Monday, 30 May 2011

For the people, by the people

Kim Crane, green24’s environmental champion, recently worked a shift at The People’s Supermarket, a sustainable food cooperative in London.

So, what exactly is The People’s Supermarket all about? Their vision is to create a commercially sustainable, social enterprise that is community focused, and managed by their members. The shop is located in central London and, although it is smaller than the huge chain stores, it offers a range of the usual suspects - fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, canned foods and some freshly baked goods too.

What’s so special about The People’s Supermarket? Well, for starters, it offers membership for £25 a year, giving members a 10% discount in the shop and a say in how it’s run. Now how many supermarkets can say that? You don’t need to be a member to shop there though, of course!

So, what do they stock? To be commercially viable, they have no choice but to offer mainstream brands together with their more sustainable food alternatives (Heinz ketchup along with organic options, for example). They appreciate that the organic products can carry a premium price tag that may be beyond their customers’ reach and are constantly trying out new, small-scale suppliers and products, to see what proves popular.

Needless to say, the shop seems to be popular with locals, but they are always looking for more members/volunteers to help out, whether that means donating, time, money, services or stuff. They are a really friendly bunch of people, so if you live in London then stop by, and if you don’t, why not see if there is a sustainable food cooperative near you?

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