Case studies in Greece
“Allotropon” is a non-profit co-operative, which supports the concepts and practices of solidarity economy and fair trade, grounded in a humanistic philosophy.
Inspired and triggered by social movements in Greece and other countries, the founding members of the co-operative decided, some years ago, to experiment with alternative and solidarity trade. Such trade aims to secure access to quality products at affordable prices for consumers, a fair reward for producers, as well as a harmonious co-existence with the natural habitat. From the outset of the endeavor, members sought to practically demonstrate that the genuine co-operation between consumer groups and producers who are driven by the values of self-organization, equality, and solidarity, can lay the ground for an ecosystem where trust, the exchange of ideas, and the share of know-how take center stage.
The co-operative owns a grocery store, which offers only eco-friendly and organic products. Moreover, these products are exclusively sourced from agricultural co-operatives, small-sized craft firms, and individual small-scale farmers who organize production along the principles of solidarity and respect for the environment, while renouncing any form of forced or child labor.
The grocery store, which is located in the city of Corinth, is also home to café “Allotropon”, which, in turn, serves as a meeting point for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, and as a venue for different events. So far, several interactive events have been hosted, such as “earth fests” (e.g., information events devoted to the real value of seeds), food fairs, speeches and public discussions, cultural happenings (e.g., concerts, book presentations, film screenings), as well as socially-oriented actions (e.g., gathering food items for refugees and people plagued by natural disasters).
For more information about “Allotropon”, please visit the co-operative's website: https://www.facebook.com/AllotroponKorinthos
“Gaia” is a co-operative founded in Chania, Crete, back in the summer of 1996. The founding members consisted of a small group of organic farmers, agronomists, ecology enthusiasts, and healthy nutrition proponents. They were all keen on stimulating ecological farming, but they admitted that, for this to happen, an entity had to be established first, to serve as a springboard for the development of organic agriculture, but also as an outlet where consumers could buy products of guaranteed quality, free of chemicals. As a result, the producers-consumers’ co-operative “gaia” was spawned, the first ever co-operative in Greece that brought together producers and consumers.
The endeavor was initially met with skepticism by local people, but the founding members were determined to “turn the tables”. They engaged in systematic efforts, which included, among others, training sessions, informative visits to schools, and interviews on the city's radio and TV stations, eventually convincing the local society about the merits of organic products, healthy eating, and respect for the environment.
Today, the co-operative owns two stores in the city of Chania, and its 220 members, along with their fellow citizens, enjoy the benefits of obtaining certified organic products, in wide assortments and top quality.
For more information about "gaia", please visit the cooperative's website: https://gaiabio.gr/en/