Consortium of social cooperatives NCO (Nuova Cooperazione Organizzata)

Environmental sustainability, Improvement of services / infrastructures, Entrepreneurship, Governance, Poverty and social exclusion, Employment, Education

The NCO (Nuova Cooperazione Organizzata – New Organized Cooperation) is a consortium, founded in 2012, involving five so-called ‘social cooperatives” and ironically taking the acronym of the Nuova Camorra Organizzata (New Organized Camorra known as NCO), a powerful mafia organization.
The vision of the Consortium contends that it is necessary to organize people and to build networks for joining forces in order to fight against the Mafia while also struggling with the prejudices against disadvantaged people. The cooperatives began to collaborate in 2009 within the Christmas initiative “Let’s give Camorra a package”, a joint sale of the products of cooperatives, associations and private companies that denounced racketeering or that were involved in the fight against criminal organizations. After the success of this initiative, some cooperatives decided to leave their label and to commercialize their products together under the umbrella brand NCO to increase consumer awareness and improve visibility. Progressively, the strategic alliances among cooperatives reached organizational and productive assets, developing a common frame and work plan that facilitated knowledge exchanges and that affected the partnering organizations’ performance.
The cooperatives started to collaborate with public health and social services to provide a different kind of health, social and educational services.
Over the years, towards the end of the decade, the NCO began to link agricultural practices and care services and to implement different social farming activities, including elements of healthcare, social rehabilitation, education or employment opportunities for various vulnerable groups. Moreover, NCO cooperatives decided to invest in agriculture in order to achieve their autonomous economic sustainability with the aim to reduce their dependence on public funds for health and social services, which are too often delayed or discontinued.
“Un fiore per la vita” social cooperative belonging to NCO, runs a Social farm in Aversa Naples named “Fuori di Zucca” “out of mind” Social Farm, located in the former Metal Hospital of Aversa. Fuori di Zucca” is a name that says a lot about the farm. “Fuori di zucca” It is located on the land of the old mental hospital of Aversa The cooperative, adopting the multifunctional criteria of the agriculture and the health’s budget, today realizes a lot of activities, in particular the working integration of people affected by different forms of mental disabilities The Farm has a high-quality Restaurant and is engaged in the contrast of organized crime Camorra.

Networking, Training / Teaching, Production of goods, Services delivery, Social media, Public participation, Marketing & Promotion, Experimentation
Farmers, Cooperatives, associations, University, educators, social farms, students, psychologists

• The cooperatives put people and community, rather than profit, at the centre of their missions, adopting an integrated and innovative approach to their narratives and daily practices. Thus, as the natural consequence of seeking the wellbeing of the community, the cooperatives pursue a fight against Mafia culture coupled with a fight against social and environmental injustice
• In the Land of Fires, marked by unemployment and by irregular and exploited work, especially in the agricultural sector, the cooperatives promote fair and horizontal work relations, even with marginalized people. The cooperatives utilise agriculture as the focus of a new approach to build a fairer and healthier relationship with the environment in every way: physically, mentally, spiritually and also politically. The aim of NCO cooperatives is not only to break the mechanisms of the criminal economy, but also to challenge the agro-industrial food system and its exploitation of people and resources.
• This network supports systemic changes linking a very heterogeneous group of actors, including public (such as health services authorities, research institutes), private (farmers, local entrepreneurs) and civic associations (such as social cooperatives). These links allow to combine and deploy internal and external resources and knowledge in order to unlock the potential of local development. These innovations, working across a broad range of dimensions, act jointly to promote a transition from criminal economy to social/ecological economy.

* Information at the level of NUTS 3 or local regions.