Ardelaine, France

16 September 2013

The history of Ardelaine goes back to 1975 when the leaders of an association of youth groups decided to renovate the former spinning mill in St Pierreville in the Ardèche département, in order to revive and to restructure the whole of the sector with a view to establishing an industry based on an ecological and fair trade approach. The idea was to influence local development by promoting the local resources of a neglected territory. The worker cooperative was created in 1982. Following a period during which marketing efforts were undertaken towards other European countries, a decision was taken to re-focus activities at the site level. This decision led to the establishment, in 1991, of the Wool Museum on the Ardelaine site. Through a strategy based on local anchoring, diversification and the creation of jobs based on territorial resources; over the course of 25 years the Ardelaine cooperative has created and sustained an average of more than one full-time job per year. The cooperative’s main objective was to create employment in a depopulated rural area through the development and production of a local resource, namely sheep’s wool. The chosen method was to restructure the sector, from shearing to the marketing of the finished products. It is for this reason that the cooperative now has developed different types of activities: such as hearing, collection, carding and wool preparation, mattress workshop, knitting and garments workshop, direct marketing and Tourism and Culture. The cooperative’s 44 employees are of different ages and origins, some of whom are from the local area, whilst others have moved into it. More information available in the book “Cooperatives, Territories and Jobs: Twenty experiences of cooperatives active in industry and services across Europe”, published by CECOP:


International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives

Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037
E-mail: cicopa[at]

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