„Dobrze” Food Coop is a rapidly growing grassroot food initiative in Poland. As the first cooperative in the country to do so it runs 2 non-profit organic food stores in Warsaw. „Dobrze” Coop shops are an alternative to supermarkets that sell low quality food, but also to expensive, organic stores. The Coop Shops are shared property of its members who govern it according to international cooperative principles.
Our Mission Statement
Our goal is to support a system of food production and distribution, which fulfills the democratically defined needs of food consumers and producers, rather than being oriented on profit. We believe that communication and direct cooperation among consumers from urban communities together with producers belonging to rural communites contribute to strengthening the fabric of society and active citizenship, which are the base for a healthy democracy. We also believe that bringing these communities closer and allowing them to exchange raises awareness about the influence that food production has on natural environment. We put these ideas into practice through activities of our association.
What have we achieved so far?
★ In July 2014 we opened first grass-root, cooperative-owned grocery store in Poland, based in Warsaw
★ In October 2015 we organised Food Coops Gathering dedicated to the topic of solidarity economy and food democracy
★ In July 2016 we opened our second shop in Warsaw
★ We employ 7 people all of them our members
★ We are a diverse community of more than 230 members whose efficient collaboration is based on clear sets of benefits and duties
★We work with 20 farms and several local businesses
★We coordinate deliveries of seasonal food directly from our farmers 6 times a week
★ We sell around 50 different kinds of organic legumes, cereals, dried fruit, all sold by weight
★ We have reduced our waste production – instead of plastic bags we use reusable packaging and we compost organic waste
★ We have organized more than 25 educational and integration events
★ We have received award for the best non-governmental initiative voted by Warsaw residents as well as an experts’ prize
★ We are widely recognized as a practical alternative for both supermarkets offering industrial food as well as expensive ecological groceries
How is our grocery different from a regular store?
★ Our grocery is jointly owned by all the members of the cooperative
★ Both members as well as regular customers have the right to shop in the store
★ All members have equal vote in matters concerning the growth of our initiative (by attending strategic meetings and general assemblies)
★ We operate thanks to membership fees and voluntary work of our members
★ Members buy food at reduced prices
★ All profits are used to finance our growth and fulfill our statutory objectives
★ We buy seasonal food directly from our suppliers – trusted organic farms
★ As much as possible we strive to ensure that our food is sourced locally
★ We organize educational and integration events
How did we come up with the idea? How do we function?
We want to establish just and trusting relationships with the people who deliver our food. We constitute a community teaching for a common goal: access to healthy and seasonal food, grown locally, without involvement of big business and the chain of corporate intermediaries.
Thanks to the experience from other cooperatives, we know that frequent and regular shopping opportunities are essential for the group to remain active. Only if the alternative is available where and when we need it, can we really avoid supermarkets.
Our shop belongs to and is managed by its members. Each of us works in the shop three hours per month and contributes a monthly membership fee. This way we are able to lower the logistical costs and, as a result, the cost of food available to our members.
The Coop was established in July 2013 by only three people. More people willing to develop the initiative joined after the first open meeting. In the beginning the Coop functioned as a non-formal group simply through organising weekly group purchases of healthy, eco food coming from local farmers. Throughout the first year of activity, regular meetings were held in a makeshift shop set up in spaces shared by some friendly NGOs. In the meantime the idea of opening a coop shop started to take shape.
As new memebers were joining, ground rules were developed. The group was registered as an official asociation and successfuly rented a communal space in the city centre of Warsaw. A crowdfunding campaign was organised which ensured the financial resources necessary to renovate the future shop. In August 2014 Poland’s first grassroots coop shop since 1989 was launched! It is located at Wilcza 29a in Warsaw. The shop is managed collectively by all members of the „Dobrze” Food Coop Association – already 170 people and constantly growing.
Our stores: Wilcza 29a, Warsaw, Andersa 27
Our FB profile: www.facebook.com/kooperatywadobrze
Find out more about growing food-coop movement in Poland. Link
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