussion and, above all, to achieve a common goal – to create an energetically self-sufficient community.
network of social solidarity economies
The Racek cooperative is currently involved in a new process of establishing and supporting networks of solidarity economies. These networks should help their members get local products at an affordable price or even provide a space for exchanging goods without using money.
The Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) is based on the principle of three benefits: economic, social and environmental. These are activities that are not only focused on making a profit, and therefore create much more positives for people and nature. Our cooperative as a structure is actually also an example of SSE, just like public benefit companies, foundations or social enterprises. In Europe, we can find roughly 2 million organizations of the social solidarity economy, which employ over 11 million people. However, SSE has deep roots here as well, for example in the more than 170-year history of association activity and self-help initiatives, which we can build on.
Because we don’t like vegetables and fruit from supermarkets, they are expensive and they are imported from half way around the world, we decided to establish Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Děčín as well. The CSA network in the Czech Republic exists, but it is in its early stages, so even the nearest farm in the network is too far away for us.
What is CSA?
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is based on a close relationship between producers and farmers without any other intermediaries. This way of producing and consuming food creates a more favorable food system – allowing consumers to get local, healthy, mostly organically grown food, produced with care and joy. It enables small farmers self-sufficiency, the possibility to ensure the quality of food and the process of its production, the possibility to maintain a healthy landscape through their conscious cultivation and to become a respected member of local communities. KPZ is based on the principle of food sovereignty, solidarity economy and ecologically friendly management.
Soon after its establishment, the Racek cooperative became part of kreativni.uk, which is a network of organizations, initiatives and individuals focused on supporting entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative sectors in the Ústí Region. We try to support the culture of the city of Děčín by organizing neighborhood events and plan to organize more concerts, performances, literary readings and screenings.
The education of the next generation comes to us as a very important part of the responsibility for the future of this planet. Therefore, we want to create a space where young people can participate in programs related to the environment, society and interpersonal relationships. But we also want to create space for discussion and creativity.
We don’t just want to talk about ecology and alternatives for the future, but most importantly live it. And that’s why we’re building a permaculture community garden where we can meet neighbors, grow vegetables, learn, share harvests and care for the soil.
In the cooperative villa, we also have a bicycle workshop open to the public, where everyone can repair their bicycle. We created it to support cycling in Děčín, because it is the most ecological and beautiful mode of transport that brings only joy. And by sharing tools and know-how, it becomes more accessible to everyone.
The community bike workshop is based on the idea of bike workshops spread all over the world – the so-called “bike kitchens”. That is why the official name of our bicycle workshop is Bike Kitchen Děčín (BKD). Our inspiration and partners are bike workshops in Prague (Bike Kitchen Praha) and Brno (Bike Kitchen Brno).
The Racek cooperative is in the process of renovating the house, but in the future we would like to create a space for affordable housing that brings joy and does not cause loneliness and isolation.