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“Eat Our Own Bread” (“Magunk Kenyerén”) Local Economy Development Program
Organisation : Municipality of Village Alsómocsolád , Hungary

Economy Development Program “Eat Our Own Bread” aims at recreating traditional village values, preserving existing ones and utilising created resources economically so that people living in Alsómocsolád establish liveable, sustainable, high quality living environment; grab again farming opportunities offered by environment – existing small-gardens, farm-buildings and tools, forests, fields, arable lands - by using community money (rigac=R) and local service potentials and raising them to conscious level to integrate in their everyday life sustainably.

We aim at improving quality of life, villagescape in the light of environmental-social sustainability, and shifting towards self-preservation by providing spaces to inhabitant responsibility and action.

Agendas addressed
HousingSocial inclusion and integrationLocal economies and employment
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Nurture a sharing economy
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Apply innovative financing approaches
  • Implement sustainable procurement principles
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Prepare policies for socio-cultural changes due to innovation
Context
boosting agriculture program element

Alsómocsolád’s a dead-end village with 324 inhabitants in Baranya county, in a district targeted by complex development based on its infrastructural, economic, labour market and educational indices.

All public utilities are available in Alsómocsolád. It has modern telecommunication, IT connections, several community spaces, tourist centre, elderly home. Health service and educational institutions are zoned.

Aging, depopulation of youth for better living are our challenges. Our village isn’t an economic destination due to low population and education indicators. Average earnings are below national average, locally offered services aren’t profitable, few chances for alternative revenues, living standard diminishes. Program “Eat Our Own Bread” was introduced for compensation (2013). It’s been used in this form since 2017.

Core-values:

  • social planning, civic involvement, demand-based development
  • endeavour to self-preservation, newly interpreted, functional infrastructure use
  • environmental sustainability resulting from residential-buildings’ energy-effective renovation
  • boosting local economy, hiring local expertise for renovation, establishing shopping community with community money
In Action
Eat our own bread forum

20 years ago, there’re 1-2 pigs, 50-60 chickens, 4-5 mother-rabbits, their reproduction, ducks, geese, earlier cows almost at each house. Families produced animal feed, kitchen garden plants on their own on Producer Cooperative areas. This volume covered most of their needs, founded the village’s food security. By the effect of legal, economic, social and lifestyle changes after the change of the regime, this form of farming around the house almost totally disappeared. Our survey’s result (2008): out of 102 families living here at that time only 6 families raised swine, 17 held poultry, 21 cultivated garden, only 3 produced animal feed. The village’s food security was vulnerable, with regard to both locally produced food quantity and quality.

Parallel to farming decline around the house, services to each-other disappeared from everyday-life: e.g. wood-cutting, corn, fruit harvest, garden digging etc., thus practically no chance to additional revenues.

Continuously decreasing living-standard’s spectacularly traced through residential-property state.

 “Eat Our Own Bread” Program elements offer opportunity to solve these problems.

Village management asked for inhabitant help, community strength to project elaboration, reconsideration in 2017, re-launching of new program under well-known name. Active project elaborators included:

  • population
  • municipality’s representative body
  • local social cooperative and civil organisation leaders, and
  • group of external experts including social developers, economists, and lawyers.

Having compiled the draft program, it was accepted, fine-tuned, supplemented during public forums, small-group-discussions. Experts made necessary corrections. Program could be restarted after social planning.

Program “Eat Our Own Bread” summarised in a respective strategic document, is also involved in general strategy.

Program “Eat Our Own Bread” ensures local economy development in a complex approach, the growth of the quantity of money turning over in it, the increase of the inhabitants’ standard of living, the strengthening of the village’s retention ability, making it more attractive for those who want to settle down by increasing the inhabitants’ knowledge and material bases, creating opportunities for alternative revenues by re-localisation of traditional farming around the house comprising an organic part of rural lifestyle, supporting becoming a small-producer, introducing new residential services, and villagescape’s environment-conscious improvement.

We mostly aim at improving life quality, villagescape in the light of environmental-social sustainability, and shifting towards self-preservation, multiplying methods, results.

Program elements:

  • Agriculture-boosting sub-program – animal-outsourcing with animal-feed support
  • “Getting our House in Order”– residential building renovation sub-program –preference to energy investments
  • Service Development sub-program
  • Business Development sub-program
Results
Boosting agriculture3

Recently, out of 100 households, 71 were involved

in apartment renovation “Getting our House in Order” program element and cumulatively 71 in the Agriculture boosting program element. 2 families became small producers (another 2 plan it), 1 family applied for business development support (4 more plan it). New services offered by them, the introduction of community money rigac, the opportunity to pay for new services by rigac shifted attention to their use, product production, shopping consciously locally from small and primary producers, in small shops.

Thanks to the planning methodology and implementation of Program “Eat Our Own Bread”, people experience they are able to innovate, improve their real-life situation, enhance their life-quality from their own strength, with consistent work and perseverance – with innovative development added by the municipality and committed expert support provided by the municipality -, and in addition, they are able to form and renew a community. They are able to take responsibility for values created by them.

Impact

Spheres of the Complex Impact of the Program:

  • socio-cultural conversion
    • involving citizens through participatory implementation – social planning, continuous dialogue:  “Eat Our Own Bread” Clubs organised in every 3 weeks: evaluating program progress, recommending corrections. More people attend municipality’s public hearings, making them interactive by asking questions;
    • nurturing a sharing economy – joint resource utilisation, using spare human capacities in internal service provision, e.g. roof renovation, crop collection
  • socio-economic conversion
    • capitalising on local economy and production – more and more families join each program element, prefer local products, spend major part of income locally;
    • establishing and closing local value chains – by the effect of introducing community money, local market demand: offering and demanding not only products but also services appeared and became satisfied;
    • applying innovative financing approaches – introducing Rigac and mixed loan schemes, with refundable and non-refundable support and HUF-Rigac mixed support;
    • implementing sustainable procurement principles – in the program’s each element, local is preferred (product, knowledge, expertise, e.g. hiring local bricklayer for apartment renovation)
    • pursuing shift towards circular economy – Rigac is community money
  • technological conversion
    • preparing policies to socio-cultural changes due to innovation – municipality legislation, resolution-passing based on social planning and dialogue supported by community usage of IT tools and devices, e.g. voting via Facebook.

Inner market expanding by Rigac turnover stabilised local small shop’s and pub’s demand indices. It could achieve turnover needed to survive even in regression period caused by Covid-19. Locally available products and services significantly reduced virus infection risk.

For measuring purposes, Rigac-accounting-centre documentation, applications, their evaluation documentation, contracts entered and protocols serve.

In 2017, the program’s impacts were measured by a survey. Its result proved: the program and community money strengthened inhabitants’ identity and village community in addition to economic and sustainability development.

Challenges and lessons learned
Getting our house in order

Our biggest conclusion is: Local Economy Development Program “Eat Our Own Bread” is self-improving and it must stay like that. Its success’s generated by inhabitant activity and experience integrated in implementation.

Raising awareness has been the greatest challenge. Local product prices cannot compete with multinational companies’ depressed prices. We need to make people see broader relationships. We need to believe in it and transfer this belief that local product is:

  • quality
  • basis of our health
  • value
  • we – ourselves.
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Contact

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
European Secretariat

Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 0
Fax: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 19

E-mail: info@sustainablecities.eu
Website: www.sustainablecities.eu

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