The Solidarity Economy Promoted by the American Friends Service Committee

Building a more just and sustainable economy can feel like an endless struggle against unjust systems. However, rather than fighting against these systems, another approach is to create positive alternatives. One such approach is the concept of a solidarity economy, which prioritizes people and the planet over endless profit and growth.

Examples of solidarity economy practices include Indigenous survival and sustainability methods, cooperatives, community land trusts, credit unions, peer lending, mutual aid, community-led economic development, bartering, community-supported agriculture, and fair trade products. Informal ways in which family, friends, and neighbors come together to support each other are also part of the solidarity economy.

In my own community on a rural country road, neighbors come together to help each other in times of need. When a tree falls across the road, the first person with a chainsaw takes care of it. Those with wood stoves benefit from the fallen tree. During bad weather, people check on each other to ensure everyone is safe. Surplus produce from gardens, eggs from chickens or successful hunting trips are shared among community members. This type of mutual support and cooperation embodies the principles of the solidarity economy and offers a tangible example of how we can create a more just and sustainable economic system.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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