Solidarity economy in Italy
A national survey conducted in 2015 by the Farmers Union Coldiretti suggests that 18% of Italians (about 7 million people) are involved in forms of collective production and/or supply. This include around 150,000 people esimated to be involved in solidarity-driven collective productions and supply chains such as solidarity purchasing groups (SPGs), grassroots networks that collectively organize provisioning of food and other basic goods, and are increasingly branching out into a wider range of services.
Italian SPGs operate in a network called Retegas.org, which promotes a concept of solidarity based on cooperation and sympathy with producers, the environment, and other SPGs and their members. In many places, local networks of SPGs and other associations, providers and consumers have formed. Known as “Districts of Solidarity Economy” or DESs, they exchange goods and services on the basis of shared principles of solidarity. 32 DES projects are publically known to exist, linked via the Retecosol.org web portal and supported by Tavolo RES, a national working group that promotes, supports and connects DES projects.
(on SPGs also see Feola, G., Butt, A., 2015. The diffusion of grassroots innovations for sustainability in Italy and Great Britain: an exploratory spatial data analysis. The Geographical Journal 183, 16–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/geoj.12153)
- Troisi, R., di Sisto, M., Castagnola, A., 2018. Transformative economy: Challenges and limits of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in 55 territories in Europe and in the World. Sustainable and Solidarity Economy, Firenze.