Let’s Cooperate
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Photo by Peter Wendt/Unsplash
Good Food

Let’s Cooperate

The Virtues of Food Cooperatives
Monika Kucia
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time 8 minutes

Imagine that instead of buying processed food from a hypermarket, you go to a garden and choose your own tomatoes; while there, you meet people who offer you a slice of rhubarb cake. This is how shopping looks in some food cooperatives – it’s how the world could look, too…

The main advantages of food cooperatives are access to healthy, fresh foodstuffs, the shortest possible supply chain, direct contact with the farmer, community building, and learning to compromise. The cooperatives rely on trust, personal commitment, joint effort and faith in the belief that supporting producers helps build a better world. Participation in a cooperative is also a genuine counter to the current food system. It demonstrates alternative ways to obtain food, which are closely linked to values such as respect, responsibility, balance and moderation.

First off, cooperation

A group of people made up of neighbours and foodies gets together, for example, on a Thursday or a Saturday. One person is responsible for going to the farmer for potatoes, someone else for weighing, packing and distribution. Typically, these roles are rotated and each participant knows how to do all the tasks. In more advanced cooperatives, there will be a shop from which members of the cooperative can buy goods at lower prices but, in return, they are obliged to work a several-hour shift for the cooperative once a month.

Ruta Śpiewak, a scientist at the Faculty of Rural Sociology at the Institute of

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