Cooperation Tools for Farm and Marketing Associations

12. How do we remain viable in the future?

  • Work steps

    You can download the content of this section as a Word file → here.

    Why does it make sense to talk about future viability?

    Change and growth is fundamental to human nature. Development arises as a reaction, for example, to correct errors or improve cumbersome work processes. We have developed this attitude further and further over the last two hundred years. Today, we are in a position to design, to shape, to bring into function according to our ideas every situation, every work process, every machine, indeed simply everything from its origin. We increasingly live with the attitude: "Nothing is impossible. We have everything under control and can design it accordingly". This leads to more and more specialized knowledge and more complex relationships, in which the individual has the potential to lose sight of the bigger picture. Who today comprehensively understands how a laptop or a cell phone or a car works? But even on a larger scale, conditions are becoming more and more complex, overview is lost and global structures, e.g. in the capital sector or in world trade, can no longer be easily understood.

    These developments have resulted in reliance on the "experts" in full confidence, because we can no longer follow the developmental steps ourselves. Living in "full confidence" of the experts puts us to the test again and again. Who hasn't failed at the comprehensive operating instructions for a new device? But we can rely on our intuition, on our common sense, which guides us through the thicket of technical challenges and which allows us to give more substance to fulling trusting ourselves.

    Development often takes place intuitively, from the "gut." In communities, individual’s application of their intuition can lead to disagreements if there is no lively exchange about the details and the ‘whys?” Here the differences in temperament, imprinting from the child and youth development, the parental home, become clearly visible.

    In communities, development is naturally actively pursued.

    Development can also arise as an action to work on visions and goals.

    At the moment a paradigm shift is possibly taking place, which can be described perhaps with the following way: Up to our time the future is formed from a picture of the past, from now on the future will be formed from a picture of the future!

    What is behind this image? What does it mean to work out an image of the future, a vision?

    When we allow all our abilities such as thinking, inspiration, ingenuity, inventiveness, our imagination come to the forefront and run free, what does our dream of the future look like? What does it mean to live in "healthy" conditions, to create a "sustainable" agricultural system, a "sustainable" organization and economy? What does my image, and what does our image for such a future look like?

    We are free to put together such images and usually the limitation lies within us, because we immediately subject every idea, every thought, everything to an inner examination, whether any of our thoughts are "realistic.”

    Try to take this freedom and try to put asid your inner critic during this process.

    In which situations do we recommend addressing the topic of future viability?

    Development is an ongoing process. A company that sets and achieves its development goals in an excellent way is exemplary. However, if it does not continuously set new goals, there can be a big gap in company functions and operations. This is why dealing with future viability is also an ongoing process.

    Work steps

    In the following section, reference is made to five development themes. They are roughly described in terms of content, but when engaging witht he topics in real-time, the specifics of the topics and themes occurr in a variety of shapens and forms. They may also be worked on to varying degrees of intensity.

    A helpful suggesion from practice for dealing with these topics:

    • You could, the beginning of a new year, specifically set out to work on a specific question from one of these topics over a limited period of time ( e.g. 6 weeks and one hour per evening a week).
    • The result of this processing may be reflected by changing one item under "What guides us?" and/or "How do we get to where we want to go?".

    Developing the basis

    Biodynamic and organic agriculture, just like a sustainably oriented organization with flat hierarchies, needs to be nurtured and developed. We need to apply our experience and knowledge to continue to develop the basis of agricultural systems. For example, we need to continuously pay attention to:

    • Future visions for our farms and businesses
    • Animal welfare, plant and animal breeding
    • How we work together
    • New forms of ownership, farms that “own themselves”
    • ...

    Individual development

    A helpful reminder is: "There is no business development without developing the entrepreneur.”

    We have many issues as individuals, some of which we struggle with and desire to change - skills and abilities, habits, cultural perspectives, pride, need for recognition etc. It would be excellent, if we could seriously work on these questions ourselves, and then honestly and openly exchange ideas about them in the community and learn from each other...

    Business development

    Every commmunity that runs a business of any kind faces challenges about how the company should perform and develop:

    • Do we want to keep growing?
    • How sustainable is our production?
    • How do we find qualified employees and successors?
    • What is the role of the elders in the farm and the business?
    • Where will we get our energy to keep going (both literally and figuratively)?

    Network development

    We need to pay special attention to the development of networks in which we participate.

    • How do we connect more with our customers?
    • How do we form partnerships on the local, regional, and national level?
    • How do we work with our partners, such as suppliers, banks, communities etc.?
    • How involved are we in industry associations and NGOs and how do we help shape them?

    and last but not least a very big challenge for this section:

    The question of “fate” or “destiny”

    If life is not a lottery game, then it is not by chance that we have all come together with the people in our communities.

    • What does it mean for me that I have ended up in this community?
    • What does this community demand of my own personal development?
    • What can and should I learn?
    • What challenges can be worked on through this community, what can be developed further?

    These are just some of the many areas of developmen that may arise and come to us in a variety of forms. We are just giving a hint of how you might encounter them in every day life.