A Decade of REKO

Congratulations to the first 10 years of REKO!

Last month we could follow a celebration of REKO turning ten. The founder of REKO, Tomas Snellman, various producers, and a number of researchers gathered at Hanken School of Economics to celebrate, take stock and look forward. We were fortunate to have our very own Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen as one of the participants, and she presented her previous research and also introducing our project Organizing REKO. Read more about the event here.

It was back in 2013 that the first two REKO rings were formed in Jakobstad and Vaasa (Finland). Since then hundres of rings have been established in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, and Italy, but also across the globe in countries such as Canada and Australia. It is safe to state that the ideas upon which these initiatives are built seems both attractive and – however we may define it – successful. It is an alternative form to access locally produced food – to smell, touch, cook and eat that which has been grown nearby, without interference of middle-hands. It seems to have filled a need.

Snellman talked on the issue of REKO’s organization, or rather lack thereof as a key for its prosperity. And it is precisely the issue of what makes REKO a successful and sustainable form of organizing that lies at the heart of our research project. We have just gotten started with initial fieldwork, and even though we are far from drawing conclusions, we are starting to create informed thoughts. With the fieldwork picking up pace come the new year, we are looking forward to take a deeper dive into what it is that sustains REKO organizing even without the usual formal attributes of organization.

The image shows a REKO pickup site, a parking lot, separated by an old (grey) and a new (black) part. The darker asphalt is dedicated to the producers, and the people who are there to fetch their pre-ordered products from the producers’ open luggage hatches park on the bright-grey side. All places of REKO are more or less meaningful, and we continue our study of interactions in Facebook groups, at pickup sites, but also how places matter the making of REKO.