An inspiring local community striving to promote co-operation, development and economic democracy
Lesbos: a legendary island with an ancient golden product
From time immemorial, the island of Lesbos has been a source of legend. The poetry of Sappho, the best known of ancient Greek poetesses (and the patron saint of lesbians) is one source of its fame. But Lesbos is also known for its olive oil and the deep cultural traditions associated with it. In recent times the control of olive oil markets by mega-corporations, in addition to the deep economic crisis, has driven the small olive producers of Lesbos and many other Greek islands, to the brink of ruin. With the demise of olive oil production, the rich cultural traditions of the island have also declined, as has the mainstay of the local economy.
A local community striving to promote co-operation and development in the area
MODOUSA is a community service co-operative formed by the island’s small olive producers to revive the island’s olive oil production and to restore the cultural traditions associated with it. It has 100 members and produces around 45 tones of olive oil annually.
They are focused on overcoming the fragmentation of agricultural holding through cooperation and the enhancement of locally added value by branding and promoting territorial quality specificities associated with its product. So far, Modousa has managed to trade its bio and extra virgin olive oil both in the Greek and some foreign markets like Belgium and Germany; to establish a greengrocery store with local and co-operative products, and to organize an informal farmers market and several eco-festivals promoting local production and local arts and crafts.
CEF has supported its regeneration program by funding the education and training of MODOUSA’s members, improving the co-op’s business operations, and developing a business and marketing strategy to increase sales and reach new markets.
They produce around 45 tones of organic olive oil annually.
The Modousa co-operative has currently 100 members, 25 of which are women.
The organization was founded in 2014.
It is located in Pappados, on the island of Lesbos, Greece.
Pursuing social benefits for the wider community
Modousa co-op is committed to strengthening local food production and food autonomy and to using olive production as a driver for the Lesbos’ economic recovery. They are working for the promotion of social cooperation and solidarity through fairness along the agro-food chain, the creation of jobs locally, and the creation of a community-led local development plan, which CEF has also supported financially.
Beyond their capacity to create jobs and generate benefits for its members, Modousa also has determined a way to expand the social impact of their productive activity: they actively donate -in kind- a portion of their revenue to help the thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on the island.