An initiative to find new models for local sustainable transition
Bi-O was started in 2013 as a project without any specific organisational structure. We were about 20 people from Oslo, many from the nearest neighborhood on Sørbråten in Maridalen, who participated in a 4-hour long simulation of the project’s idea. We used the lawn as a drawing board, logs as markers, and our self-produced costumes and plant material as props.
The way forward
Since then, the project lived on in the form of Bi-O Design ANS, which has engaged in park and garden design and built up a large inventory of different cultivars of useful plants. Since 2016, we have produced plant material from Sørbråten farm in Maridalen, and built up an online store from which we have sold to the whole country of Norway, as well as developed several other projects and companies that support the project’s basic idea. We have now reached a point where we are ready to retrieve the basic idea and invite more people to join us on this journey.
Our understanding and strategy in the climate and environmental crisis
We base ourselves on a scenario which means that humanity must prepare for major upheavals due to climate change. We are developing this project because we want to contribute to society’s resilience, and find others who see the need for such solutions as we envision. Not necessarily as an alternative, but as a supplement to overall political solutions and technological innovations.
Building society robust enough to cope with the crisis will in any case require local reorganization of society, because it is where we live our lives, and where the interaction with other people and nature takes place on a daily basis. We believe that the activation of coordinated, local commitment has enormous potential for mobilizing people with all types of talents and life situations to contribute effectively to the solution, and thus also counteract the negative psychological burdens caused by the climate and environmental crisis.
The Bi-O project’s vision and purpose
Bi-O aims to establish transition projects as catalysts for rapid, sustainable transformation of the local structure of society.
To achieve this, we plan to buy or long-term lease agricultural property and establish/reinforce a viable residential structure for housing, food production and other industries, as well as meeting places for culture and political dialogue. We will establish and run projects and companies that develop methods, technology and design that such development projects need.
The problems bees and other insects experience around the world are both a concrete and symbolic starting point for the Bi-O project, hence the name (Bees + Area). Together with the bees, we will pollinate the area they reach from their hive (approx. 50 km2) with ideas, inspiration and initiatives to help make the area safe for bees, people and nature in general, as well as carbon negative by 2030.
Network of units to realize an idea for local sustainable transition
Since 2019, the main company that has been the carrier of the idea and initiative has been Bi-O AS. From this, two other joint stock companies and a cooperative have now sprung out, each fulfilling their role in the vision;
- Bi-O AS [ Continues in 2022 with the agricultural activities until these are separated into Bi-O Agro AS and then focuses only on financing, sales portal and operational services for the other companies ]
- Bi-O Design AS [ Development of micro housing as well as garden design and landscape architecture ] Founded 2012 as KYY AS, name changed in January 2022
- Bi-O Agritech AS [ Software and technology for efficient precision agriculture ] Founded 2021-11-25, established and in operation from 2022-01-01
- Bi-O Agro AS [ Focus on food security and food sovereignty; knowledge, technology, seeds, plants, livestock, fungi and microorganisms to build local production systems ] To be established by 2022-23
- Bi-Omstilling SA [ Beekeeping and conversion projects ] Stiftet 2021-11-01, has been established in operation from 2022-01-01
The network is also linked together through direct ownership where this is natural, and probably many active people will also have roles in several units at the same time, which is seen as an advantage to contribute to good communication and integration.
In order for the units to function as well as possible as a whole, the collaboration will from the beginning be regulated by a separate collaboration agreement.
It is an important premise for Bi-O to create the right mix between the socially oriented and the business-oriented units, and this can, from experience, create conflicts based on cultural differences and disagreements of an ideological nature. Therefore, it is crucial that how this collaboration should be is clarified from the beginning so that everyone knows what they are getting into and so that the project as a whole does not lose energy and speed due to fruitless conflicts.
All members, shareholders and role holders must join the agreement from the start. If you disagree with something, this must be discussed in the relevant bodies, so that amendments can be decided via negotiations and voting.
All photos on this page: Republicof Benny Lund