Chaap Your Farmer? What?
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
The co-operative principles are guidelines by which Chaap Your Farmer Co-op put our values into practice.
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.
3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
5. Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
(Yup, no wonder the chickens at FOLO Farms are a pretty happy lot. )
So Why Chaap? Where to start? How to start?
Recently, we got invited to share at our local TedX event. The Tedtalk organisers encouraged us to crystalise FOLO's Big Idea. FOLO, being a community started, community sustained and community serving farm, we did what we usually do when faced with decisions. We had a group discussion over dinner tonight involving grandmas, mums and grandkids.
We have decided on our Big Idea. It will be introducing to everyone a new term in farming: Community Chaap Agriculture (CCA). This will be a model for cities to feed their loved ones locally grown, environmentally sustainable, healthy food.
CCA is going beyond supporting farmers to really getting involved in all parts of the farming process. Chaap is the hokkien word for "getting involved/ stepping in/ caring about". As in Chaap Ji Kar (参一脚）. We want to challenge everyone to become Chaapsters, to come together to do it. To do what? To Chaap Your Farmer.
Everyone and anyone can Chaap Your Farmer. Especially you. Why, where, how to start? Stay tuned for our upcoming sharing at TedXSungaiSegget on Aug 27 2016. A little teaser: we are starting a cooperative- Chaap Your Farmer, where Chaapsters can come together as a community. Now working with people who chaap cooperatives aka co-ops to help us start this.