Origin Club is Transform Evia's first startup. And it's all about food.
We're a social enterprise that holds coherence for multi-stakeholder cooperation through events, media and startup ventures. We're kind of like an agency, but actually most like...a club.
Since our catalytic IO Retreat in June 2016 we've been diving deep to come to terms with the reality of the primary sector on North Evia. The story of how we grow and trade food in Europe may be a broken one, but agriculture remains a critical aspect of our target bioregion's 'place DNA.'
Over the last 2 years we've explored a diversity of business models, from innovative e-commerce startups to European-wide collaborative trade platforms. And we've built lasting and committed relationships with a diverse stakeholder community, from tech startups in San Francisco and London to organic farmer collectives and agricultural cooperatives right here on Evia island.
Our conclusion? It's complicated...
From our June 2017 progress report:
"Origin Club is less a product with a snappy elevator pitch, and more a participatory design challenge. We seek to change the way we grow and trade food in Europe, starting with the rapid prototyping of on-the-ground solutions, mostly embedded within a single bioregion of Central Greece."
Innovation on this scale requires research, advocacy and education. It is time-consuming and expensive, and we've struggled to gain the early traction we've needed to transform our dreams into realities.
Then in late 2017, everything changed. We discovered our application for 3 years of R&D funding - to apply the world's most innovative social technology to North Evia's local food system - had been approved.
We've assessed the design challenge before us - it is truly massive and transformative. 2018 is therefore all about intention setting: let's convene a community and crowd and get ready to change the way we grow and trade food in Greece.
The first step in creating a world of genuine abundance is encouraging greater transparency and democracy within the food industry.
We need to create systems that ensure that the food we grow and trade is sustainably farmed, fairly priced and ethically distributed. Our ultimate goal is to establish a leading ethical brand and collaborative trade platform that is collectively owned by our community of producers, distributors and customers, whilst also fairly distributing risks and rewards across the supply chain.
Origin Club was launched via a £10,000 crowdfunding campaign in October 2016. Following a successful campaign we encountered major difficulties in the fulfilment phase of our Origin Box experiment. Despite making almost no profit, we were nevertheless encouraged to undertake in a critical R&D phase to map local opportunities in Central Greece and build global partnerships.
We used this momentum and market validation to make an ambitious application for 3 years of European R&D funding in Spring / Summer 2017 in collaboration with 7 innovative partners. And in late 2017, we discovered that this application had been approved.
In 2018, our immediate intention is to establish a proven track record in applying innovative social technology to our target bioregion and connecting local producers on North Evia with distributors and consumers in major regional hubs including Athens and Chalkida, as well as niche export markets in the UK.
From here, Origin Club will invite participation from local food champions across the EU to help take our key learning outcomes to scale.
Discover an emerging network of farmers, distributors and consumers based on Evia island and in Athens.
In 2018 we're rebooting Origin Club by facilitating agile learning in the field and the marketplace!
We understand how to hold space, how to build authentic and mutually beneficial relationships, and how learning happens in cycles. So let's apply this knowledge to the agricultural sector to change the way we grow and trade food in Greece.
Using Agile Learning Facilitator tools in community hubs in Athens and on North Evia from Autumn 2018, "Origin Club 2.0" will hold coherence and coordinate activity for new storytelling and new startups in the primary sector in Central Greece.
We support connectivity, hold space for authentic expression of needs and offers, engage resource people, build trust and share experiences.
We apply leading edge social technology centring on agroecology and local food systems.
We amplify and accelerate startup ventures and make good things happen where they're most needed.
We engage in inspirational, multi-media storytelling about good people doing great things.
Attend an event to join the adventure, and become part of our massive and transformative purpose.
Full Event Programme for 2018 - 2020 (coming soon)
Demonstrating a new model for Community Supported Agriculture, using Agile Learning Facilitator tools.
Monthly "Evia Assembly" gatherings at our Villa Averoff hub on Evia island. To share experiences and co-create a vision and strategy towards a solidarity network for the primary sector on North Evia.
Seasonal "Origin Weekend" innovation labs in Athens and on location on Evia island. To engage deeply with Agile Learning Facilitator tools and build lasting and committed relationships.
On demand "Archetype Labs" on location on Evia island. Hands-on short courses to accelerate the adoption of agroecological design within the wider context of community supported agriculture.
Why does this matter?
Origin Club believes that what really counts in today’s fast fragmenting world is new narratives and frames. We consider what is truly deficient to be no longer technology, strategies or trainings but rather effective storytelling — both radical enough to change the way the world works and yet accessible enough to inspire practical, real world outcomes.
As pioneering regenerative agriculturalist Mark Shepard sums up nicely, the way we grow and trade food is as good a place as any to start work on this most critical design challenge of our time. Because when it comes to food, we’ve all got skin in the game.
“Our individual food choices are compounded by the billion to become, in effect, the largest socioeconomic juggernaut the world has ever known.”
— Mark Shepard.
Anton Chernikov is the founder of The Exponentials and IO Collective, as well as being a co-founder of Vilivo. He also has a degree in Architecture from the Bartlett (UCL). Anton's role is to secure funding for Euboea LLP and to lead on the innovation lab.
Contact email : email@example.com
Experience a bioregional-scale social experiment.
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“We believe that our target municipality has the potential to become a platform for change and innovation within Greece and wider Europe.
Evia is a place of immense natural beauty; a fertile and biodiverse paradise of mountains, beaches and forests. It is only a two hour drive from Athens and its international airport. Given it’s location and warm Mediterranean climate, it is surprisingly under-developed and sparsely populated.”
- Marcus, Transform Evia and Origin Club co-founder.