Studying and teaching materials and other outcomes form the seminar are available on this site.
When: 18 – 22 June 2014 (Wednesday evening – Sunday morning/afternoon)
Where: Valeč village, West Bohemia (2 hours from Prague), see on a map.
Language: The language of communication during the seminar is English
Seminar is organised by: Economy and Society Trust
The seminar on local economic alternatives aims at connecting both the theory and practice of developing locally based, environmentally and socially beneficial, and democratic economic models. It will provide theoretical background and introduction to the concept of economic localisation (or so called eco-localisation) which will be discussed specifically in the context of degrowth thinking.
Based on the understanding of various aspects and dimensions of localisation, the seminar will introduce examples of concrete initiatives both from the Czech Republic and from other European countries, mainly in the areas of food and energy production, and of monetary alternatives. Finally it will enable the participants to share their own experiences with alternative economic models, and think analytically about them in the context of the localisation and degrowth agenda. The teaching will be based on the interactive learning methods of RWTC (Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking). Selected reading materials and handouts will be provided for the participants during the seminar.
Course is organised within the GROWL (Growing less, learning more) project. It is a pan-European partnership with 9 partners designed to form a education network for degrowth. Academics, practitioners at the grass-roots level, researchers and political activists, among others, form a part of this network that aims at a plural and diverse skill and knowledge exchange, to support a major transition towards degrowth and a sustainable and fulfilling society. GROWL is supported by the Grundtvig fund for Learning Partnerships of the EU.
What to expect:
The seminar will take place in a very nice baroque village, which is not an intentional eco-village but nevertheless works well in terms of social life and interesting initiatives. The hosting farmers are involved in Czech WOOFing, propose and practice social agriculture, organize local events, and have done a regional sheep tour. Within the seminar, we want to combine intellectual inputs, physical work and art/free time in nature, and we believe these components should be more or less balanced.
In the intellectual part, the seminar will provide basic understanding of the degrowth concept, some insights into local economic alternative models and also space for sharing practical experiences and initiatives among the participants. Methods will include concrete techniques from the RWTC tools and an open-space sharing. The practical part will be decided according to the needs of the hosting farm – natural construction techniques or sheep wool processing or meadow mowing etc. The art part will involve inputs for the viral video (a few scenarios will be prepared in advance and provided for discussion within GROWL but there will be some space during the seminar for the participants to take initiative and develop the idea if they want). The Train-the-trainer (TTT) part will focus on reflection of the previous learning process and practicing several basic RWTC techniques to enable the potential trainers to use them in practice.
We expect all participants to stay for the whole seminar – from Wednesday evening till Sunday morning. Those who are interested in becoming future trainers for degrowth should stay also for the Sunday Train-the-trainer programme block (till Sunday afternoon) – see programme below.
Wednesday 18 June
till 16:00 arrival to Prague, meeting for joint transport to Valeč
18:00 arrival to Valeč, accommodation, dinner
Thursday 19 June
10:00 morning programme session, getting to know each other
11:00 Eva Fraňková a Eva Malířová: introduction to degrowth (using critical thinking methods) I
14:30 Eva Fraňková a Eva Malířová: introduction to degrowth (using critical thinking methods) II
17:30 getting to know the place (trip around the village, castle, park)
19: 00 dinner and free evening programme (night walk, fire, music, …)
Friday 20 June
10:00 Eva Fraňková: introduction to local economic alternatives theory
10:45 Vojtěch Veselý: WWOOF, social agriculture, LETS and other local initiatives + discussion
12:00 Jan Valeška: community supported agriculture and local food initiatives in CZ + discussion
15:00 Open Space/group learning activity: local economic alternatives – sharing examples and experiences by participants + process reflection
20:00 Public presentation of sustainable degrowth and GROWL project to local community and interested public + discussion (translated to Czech)
Saturday 21 June
9:00 work therapy on the Vojtěchs‘ organic farm
14:30 work therapy on the Vojtěchs‘ organic farm, creating a viral degrowth video
19:00 evening on the farm with fire and diner
Sunday 22 June
8:30 breakfast, packing and departure to Prague
10:00 for future trainers: train the trainer module I
13:00 light lunch
14:00 for future trainers: train the trainer module II
17:00 departure to Prague
Eva Fraňková: Eva works in the Department of environmental studies where she has finished her PhD recently. She did her intership in Great Britain where she focused on community ethical finance institutions and in Barcelona where she extended her knowledge in ecological economics, political ecology and became a member of Research and Degrowth group. On a long-term basis she is interested in social enterpreunership, local economic alternatives, sustainable degrowth and local food production and its energy, material and monetary metabolism.
