Faux Paradis

Faux Paradis

Holistic agroecology via fair trade

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Last Update: May 19, 2014

Faux Paradis is a Greek social enterprise that conducts fair trade of quality goods from small scale, ecological producers of Greece to the Swiss market. It thus generates profit that is reinvested (60%) in implementing design projects of holistic agroecology on the producers' farms and communities.

Founded: 2014 Type: hybrid

The Problem

Agriculture is mostly unsustainable, while holistic agroecology is being studied more than it is actually implemented. This method needs explicit know-how, funding, concrete "agri-business proposals" and real results, alongside the mentality to treat the farm as an ecosystem and involve the community. Also, Greek farmers that already grow goods ecologically seldom manage to approach a market that valorizes - or can afford - their supreme quality.

The Solution

An international fair trade network will generate profit that will be reinvested in tranforming agroproduction, developing the transition from conventional to holistic agroecology through design projects. This includes closing material loops and nutrient cycles, complexifying food chains, forming resilient biodiversity and microbiodiversity, water management, composting, optimizing microclimate conditions, time - based planning, reciprocal connections between ecosystem elements: to form a whole that becomes more than the sum of its parts. Also, through events, workshops and content development, this approach will spread and foster know-how, ecological sensibility and a critical approach towards todays' "hope marketing" of green trends.

Example

Our primary collaborating ecological farmers in Apokoronas in Chania produce premium quality olive oil that seldom manage to sell at the (already unsustainable) price of 3,5/Euros liter. Exported in Switzerland, products like this could permit, in one business cycle, the funding for agroecological interventions, such as groundcover/green manure (trifolium repens), poultry (value-added egg production) that circulate biomass into the ecosystem and manage "Thakos" (Bactrocera oleae) populations, cultivation of live food (red wigglers and BSFL) for the poultry and value-added composting, cultivation of herbs and subtropical forest gardening. Other products include carob syrup, herbs, honey and jams, that involve more farmers into the network.

Impact

This social enterprise has not yet completed a full business cycle. However, based on the collaboration with Irini Kokkinaki, who directs a similar venture, selling Cretan bio fair trade products at open markets in Lausanne, general profit percentage is 150%. Having this concrete grounding, the first impact is directed to the agroecological regeneration on farms that are already within our network of producers. This, apart from benefiting the farmer, the community and the local ecosystem, will create a portfolio of applied holistic agroecology design examples that are necessary for further expansion. We aim to create demand for agro-eco-production for the local population and spread the transition to regenerative agroecology for established, conventional or new farmers of urban/rural origin, which can in time evolve into a new agricultural paradigm.

Full Impact Potential

Faux Paradis aims to constitute a resilient network of fair trade producers and consumers, to provide funding for intensive activity in holistic agroecological design, to create a website as a multivalent platform with relevant content development and diffusion, to conduct systematic, experimental research on regenerative ecosystem design and to organize educative and communicational events regarding ecological, social and political awareness. Finally, cooperation with local institutions and international networks can help to render regenerative agro-innovation from a minority to a multitude

Budget: $50,000 - $100,000

Financial Sources

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, NGO, Businesses, Regional government, Clients, Other

Sustainability Plan

Primary influx comes from selling high quality goods in French-speaking Switzerland, benefiting both the farmers (fair trade, higher prices) and the team's work force (salary). 60 to 95% of profit is reinvested to ameliorate the agroecology of the farms, thus creating a second business cycle of design services (salary). Secondary influx comes from services (holistic agroecology, ecological architecture, virtual identity) on a free lance basis.

Marketplace

Having two distinct kinds of activity, fair trade organic products and holistic agroecology design services, Faux Paradis addresses two target groups. Regarding the first, primary market research has been conducted for olive oil, salt and herbs and final retail prices are highly competitive (e.g. olive oil for 23 Euros/liter, when competition ranges from 20 to 40). Moreover, within the network of fair trade, no competitor was found to combine bio- fair trade with direct reinvestement to agroecology. Regarding the latter, this venture is highly innovative in a continuously expanding market.

Founding Story

This idea dates back to 2013, when the author participated in a workshop for social entrepreneurship in Athens and united a team that combines fair trade with design. It has then become clear that for promoting the social and ecological agenda of regenerative agroecology and fair trade, as well as for breaking down the complexity of our proposition, a thorough business strategy was essential. When the author moved to Switzerland and met Irini Kokkinaki, an invaluable collaborator, this strategy took its current form. Also, this venture is founded on the ambition of the team to eventually realize and run a regenerative, agroproductive ecosystem - habitat, interconnected with the communities and networks of the urban and rural continuum.

Team Explanation

A multidisciplinary team with an integrative approach enables in-sourcing and control over most of the desired strategic developments, while all team members are highly skilled in their respective fields and value trust and translucency. They are KC: architect, illustrator and researcher. TA: programmer and web designer SM: free-lance architect and urban researcher PC: pharmacist and co-owner of an olive mill SR: librarian and political scientist

Connections:

Challenges

Growth Tracker

Stage: Milestone 1 of 2
Start
05/05/14
End
Milestone
Fair trade network
Target Completion Date 04/15/15
Completed
Find reliable ecological producers who meet quality and quality requirements, agree on prices and credit terms
In Progress
Set up a client network, contact distributors and retail shops with samples
In Progress
Set up the web platform, which includes e-shop, work out tax regimes and promotional budget
In Progress
Perform the first transport of products to Switzerland (in March), verify expenses and contingencies
In Progress
Start selling products
Milestone
Regenerative Ecosystem Design
Target Completion Date 10/15/15
In Progress
Generate profit from fair trade products (team workforce's salaries are expenses)
In Progress
Communicate with intended farmer and agree on content of the holistic agroecology design service
In Progress
Work out the design proposal, specify the intervention, time frame, community involvement and growth potential
In Progress
Find and train local collaborators, start implementing the project on the ecosystem,
In Progress
Regulate and document the agro-ecosystem, acquire feedback and portfolio
Milestone 1
Fair trade network
Our Impact Reports:
Konstantinos Christodoulidis hasn't posted any impact reports yet.

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