Pánjika Cooperative is a Non profit Cooperative of 7 members based in Leonidio, a village of 2.500 inhabitants in Greece.
The idea of the Cooperative was born by some of the members, who are also climbers and had started being active in Leonidio, on aspects that concerned Climbing in the surrounding area, since 2013. Soon they realized that the place has a lot of climbing potential and that they would like to offer their time and effort in contributing as much as possible in their own way.
Since more and more climbers started visiting the area, it was clear that we missed a meeting point, a place where climbers could meet and share their ideas, meeting people, getting involved with locals and getting to know Leonidio, the tradition-the culture-the mentality. While Climbing was and is still remaining the main motive for the creation of the Cooperative, the diversity of people involved led to the enrichment of the Cooperative’s aims.
One of the most important intentions was to create our own working circumstances, with our rules and ideas in a working environment where we would be the bosses of ourselves, meaning that everyone participates in the decisions. That way, we would like to express our opposition to the way that the global economy moves and operates nowadays, which involves the domination of pursuing of the highest possible profit at the expense of producers, consumers, workers and the global natural environment.
Another aim is to support and promote the idea of solidarity economy through the collaboration with producers and employees that are also organized in communities and cooperatives and their working relations are based on solidarity and mutual respect.
What is also very important to us, is the observation that wisdom is something we can provide to ourselves through the above mentioned relationships. Knowledge is not something that can be obtained at some institute but on the contrary something that we believe should be shared at any time in between partners, friends, neighbours, in between “experts” and “non-experts”, in a way that everyone’s educational and living level is enriched.
By following these main principles, we settled some fields where we would like to see the Cooperative grow and each one of us, carrying a different educational background, will potentially organize and frame each field. Firstly and until now, we came up with the realization of Pánjika Cafe/Bar Restaurant, situated on a small traditional street in the heart of Leonidio. Everyday we serve coffee, drinks and homemade food and sweets, with mostly greek products, or products that carry the “Fair trade” label. It’s a cosy and friendly environment where locals mix with climbers to share their everyday life and passion for climbing. Inside the café we have also organized a climbing gear shop and we provide climbing information about the sectors around the area. Meanwhile, we are in the process of developing our grocery shop, so that the visitors can also buy the products they taste in the café and take along with them in the mountains. The walls of the café are our small gallery, where we intend to present the work of independent artists, that would like to share their work with us and the visitors of Leonidio.
Our aim, for the near future, is to give our effort in maintaining the nicest possible atmosphere and working conditions, in being creative in order to develop our climbing activity in the mountains of Leonidio and last but not least in activating artistic, educational and cultural actions in collaboration with anyone sharing our vision.