BioTrèmol: Building a Local, Small-Scale Organic Food System

This week I was talking with a new organic berry farmer about how their sales to grocery stores were going.  He said, “Not so great.  We’re at an odd size where we have too many berries to just rely on direct sales to customers who come to the farm, and too few for the grocery stores to…

Powering Cooperative Members With 100% Renewables: Som Energia

Founded in 2010 as a non-profit cooperative, Som Energia is Spain’s first nationwide renewable energy consumer cooperative dedicated to 100% renewables. What started with a group of 150 professors, students, and friends, has grown in less than a decade to serve 55,766 members, producing 13.56 GWh/yr of renewable electricity. That rapid deployment of renewables is a result of…

Organic Vineyards and Winery: Farmer-Owned Since 1932

Adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, Alicante’s climate is excellent for vineyards.  While Spain produces the most organic wine in the world, it is still a small part of the overall Spanish wine market. I was on a quest to find a cooperative that produced organic wine.  Talking with local wine merchants in Alicante’s Mercado Central, I found wines from Bodega…

Craft Beer: 100% Employee-Owned, Organic, and Powered by Renewables

Cerveses Lluna Bio Beer Cerveses Lluna has been producing certified organic craft beer in an employee-owned cooperative since 2008.  They’ve been passionate about running a business in a way that is democratic and sustainable from the beginning.  Although their production is really small (40,000 liters a year), they are the largest producer of organic beer in Spain, where…

Valencian Government Promotes Cooperatives

This week I met with regional government officials in Valencia, Spain. The first thing to note is the name of the government agency, which immediately signals a different approach.  Not the Department of Commerce or Small Business Development, but the Department of Sustainable Economy, Productive Sectors, Commerce, and Work (Conselleria de Economía Sostenible, Sectores Productivos, Comercio Y…

The Cooperative Difference

This blog is dedicated to exploring and sharing my research about environmental sustainability leaders in cooperatives, primarily in Spain. I’m a U.S. law professor who is a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Alicante, Spain for the first half of 2019. I will be researching in the heart of a robust cooperative sector in the…