The values of the project
1. 1 Presentation of the project
Defining the values of a cooperative is fundamental. Knowing who you are, what you do, how you do it, but above all why you do it, are deep questions that define the organization and are the starting point for any innovation initiative. It is the reason for being as defined that guides our decisions.
The values are described in more detail in the cooperative's charter. We will only mention a few elements here:
1. 1. 1 Rationale
To create and live a meeting place where we explore economic, ecological and social changes towards a local and global transition (see also art. 3a of the statutes)
1.1. 2. Purposes
The reality of our cooperative is first of all that of an Eco-camp which welcomes people passing through, seasonal workers or cooperators and whose activity generates the necessary income to pursue the general objectives.
The tourism it offers is intended to be a moment of experience, meeting and exchange.
The cooperative's vocation is to be part of the existing social fabric by setting up models and practices of transition on the Naturia site, a source of inspiration for other places. These are built as we go along, also with the people we meet, and are worked on more specifically from the projects presented by the cooperators and the priorities defined by the GA described in point 2.3.
The projects and priorities are for the moment articulated around poles in connection with permaculture, in its extended sense of 'the culture of the permanent'.
the ecological pole
the economic pole
the social pole
the culture pole
We plan to set up and explore levers of ecological and energy transition (natural water source, hydraulic energy, solar energy...) through permaculture, waste management, light housing, the search for autonomy... in connection with a defined territory.
We envisage the economic transition by privileging the short circuit, the fair remuneration of our partners and ours, the implementation of another economic model where money is a means but not an end.
The cooperative as a society aims at a balanced budget and as far as possible the realization of profits, the allocation of which is governed by art. 24 of the statutes and by the present regulations. As a social enterprise it aims at providing services to the cooperators or to the community rather than the motivation of individual profits. It is the legal framework for this transition.
Our intention is to arrive at a distribution of financial margins that takes into account:
fair compensation for its workers by implementing a model that regulates wage gaps
investments required for present and future projects;
the constitution of an undivided reserve necessary for the economic and financial consolidation of the cooperative;
information and training needs of current and potential members and staff, or the general public;
the opportunity to distribute dividends.
We also envisage the social and cultural transition by putting forward the notion of pedagogy, welcome, meetings and consideration (of neighbors, people passing through, tenants, cooperators, partner associations, artists...).
1. 2. Social impact
To evaluate our social impact around the goals defined above, we propose to create research and exploration poles around the three main themes defined.
The social impacts defined above are therefore only points that we can identify and will certainly be reviewed and redefined regularly.
-> for economic transition :
The research and implementation of alternative economic models that restore money as a facilitator of exchange and not as a goal in itself.
Engage the co-op in providing services to members or the community rather than making a profit as a shareholder.
Research of models and setting up of collaboration with local producers and the local economic fabric.
Search for new modes of collaboration between service providers...
-> for the ecological transition :
Establishment of a construction charter that is more inspiring than restrictive for all infrastructures and dwellings on the site, which emphasizes the limitation of CO2 emissions and the use of biodegradable, recyclable and/or recycled materials (see annex: construction charter)
Establishment of a strategic plan for the implementation of common renewable energy resources in relation to the available resources.
The establishment and implementation of a waste management charter that emphasizes composting and recycling
Construction and provision of inspiring alternative housing
We integrate the Nature Network, eventually obtaining the Nature label granted by Natagora, which aims to increase biodiversity, reduce our carbon footprint and improve our ecological footprint
The five mandatory steps to join the Nature Network to which we commit are
1. I pledge to renounce synthetic pesticides.
2. I am committed to preserving the natural environment and not developing human activities
leading to their destruction.
3. I am committed to using native plants that exist in the wild in my area.
4. I am committed to encouraging the spontaneity and diversity of wildlife.
5. I agree to restrict the development of invasive alien species and not to introduce them.
-> for the social and cultural transition
writing alternative and inspiring narratives that allow residents and visitors to tell their stories and invent themselves differently
creation of meeting spaces (common kitchen, exchange space, ...) allowing the emulsion and the swarming of ideas
articulation of different populations (tenants, transients, resident cooperators, association beneficiaries...) around specific projects
collaboration with actors of the local social and cultural fabric
social reintegration of vulnerable and/or disadvantaged people.
