Grassroots development and social economy practices in peri-urban areas for the promotion of sustainable development and regional attractiveness
The Women’s Cooperative that is active in Aristoteli Halkidikis is the Varvara Agricultural Association, called Dryades. The association was founded in 1998, it consists of 11 members, and it is based in Varvara Halkidikis, within the municipality of Aristoteli. It is a partnership of housewives, who many years ago combined their strengths and culinary knowledge to create a fragrant home, with the aim of turning rich local produce into a tradition and gastronomic brand. Its main traditional products include pasta, sweets, jams, liqueurs, and aromatic herbs.
There are various other Women’s associations (hereafter WAs) and clubs in Aristoteli Halkidikis, include the Association Anagennisi Gynaikon (Rebirth of Women) of Megali Panagia, the Ierissos Women's Association, Arnaia Women’s Association, and Stanos Women's Association. These associations organize local events of culinary (feasts, invitation of chefs, etc.), cultural (traditional practices, festivities, etc.) and social interest (i.e. blood donations, etc.).
Local stakeholders activating in the food sector, support this effort and the visitors have the opportunity to taste these products in several places.
Local women are the main coordinators of the association. Many women offer their services voluntarily. Detailed data are not available on membership and costs.
Evidence of success
Most of women take part to the association the problems they faced, had managed to create part-time and supplementary income for their members, in particular to improve the daily lives of their members and to upgrade their social status. They created a source of income for rural women and gave them independence, power of control and self-esteem. Furthermore, the cooperatives resulted in placing the localities, in which they were established, on the Greek map of "alternative tourism".
Potential for learning or transfer
Information about the women’s cooperative Dryades can be found on the official website of the Mount Athos Area Organization. More details about women’s cooperations in Greece can be found on womenassociations.gr.