i join a food coop
i save money
i prioritize the type of trade i want for the world
i join in on what happens in my neighborhood
i reduce my carbon footprint
To end my series on how to go food-shopping in the "It All Starts with Me" way, I wanted to talk to you about a miracle solution allowing me to hit five targets in one shot. You read that right. I go food shopping, buy local, seasonal and organic products, I promote neighborhood life and I reverse world economy. Not bad, right?
You’re probably wondering what my point is, and that’s perfectly normal. The phenomenon is still marginal and yet, more and more shops of a new kind have spread all around France lately! Yes, I’m talking about cooperative supermarkets.
What is a cooperative supermarket? It’s a place where the customer is also both an employee and a boss. Very few employees, no more blind & dehumanizing economic interests, say hi to a new way of doing business! And it’s fantastic!
Now, when I go food shopping, I feel like I'm a superhero about to save the world. A sort of mix between Captain Planet and Bruce Willis in Armageddon! I walk in slow-mo while pushing my caddie and it feels like the whole of humanity is cheering me on… Yeah, okay, so I'm over-acting it a bit but that way you know how I feel!
All the same, this is by far the action that I’m the most proud of this year! I’m part of ‘La Louve’, a cooperative supermarket which opened its doors in Paris’ 18th arrondissement. The shop is still in its learning phase, it very much looks like a ‘normal’ supermarket from the outside.
From the outside only, because behind the scenes, extraordinary things happen around the rows of shelves. The customers or so called ‘cooperants’ talk to each other. Yes, strangers talk to each other for no reason! We go food-shopping and you can’t help but tidy the shelves up or warn others when products are nearing the expiry date. And when there’s a bug during checkout, nobody’s upset.
On top of this, ‘La Louve’ sells high quality, organic products while favoring local producers. Costs are more than reasonable considering the top-notch quality. The fact that there are few employees considerably lowers costs (from 20% to 50%!).
This is all made possible in exchange of 3 hours of your free time per month! For me, it’s even 2h15 since I chose the Thursday morning slot at 6am, before going to work. That way, once a month, I clean up the aisles and order the shelves alongside people I’m starting to know really well. It feels like the shop is a bit ‘our baby’ and so we learn more about our neighbors. Living in as part of our community has never felt so good!
And overall, when heading back home, we get the impression of having done the right thing : with La Louve, going food-shopping becomes a militant act.
For those looking for cooperative supermarkets in London, the ‘People’s Supermarket’ is located at 72-76 Lambs Conduit Street, Holborn, London, WC1N 3LP. Their top objectives are :
- to source their produce responsibly
- to be kind to the environment
- to take care of their community
They aim to connect the urban community with the farming community in order to offer a socially and environmentally sustainable range of products!
- interesting links -