Case study: La Fageda, a social cooperative
Location: Els Casals s/n, 17811 Santa Pau, Spain
Cooperativa La Fageda was born in the early 80s as a pilot project to try to remove the mental patients of psychiatric hospitals and move them away from the state of social marginalization suffered. This is a business project that aims to insert professionally and socially people with severe mental disorders or mental disability.
They are placed in La Garrotxa, in the heart of the Volcanic Natural Park, close to the main tourist attractions such as Santa Pau or La Fageda d’en Jordà (one of the 26 natural reserves in the Natural Park, is an impressive beech forest) from which they borrowed the name.
La Fageda develops different activities: they have a cow farm, an ice cream and yogurt factory (made with the milk they obtain from their own cows), a jam workshop, gardening services and customer assistance. Currently there are more than 300 employees.
The products elaborated there stand out for their quality, having established as a prestigious brand in recent years. In the beginning, in order to ensure the profitability of the project, the National Government assured the purchase of its production to distribute it in schools and hospitals, but the increased recognition has led to an increase of the production and now these products can be found in most stores. As a collective they participate with different activities organized in the region, for example they collaborate with the local association of cooks “Cuina Volcànica” (Volcanic Cuisine). The visitor service organizes visits to see the facilities, the farm and the production system. It has become one of the activities carried out in the Park that visitors must do.
It’s an example of a local producer with a social project that involves people with disabilities. It’s a project that brings on together local production, a social program and a tourist activity.
Although the visit is accessible, they do not have sensorial facilities. That’s the reason why the participation in this project can offer an added value to the visit. In this sense, after doing a mystery shopper visit, a specific training course will be done in order to respond to the specific needs of the sensorial disabled people.