This paper focuses on small holding, family farming in Southeast Spain where agricultural economic activity is predominantly organized around cooperative business models. A variety of diverse studies on the Almería agricultural and credit cooperative sector and the exploration of social-economic and eco-social indicators, in addition to economic-market indicators are presented. Each correspond to a cooperative “logic” that spans theoretical perspectives from the dominant economic-market model, new institutionalism, and an eco-social approach, echoing theories on collective coordination governance, and the avoidance of the “tragedy of the commons”. The latter is of particular importance given environmental challenges and scarce resources for agricultural activity. The cooperatives in Almería have increasingly relied on collective collaboration and coordination in order to meet social-economic and social-ecological challenges, transforming their role from that founded on a market dominant logic to that of cooperation as a coordination mechanism based on the mutual benefit of the community and environment. In turn, their ability to meet a wide range of needs and challenges of members and the community leads to their longevity. Cooperatives are able to act as both a market and non-market coordination mechanism, balancing the economic, social, and environmental dimensions, such that neither market nor non-market logics are dominant or exclusive.
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