Two major challenges faced by those facilitating local socio- economic systems change are how to holistically bring together the many components of a plan and how to implement the development scheme at a large enough scale. Among other things, the shift to a local, democratically owned economy involves: creating new productive capacity, introducing new methods of exchange, revitalizing infrastructure development, and fostering shifts of cultural perspective. These are not back-yard or intentional community level changes, but ambitious undertakings that require engagement of a broad spectrum of the society.

The PROUT Institute has a three-faceted “Solutions Oriented Approach”:
Know your region: obtain an informed understanding of local people and of local problems and potentials
Create your plan: create local and regional development plans to foster well-being, equity, and balanced abundance
Serve the community: collaborate with others to engage in constructive social change

The Denmark based movement, AndlesTanken, has embarked on a large-scale project that models how this can work in practice. We present an interview with AndelsTanken organizer, Niels Holck, who explains how this is being undertaken in the visionary project he is working with in Langeland, Denmark.

Although Denmark is known internationally as the happiest country, Langeland, an agricultural island of 13,000 people, has not been so happy. Economic centralization has decimated and disempowered their community. To reclaim their community, AndelsTanken has initiated a reorganization of the local economy using cooperative principles with goals for carbon neutral sustainability.
Our interview with Niels Holck is presented in three parts. Click on the title to open the video.

Part one: Know Your Region – The Historical Context of Cooperative Development in Denmark

Niels discusses the historical context of Denmark’s current economic conditions. Beginning in the mid-1800s two institutions supported Denmark’s success: Folk High Schools of popular education for adults, and cooperative models of food production, manufacture, and distribution. This history provides a model for leading edge social transformation of Langeland today.
Part two: Create Your Plan – The Process of Community Development
Niels shares his experience of working with the community to form a local development board as they envision the solutions to their challenges.
Part three: Serve The Community – Implementing an Integrated Development Model

Niels outlines the model of cooperative systems that is being developed on Langeland. Building on the island’s agricultural base of large scale and homesteading farms, Andels Tanken is introducing a credit union, supplying regional food coops, developing adult education programs that integrate new immigrants into the community by offering permaculture and cooperative enterprise skills, and reclaiming local cultural identity. Niels also reflects on the relevance of the Langeland project to other communities.

We invite you to share your reflections on this interview on the PROUT Institute Facebook page comments section under this post and on the PROUT Institute blog