The City of Ladyzhyn in the Vinnytsia Region is home to a one-of-a-kind Ukrainian cooperative called “Golden Flora”. It specializes in the harvesting of medicinal herbs for processing by other Ukrainian businesses. One of the co-founders of the cooperative is the Peak-Art Association of Cultural Entrepreneurship, which has a 4-year successful track record promoting local business and implementing comprehensive private enterprise innovations.
Throughout 2020, the Golden Flora Cooperative has been implementing the initiative “From Joint Actions to the Well-Being of Each and Every One!”, with the support of the International Technical Assistance Project: “Partnership for Local Economic Development and Democratic Governance” (PLEDDG), the aim is to improve the living standards of Ladyzhyn residents by getting them involved in cooperative private enterprise.
The cooperative originally included 10 herb pickers: business owners and farmers specializing in the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of medicinal herbs. Individually, they were unable to process large quantities of raw materials or buy hi-tech equipment. Golden Flora made this possible for them. The cooperative has also enlisted the cooperation of many Ladyzhyn natives and residents of nearby communities, thereby giving them an opportunity to make extra income.
Golden Flora also buys seasonal berries and fruit, seeds, wild herbs, and flowers from residents. Once processed and dried, herbal ingredients are sold to Ukrainian businesses that subsequently process and sell them, including overseas. In its first year, the cooperative sold close to 20 tonnes of dried elder berries, 4 tonnes of dried rowan berries, and close to 100 kilograms of lavender flowers.
To enlist the cooperation of as many people as possible, the initiative was extensively promoted via social networks and the local mass media. Golden Flora held webinars for more than 100 people, including individual herb pickers, farmers, and business owners specializing in medicinal herbs, to teach them about best cultivation practices, services available from the cooperative, and advantages of cooperation with Golden Flora.
Ladyzhyn natives and residents of nearby villages are not the only ones partnering up with the cooperative. Residents from other districts in the Vinnytsia Region also buy seedlings. Vitaliy Revatskyi and his family live in a village in the Lypovets District. The man never had anything to do with plants, but this year he has an entire lavender plantation near his house.
The Peak-Art Association will continue to work with the cooperative to launch a full cycle of production of finished goods to be marketed under the Golden Flora brand: dried fruit, teas, essential oils, and organic soap. Concerted efforts are already underway to ensure that the goods in question appear on shelves of Ukrainian stores in 2021. There are also plans to launch an online store to sell goods. Once the production facilities are fully completed, the Peak-Art Association will begin the next stage involving production expansion and the enlistment of an artists’ cooperative, based in Ladyzhyn and the Vinnytsia Region. Association members have various ideas for creating added value for their goods using the art component.
With support and funding from PLEDDG, Ladyzhyn and other partner cities are expanding an infrastructure that fosters small and medium businesses. Diversification of the local economy makes the cities less dependent on major industrial enterprises and makes them better adapted to new economic conditions and challenges. PLEDDG consistently delivers comprehensive assistance with enhancing the regional economy. The example of the Ladyzhyn-based Golden Flora Cooperative demonstrates how the promotion of business initiatives and win-win cooperation can improve the living standards of residents and the entire community.
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