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About

About us

The High Mountains is a Social Cooperative Enterprise based in Zagori that aims at the repopulation and the Worthliving Integrated Development of the mountainous areas.

 It was founded in 2016 to provide support to those who live and produce in mountainous areas, to cultural associations, communities and mountain municipalities and to those who are thinking of starting a new life in the High Mountains of our country.

It aims to create a network of mutually supported membersto promote local and collective interests,to network producers and consumers,to strengthen social cohesion and to create new jobs through the production and promotion of local products, the exploitation and protection of local resources, alternative forms of tourism and the provision of services in areas such as culture, environment, ecology, education, public utilities etc.
The basic decision-making tool for shaping the conditions that will lead to the development and repopulation of mountain areas is the data provided by society itself. By recording, analyzing, synthesizing and visualizing the physical and socio-economic reality of the region, we use the results obtained and plan our actions with the active participation of all stakeholders at the core.

How we work

"The High Mountains" is based on a Network of people who live, produce and create in mountainous areas, as well as those who dream of a worthliving life, far from the cities, in the mountain communities of our country.

grandmother and toddler boy

We operate in the legal form of a Social Cooperative Enterprise and in the spirit of the Social and Solidarity Economy. This means that all our effort and actions are oriented towards achieving our social purpose and not towards maximising profitability. The "profit" for us is the increase of quality jobs, the creation of appropriate infrastructure and the solution of those problems that will lead to the support of the inhabitants of the mountain areas, the strengthening of counterurbanization and the creation of worthliving communities in the high mountains.

Our name and values are inspired by the novel of the same title by Zacharias Papantoniou.

 The collective spirit, individual self-reliance, solidarity and the importance of social contribution, social equality and justice, the cultivation of ecological awareness for the protection of our common natural resources, are at the core of our values. We believe that individual independence, weaning and character building passes through self-sufficiency of our basic needs, initiative, community life and collective organization.

Mountain river in the green forest

What motivated us to start this enterprise

The difficulties and problems that we face in our daily lives, both those of us who live and those who try to settle in mountain villages, prompted us to collectively try to find solutions.

 Of all those who have tried the longed-for "return to the village" in the last decade, only a few have managed to stay, as the reality, especially in the mountains, is very harsh and most of the time the difficulties outweigh the romance of returning. Those who returned had to face abandonment, the absence of infrastructure and services. But the worst thing they had to deal with was the absence of community.

It is this lost community and the initiatives it should have taken that we are trying to recreate in The High Mountains.

With the tools of Networking, Social Innovation and Economy we strive to create the terms and conditions for a worthliving life in the thriving mountain communities of our future.

Our Vision

Our vision is the development and repopulation of the mountainous areas of Greece. We rely on a network of peoplewho dream of a worthliving life, far from the cities, in the mountain communities of our country.

Our Objective

Our objective is to achieve a social purpose, which is the empowerment of the inhabitants of the mountainous areas, counterurbanisation and the creation of worhliving communities in the high mountains, not the maximization of profitability. Quality jobs, proper infrastructure and solving problems in the mountain communities.

Our Services

"The High Mountains" SCE provides support and services to people who live and produce in mountainous areas, to cultural associations and mountain municipalities, and to those who are thinking of starting a new life in the mountains of the country.

Social & Solidarity Economy

The social economy is an economic system that gives priority to social and environmental goals alongside economic goals. It is a response to the limitations of traditional market-based economies, which often prioritise profit over the well-being of communities and the planet. Below we look at the principles and benefits of the social economy, as well as its challenges and possible solutions.

  • is democratic and participatory, giving citizens and communities a say in how resources are allocated and how decisions are made.
  • values the well-being of people and the planet, rather than focusing solely on economic growth.
  • is committed to social justice and tackling inequalities, with a particular focus on marginalised groups.
  • is based on cooperation and solidarity, with individuals and organisations working together for the common good.
  • can create more sustainable and resilient communities by promoting local production, consumption and ownership.
  • can create meaningful and satisfying work that is not solely focused on profit.
  • can promote social cohesion and reduce inequality by empowering marginalised groups and providing opportunities for participation and engagement.
  • can promote environmental sustainability by prioritising the protection and conservation of natural resources.
  • difficulty in measuring and evaluating social and environmental impacts. In a traditional market economy, the value of goods and services is determined by the market price, but in the social economy, the value of social and environmental outcomes is often difficult to quantify.
  • lack of access to capital and resources, as many social economy actors are small and underfunded.
  • ignorance and lack of public understanding of the social economy, which makes it difficult to attract investment and support.
  • developing new indicators to measure social and environmental outcomes, such as the social return on investment (SROI) or the triple bottom line (TBL), which take into account social, environmental and economic factors.
  • creating new funding models, such as community finance or social impact bonds, which provide capital to social economy organisations.
  • increasing public awareness and education about the social economy can help generate support and investment.

Mountain product

The quality designation "mountain product" denotes the distinctive qualities of a product made in mountainous regions under challenging environmental conditions.

Both farmers and consumers benefit from this acknowledgment. It not only makes certain characteristics of the product clear to the consumer but also helps farmers market their products more effectively.

  • Products: agricultural and food products.
  • Specifications: The raw materials and animal feed come from mountain areas. For processed products, production must also take place in these areas.

 

Report: Labelling of agricultural and food products of mountain farming

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