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Associative economics means operating your own profitability in a transparent network with our partners. A typical example is the value chain in the food industry. The raw agricultural product migrates from the producer via the processor via the wholesaler via the retailer to finally reach the consumer as ready-to-eat food. Accordingly money moves backwards up this chain. No one has an overview of this value chain; everyone deals only directly with the upstream and downstream stages. On the consumption side this leads to bargain hunting and food waste and on the producer side to great economic and ecological pressure – the well-known phenomena of our common food system.

If you turn this chain into a circle and sit down together at a round table, everyone can see the other and a value-creation space is created. The autonomy of each individual is preserved, but he now has the opportunity to set his volumes and prices in the face of his partners. This round table is like the simplest form of an association. The entrepreneur's free initiative is not broken or compulsively socialized, but it unfolds in consciousness and responsibility for the economic region of which he is only a part. Such associations are not only limited to merchandise management, but also investment projects and research projects can be designed and financed in an associative network.

In this forum we will present some practical examples of how associative economies have been realized on a smaller or larger scale. Based on these examples, we will try to formulate the principles of associative economy so that they can be adapted to the sector and the situation. The most important question will be: How do I make a beginning in associative management? The goal of the forum will be for each participant to receive ideas for their practice and to gain courage to get started.

Ueli Hurter

Ueli Hurter
moderation

Hurter is a trained biodynamic farmer. Since 1989 he is responsible for a 35 ha biodynamic mixed farm with a cheese factory. Since 1991 in the management of L'Aubier, an associatively designed company which includes a Demeter farm, eco-hotel, organic restaurant, café-hotel, and an eco-residential district. Since August 2010: Co-director of the Section for Agriculture, Goetheanum.