Eva Malířová: Eva works in the Czech NGO NaZemi which is focused on education and promotion of FairTrade. She is a global development educator and is specialized in interactive learning methods of RWTC (Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking).
Vojtěch Veselý: Vojtech, his wife Lenka and daughter Hedvika treat 8ha of high stem orchards and pastures, 45 sheep, few bee families and Baca female dog in Valeč. Vojtěch gradueated at Protestant theology in Prague, since 2007 he has started his farming career and later has become also fully involved in NGO AREA Viva. Vojtěch is a coordinator of WWOOF in CZ, one of a main CZ contacts for Social Farming and has been attracting creative people or people in need to come to live in Valecč (so will do even during the meeting).
Jan Valeška: Jan works as a director of civic association PRO-BIO LIGA which is focused on education, promotion and civic activism in the field of sustainable food consumption, local and solidarity-based food initiatives, organic farming and Food Sovereignty. He is also active in the network of local food initiatives, AMPI and is a founding member of first two Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in Prague (Kuchyňka) and Central Bohemia (KomPot). Since 2009 Jan has helped to establish few other CSA initiatives in the Czech republic. He envisions the decentralised food system free of corporate pressure based on localisation, democracy, solidarity and joy.
Vojtěch Benda (group dynamics facilitator), Nikola Fousková (contact person, backstage) + GROWL partners and experts
Who can participate and the registration procedure: We welcome every participant who has a motivation to learn more both about local economic alternatives and degrowth. The maximum number of participants is 25, coming partly from the Czech Republic and partly from partner countries (Germany, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Poland, France). We expect all participants to stay for the whole seminar – from Wednesday evening till Sunday morning. Thos who are interested in becoming future trainers for degrowth should stay also for the Sunday Train-the-trainer programme block (till Sunday afternoon) – see programme above.
How to get to/from Valeč: Possibilities how to get to Valeč by public transport are limited. For that reason we plan joint transport for participants from Prague (Praha) to Valeč on Wednesday 18 June, with departure from Prague around 4 PM. Please, indicate in your registration form your arrival date and time to Prague. If you have trouble finding suitable connection and you will be unableto catch the joint transport, please contact the organisersdirectly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can be helpful in checking other possibilities. We will organise a joint transport according to the needs of participants also for the way back from Valeč to Prague on Sunday.
Non-Czech participants should get in contact with a partner organisation from their country before they register for the seminar, in order to have their travel costs, accommodation and food during the seminar covered. Registration is open till 6 June via this form. If you would like to participate and you are coming from a country which is not involved in project, contact Nikola Fousková, Economy and Society Trust at email: email@example.com.
Czech participants can register directly via this online form till 6 June (please read following information first). Czech participants will be asked to pay the registration fee which is CZK 500. This includes accommodation, food and programme during the seminar. The participant fee does not include travel costs (except joint transport from Prague to Valeč on Wednesday). The registration is only valid after the fee has been paid. Places are limited, we will give a priority to those who register first!
Participants willing to register after 6 June should discuss their attendance directly with the event organisers.
Contact person: Nikola Fousková, Economy and Society Trust. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: + 420 603 863 351
Sustainable degrowth is a down-scaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open, localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions. Such societies will no longer have to “grow or die”. Material accumulation will no longer occupy a primary position in the population’s cultural imagination. The primacy of efficiency will be substituted by a focus on sufficiency, and innovation will no longer focus on technology for technology’s sake but will concentrate on new social and technical arrangements that will enable us to live convivially and frugally. Degrowth not only challenges the dominance of GDP as an overarching policy objective but also proposes a framework for transformation to a lower, more sustainable level of production and consumption, a shrinking of the economic system to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems.
GROWL is a pan-European project designed to form a network of trainers for degrowth. Academics, practitioners at the grass-roots level, researchers and political activists, among others, form a part of this network that aims at a plural and diverse skill and knowledge exchange, to support a major transition towards degrowth and a sustainable and fulfilling society.