Cycling for alternative systems – The Cargonomia experiment in Budapest | Cooperative City
Cargonomia’s goal is not to be the only cargo-bike food system delivery in Budapest. Instead of trying to become a monopoly and expand their operations, they aim at inspiring other people to experiment with their ideas and replicate their model: to become a ‘blueprint’ of how people in different fields, with a common vision of social benefit, can come together to offer solutions for some social issues. This allows Cargonomia to keep the scale of their operations at a manageable level, in order not to compromise the original concept of their initiative. For Logan Strenchock, Cargonomia’s objective is to provide “a good standard of living to our workers, an admirable high-quality service and a friendly place to work for people and hopefully generate some social benefit.”
In 2014, Cargonomia members came up with the idea of opening their physical space, in order to “offer something new and beneficial” beyond their daily operations. The space – opened with the help of KÉK’s Lakatlan programme – functions as Cargonomia’s new headquarters. Besides hosting offices and a cargo-bike logistical point, the venue also functions as an open space for discussions and repair workshops. The space helps showcasing the symbiosis between different organisations that brought together and successfully implemented a common non-profit initiative with a win-win scenario. As an anchor, to maintain the scale, the degrowth discourse is embedded in the project as a core value shared amongst the members.
The impact that Cargonomia creates in the city can be identified in two ways. On the one hand it produces a direct impact through its daily operation. It fosters and promotes smarter mobility solutions through the use of cargo bikes as an alternative to cars or lorries, resulting in a lower environmental footprint. It also brings local and organically produced food into the city as the most popular box distribution point for its source farm. Furthermore, it promotes local consumption and bridges the gaps between food producers and consumers, by organising the days of Community Supported Agriculture and DIY workshops.