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For the Co-operative and Solidarity Economy in Ireland

Upskilling Local Food Initiatives

Every Wednesday at 15.00 - 17.00 (Irish time) from 25th of January to 1st of March 2023

These 6 modules are designed to build the capacities of boards, staff and their stakeholders in the areas of governance, digitalization and communication.

Modules are free of charge to network members of Feeding Ourselves. To guarantee your place, please register your interest early.

Places will be opened to the public and to other organizations after the 27th of January. If you are interested in taking part, do please get in touch.

You can register for these modules -

If you have any questions please contact


Module 1 - The Values and Principles of Cooperatives and the Solidarity Economy

Wednesday 25th January 2023, 15.00 - 17.00 Delivered by Members of Solid Network, Kevin Flanagan, Alice McLarnon, Sam Toland and Tiziana O’Hara.

This session introduces the Solidarity Economy, a vision for economic activity that takes people, the environment and sustainability as its core principles. Members of SolidNetwork will highlight cooperatives and how they prioritise people and decent work and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future. Participants will understand the principles and values of the solidarity economy and how they can be applied in practice to support the goals and values of organisations.

  • Dr. Kevin Flanagan is an anthropologist, artist and educator, specialising in social movements, digital culture and platform cooperatives, the commons and social solidarity economy.

  • Alice McLarnon is the lead for Trademark’s co-operative economic development programme. She is a founding member of the Belfast Cleaning Society, Northern Ireland’s first cross-community worker-owned cooperative and winner of the inaugural Living Wage Award,

  • Tiziana O’Hara is a founder Member at Co-operative Alternatives based in Northern Ireland, She holds a ILM Certificate in Social Enterprise Support and has been involved in co-operative development since 2012. Tiziana has advised a variety of community share offers helping groups from conception to launch.

  • Sam Toland works with a number of Cooperative clients providing board administration, governance and compliance support. He is the interim Manager & Co-operative Secretary with Dublin Food Co-op.


Module 2 - Dynamic Governance - Organisational Structure

Wednesday 1st February 2023, 15.00 - 17.00

Delivered by Ted Rau and Shala Massey of ‘Sociocracy for All’

This session introduces Sociocracy, a theory of governance that seeks to create psychologically safe environments and productive organisations. Sociocracy is often referred to as Dynamic Governance and is best suited for initiatives that want to self-govern based on the values of equality. This session will focus on the design of an organisation so many people can have a voice instead of just those on the "top". It will show how small, empowered teams can form a web of collaboration so everyone can contribute and be heard.

  • Ted Rau is an advocate, trainer and consultant for self-governance. He co-founded and is the Executive Director of ‘Sociocracy For All’. He is co-author of two books on self-governance, Many Voices One Song (2018) and Who decides who decides? (2021).

  • Shala Massey is a dynamic governance facilitator and trainer based in Texas, USA who is passionate about dismantling systems of oppression and exploring tools for liberatory design. She supports transformational leaders and change makers in deepening their skills and embodiment of regenerative practices.


Module 3 - Dynamic Governance - Decision Making

Wednesday 8th February, 2023, 15.00 - 17.00

Delivered by Ted Rau and Shala Massey of ‘Sociocracy for All’

Sociocracy draws on the use of consent, rather than majority voting, in discussion and decision-making by people who have a shared goal or work process. That way, many people can be decision-makers! Making decisions alone is already hard, but as a group, it gets even harder! How can we make decisions that work for everyone without spending a huge amount of time?

This session will explain how consent works as a decision-making method and how it balances the individuals' and the group's needs in a clear, pragmatic and yet equitable way. We will also demo and practice in this session so you can take this decision-making process into your groups.


Module 4 - Dynamic Governance - Meeting structures, processes and documentation

Wednesday 15th February 2023, 15.00 - 17.00

Delivered by Ted Rau and Shala Massey of ‘Sociocracy for All’

Meetings matter - they are the place where the team meets, gets to hear each other and where plans are made. It's important to us to design meetings that work, where everyone is heard, processes are fair and transparent both for the people inside of the meeting.

This session will outline how with a few techniques and principles, we can have improved and enjoyable meetings with more clarity, inclusion and forward motion.


Module 5 - Appropriate Digitalisation - User-Owned and Open-Source

Wednesday 22nd February 2023, 15.00 - 17.00

Delivered by Nick Weir (Open Food Network) and Caroline Woolard (Open Collective)

In this session user-owned and open-source platforms are introduced with direction on how to use them in your organisation's work. The OFN Platform enables new, ethical supply chains. Food producers can sell online, wholesalers can manage buying groups and supply produce through networks of food hubs and shops. Open Collective is a fundraising, legal status and money management platform for your community. Loomio is an open-source online tool designed for any group to make clearer, more collaborative and better decisions together.

  • Nick Weir is a part-time grower on a Community Supported Agriculture project. In 2008, he set up a food hub in his home town which is a cooperative of 85 food producers selling to over 300 shoppers and buyers. He works with community food enterprises across the UK to build local food systems. He also works with people wanting to deploy the OFN in new countries.

  • Caroline Woolard is an artist, educator, and the Chief Culture Officer at Open Collective, a technology platform that supports 15,000 groups to raise and spend $35 million a year in full transparency. Woolard is a founding co-organizer of which exists to grow the Solidarity Economy movement by centring systems change work led by artists, and is the co-author of three books.


Module 6 - The Power of Story, Introducing Public Narrative

Wednesday 1st March 2023, 15.00 - 17.00

Delivered by Masha Burina, Leading Change Network.

Stories can motivate mindful actions towards our shared purpose. Together we'll understand how this works by diving into the craft of Public Narrative, which is based on three stories: Self, Us, and Now. We'll watch examples and debrief and explore our own stories that can lead others to act with us in strategic ways.

  • Masha Burina, is a movement organiser and educator from the Leading Change Network based in Berlin.

More about us

Feeding Ourselves is a Community of Practice for regenerative, community-led & cooperative local food initiatives, facilitating capacity building and peer support while strengthening a solidarity food movement on the island of Ireland. From November 2022 to March 2023, Feeding Ourselves will host a series of in-person and online events, workshops and trainings. Subscribe to our e-bulletin to keep up to date on our events and activities

Feeding Ourselves (The Open Training Network) is coordinated by Cloughjordan Community Farm, Open Food Network Ireland and SolidNetwork, it is supported by The Wheel’s Training Links Programme. Our Network Members are - Cloughjordan Community Farm CLG, SolidNetwork, Open Food Network Ireland, Talamh Beo, Dublin Food Coop, Urban Co-op Limerick, East Clare Community Co-Operative Society Ltd, Green Restoration Ireland Co-operative Society Ltd, Cultivate - Sustainable Ireland Cooperative Society Ireland Ltd., Irish Seed Savers Association, Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd., CSA Network of Ireland, Sonairte National Ecology Centre CLG, Donegal Food Growers Network, Roscommon Producer Network, Irish Regenerative Land Trust, Doon Social Farm, Belfast Food Co-op, Trinity Co-op, Cooperative Alternatives


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