Economic Democracy Training

Embark on a transformative journey at the Economic Democracy Training Program, a 5-day immersive experience hosted by the Prout Research Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. Through engaging workshops on cooperative development, leadership, and permaculture, attendees will delve into the principles and practices of economic decentralization and the pivotal role of cooperatives in fostering resilient, equitable, and sustainable communities.

$350 all included accommodations and vegetarian meals. Scholarships available on a rolling basis. (For scholarships choose invoice to conclude registration and an application will be shared and adjusted invoice.)

$75/day for partial attendance with meals and accommodations. 

Workshops, Field Trips, Daily Living

Cooperative Development


In this introductory workshop, participants will learn the historical context of cooperatives within the US economy, the cooperative development process of forming a collective enterprise with democratic governance, and various avenues for involvement in the cooperative movement. We will travel to local co-ops and hear from co-op developers best practices and their experiences in building cooperative ecosystems. Lastly, we will cover additional resources, financial tools, and community needs assessments as ways to begin your own journey as a co-op developer or organizer. 


Alternative Economic Models 


In this workshop we will explore how cooperatives are advancing economic democracy, and how the alternative model of the Progressive Utilization Theory functions today. We will cover key principles of Prout, Prout’s three tiered economy, strategies for implementing cooperatives and economic democracy, and challenges and opportunities in transitioning to a new economy based on environmental and community needs. 




How can local food be an agent of change in our communities? Here we will explore localized food systems through the lens of permaculture (creating permanent cultures through dynamic and integrated systems). We will tour a local ecovillage, a community garden initiative and cover the specifics of beginning a garden and orchard with a hands on build. 




To achieve what we want to attain in our lives, and help others do the same, requires leadership qualities. Throughout this training program, we will be introducing and practicing leadership skills which will give us greater control over our lives and have a deeper impact on the society we live in.  We will be developing leadership at different levels. First we will start with our selves, clarifying our inner assets, understanding our values, and working to strengthen our minds and hearts. Then, we will learn what true collaborative leadership is, how to work collectively, build teams, and overcome the divisions which divide us. Finally, we will explore what it means to use our leadership skills to inspire and help others achieve personal and social transformation.

Daily Living

Hosted in partnership with a land based community, the day to day includes opportunities for yoga and meditation classes, walks with a local trail system, and shared meals with around a dozen local community members. In the neighborhood is a yoga and meditation retreat center (Prama Institute), a college for leadership development (Neohumanism College of Asheville), a preschool (Mountain Breeze Preschool), and a small farm with dairy, vegetable, and berry production.

About Us

Organized by the Prout Research Institute, we are a collective of activists, co-op developers and systems change thinkers who are working to promote alternative economic models aligned with meeting the basic needs of everyone. We host educational trainings and seminars around the Progressive Utilization Theory, and develop practical policies and projects to help achieve a high quality of life for everyone. 


Co-sponsored by Prout Alliance, our sister organization dedicated to networking and solution based journalism.

Training Organizers & Presenters


Shriraksha Mohan

Motivated by the social and spiritual philosophies of P.R. Sarkar, she embarked on a Prout journey, first as a student and then as an activist, who realized there is a dire need for systemic changes in the social, economic and cultural spheres of existence to create an equitable and sustainable world. Born and raised in India, she now lives in the United States. She has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and works as a software professional. As an active member of Prout Alliance and Proutist Universal, she is invested in Prout advocacy to raise socio-economic awareness through Prout education, writing, and outreach efforts on Prout social media. She is the co-author of a chapter in the book, Climate Adaptation: Accounts of Resilience, Self-Sufficiency and Systems Change. The book collates numerous case studies from around the world on alternative socio-economic models, climate adaptation, systems change and resilience. She co-authored a chapter to present Prout as a socio-economic alternative to build robust and self-reliant systems which are resilient to climate change.

Howard Nemon

He is the Co-Founder and Director of the Prama Institute & Wellness Center, a holistic conference and retreat center located in Marshall, NC (USA). Howard received his PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught community practice and international sustainable development at George Mason University and Warren Wilson College. From 2012 to 2020, he was the Director of the Center for Local Economies, a community-based research and advocacy organization that developed new economic solutions. He is an active member of the Prout Alliance, a US-based collaborative which promotes Prout policies and activism.


Wilder Nicholson

Wilder Nicholson is a documentary storyteller and activist based in Wabanakik, Midcoast Maine, and works with nonprofits and cooperatives to share stories of social change. Wilder began directing short documentaries with a Community Matters Grant with Bowdoin College in 2013 and has since worked with community initiatives locally and internationally as an editor and director. In 2020 Wilder worked with Cooperative Development Institute to produce a series of documentaries on employee and member owned businesses in Maine’s local food system. Wilder enjoys celebrating indigenous heritage as part Haudenosaunee, and is a RYT-200 certified yoga teacher and holds a Permaculture Design Certificate.


Alex Jackimovicz

Alex Jackimovicz is the co-founder of the Alliance for Economic Democracy, and an activist, spiritualist, and small businessman in Boothbay, Maine, who has been involved in various local, state, and national social and economic justice campaigns. He has worked on numerous initiatives connected to the international movement for Prout, for three decades. Alex has worked with the Maine People’s Alliance, the Maine Small Business Coalition, and the Maine Fair Trade Campaign. He partners with others to generate connections among those engaged in various spheres of the economic democracy movement organizing. Alex writes and speaks extensively on economic democracy and alternative economics, advocating for a societal shift where community needs, sustainability, and human and environmental well-being take precedence over maximizing profits.

Arthur potrait

Arthur Pacheco

Between an undergrad in Social Sciences and a long formation in Tantric Yoga, Arthur has been making his life very much about synthesizing the pursuit of ecological bliss and socially dynamic equality. His early experiences were with the agro-ecology movement, then cooperative projects and all throughout that time with the PROUT movement in Brazil. Nowadays being on the Global PROUT Advisory Board. His interests, inspirations come from Non-Violent Communication, Popular Education, Sociocracy, PROUT, Permaculture, and Agroecology.

“Prout’s cooperative model of economic democracy, based on cardinal human values and sharing of the planet for the welfare of everyone, deserves our serious consideration.”

Noam Chomsky

© Economic Democracy Training