1.3. Clarification of the social need
The social need as defined in the point below is supported by the following data, among others:
from an ecological point of view: the latest IPCC report (https://climat.be/actualites/2021/6e-rapport-du-giec-face-a-des-risques-sans-precedent-la-communaute-scientifique-lance-un-nouveau-signal-d-alarme) shows that the whole of humanity is facing major challenges and that limiting cumulative CO2 emissions must be a priority.
from an economic point of view:
Social Economy | Another way of undertaking, which places the human being in the center.
from a socio-cultural point of view : The economy of culture in Belgium (francemusique.fr)
Towards a new status for artists? "The situation was difficult before the crisis, today it is untenable" (rtbf.be)
Can we still live from our art? - À bâbord ! magazine (ababord.org)
Culture and the fight against poverty (cultureetdemocratie.be)
It goes without saying that the different levels interact and express the complexity of the environment in which we live.
1.4 Territories of action and developments
The social project as we have defined it can be inscribed in different territories of action. We hope that our territory of experimentation, ecological, economic and human laboratory, will inspire and widen towards other initiatives and in other places.
However, Naturia has several features that facilitate its deployment at different levels:
Naturia is composed of two bodies of water, forest groves and a recreation area: so many different zones that allow the exploration and implementation of transitional projects as described above.
The water bodies and the forest area, especially for the economic ecological axis
The leisure area more particularly for the three axes in their articulation with the people who settle there more or less long.
Moreover, Naturia is surrounded by Natura 2000 (http://biodiversite.wallonie.be/fr/natura-2000.html?IDC=829) and close to the nature reserve of the Pays de Chimay (http://www.foretdupaysdechimay.be/fr/page/parc_et_reserve_naturelle), which allows us to place the ecological dimension in a larger space that goes beyond our territory.
There is a dense network of local producers in the region.
- Several initiatives and cooperatives around the economic, social and / or ecological transition are already active in the region, rather than compete with them we seek to cooperate
1.5. Concrete solutions proposed in the short, medium and long term
As mentioned above, the concrete solutions stated here will be in constant evolution according to the people we meet and their proposals for solutions. We believe that the majority of the solutions are still to be found and therefore cannot be defined yet. The implementation will also depend on what we will have as budget:
establishment of a construction charter and initiation to the renovation and construction of less polluting and reversible housing
meeting with an energy audit organization
insulation of common areas
construction of composting sites
- CO2 reduction
- construction of less polluting and inspiring habitats
- provision of dry toilets
- redesign the space to integrate the proliferation of fauna and flora
- energy autonomy
- establishment of a vegetable garden and a nourishing forest
- education for the ecological transition
transition from a SCRL to a SCES (cooperative society and social enterprise)
contact with local producers and development of collaboration
offer local products for sale in the store and as a basic product for our consumption proposals in the restaurant and bar.
registration in the network of the local currency Le Semeur...
- setting up a meeting place between consumers and producers
contribution to a cooperative local economic fabric
creation of a different business model
testimony and diffusion of our experience (publication, conference...)
creation of a foundation to protect the territory and the capital from speculation
Social and cultural transition
setting up spaces and means to invent alternative and inspiring narratives that allow people passing through and residents to tell their stories and invent themselves differently;
creation of meeting spaces (common kitchen, exchange space, ...) allowing the bubbling and the swarming of ideas...
articulation of different populations (tenants, transients, resident cooperators, vulnerable people...) around specific projects.
collaboration with actors of the local social and cultural fabric
organize game nights
construction of a playground of a different nature
organization of cultural evenings, exhibitions
hosting artists in residence
- organization of concerts and festivals
- setting up of a socio-cultural association
- propose an annual program of cultural and social activities based on the experience of medium-term projects
The different poles that we have defined are part of the vision that we have of the development of the site, based on a navigation booklet that is being developed with Luc and Alban Schuiten. This booklet constitutes a beacon that visually defines where we are going (our vision of the site in the future) and can be consulted in the annex.
1.6. Basis of the economic model
Our project can only be built if it makes quick and radical choices from the start, which requires sources of funding that can be activated quickly. However, it must also ensure that it is sustainable over time and generates sources of income. We are launching this project with the full awareness of a life-long debt to future generations.
We have a site of 6ha, an invaluable land contribution which must be treated as the Earth itself, that is to say as a space of nature which cannot belong to us but which invites us to make a sustainable and transmissible use of it.
Signing this ROI also means joining the act of the cooperator-founders: committing to protect the land from any real estate speculation.
If the Company is liquidated, the remaining assets are governed by article 26 of the statutes.
The sources of funding to rapidly launch the various initiatives that drive structural change are based on different inputs:
financial contributions from cooperators
subsidies and grants
bank loan or cooperators' loan
Sustainable sources of income are linked to the economic activity that accompanies and results from structural changes:
activities of the Eco-camp including :
rental of pitches for tourists
inspirational habitat rentals
long-term rentals to historical or project residents
HoReCa activities and store
cultural, sports, economic, educational and artistic activities