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Béatrice Barras, co-founder of French cooperative Ardelaine, receives the French state medal “Order of Merit”

31 October 2016 [ English ] français ]

Béatrice Barras, co-founder of worker cooperative Ardelaine, has received the French state medal of the “Ordre du Mérite ». Ardelaine is the fruit of the restauration in the 1970s of a crumbling wool mill in a small village of Ardeche, a remote and depopulated area of central France.

It began with one worker in 1981, and now has over 60 workers, two museums, two shops, a restaurant, making it the economic centre of the village and maintaining the activity of around 250 local shepherds. The full story of Ardelaine in chapter 1 of the book “Cooperatives, Territories and Jobs: Twenty experiences of cooperatives active in industry and services across Europe”, edited by CECOP here (http://www.cecop.coop/IMG/pdf/coops_territories_jobs_english_electronic-version-2.pdf)

Béatrice Barras during the ceremony recalled the motivation of the group of people who, with her, restaured the mill and established the cooperative: “We felt that what had led humanity to that day was disappearing ... we did not want to turn our back to industry, but to ensure that the latter did not break with its own history”. More information herehttp://www.hebdo-ardeche.fr/blog/2016/10/04/beatrice-barras-g-g-etre-et-faire-ensemble/

Ardelaine has also become a member of Cooproute (www.cooproute.coop), the European Route of the Cooperative Culture created by CECOP in 2014.