Food Coop Good Earth

Good Earth is the first consumer cooperative in Macedonia. As founders of the cooperative, we are concerned about the social processes in Macedonia, their impact on human health, the dispersal of local communities and the suppression of local initiatives. The main “umbrella” element that we see is the pollution and unconscious (unreasonable) use of natural resources and their endless pollution.

The awareness of the current and future effect of these facts on us and our immediate surroundings was initiation to form an organization that will try to be a shining example in many fields of our existence, and in relation to food. Most of all because we beleive that there is no other option, as to make a compromise with the personal health and health of our community – is already inadmissible.

Depending on the aspect of “success” and the point of view of it, we do not deviate from what we internally feel as “should be”. Relieved from “growth” and profit accumulation, we are in great advantage in the direction of existence according to a model (on a cooperative) that we believe can solve many existing problems in the supply and food production today.

The topics that we deal with in our work (our “weak points”) are intertwined with more science / disciplines united perhaps in the phrase “environmentally and socially sustainable systems for local food sovereignty”. We are setting up an organization that will be organized as horizontally as possible, transparent and socially oriented. We exist to set an alternative to the existing system of production, distribution and consumption of local food.

With our activities we are dealing with:

  • Food sovereignty – which model provides healthy local communities based on interconnectedness and trust through nature protection?
  • Why local producers are not the ones that our food system is based upon?
  • Direct relation of consumers with producers – shortening the supply chain and pollution, trust, social cohesion.
  • Public gardens and compost
  • Increase the public awareness for gardening and local food production (with the least environmental footprint)
  • Composting of all bio-waste
  • Recycling, reuse of materials
  • Reduce waste when delivering products
  • Reduction of pollution caused by transport of products

How do we do this?

We organize sales of Macedonian organic products in two ways:

  • Through an organic weekly cart for members
  • For consumers who are not members of the cooperative (in the store of the cooperative in Taftalidze).

We make decisions collectively, we try to be as transparent as possible, the profit (if any) will be used exclusively to support the idea for which we have been formed – the more people in Macedonia to consume local organically tested products for which they are eligible.

Producers (especially small ones) in Macedonia do not sell products directly to consumers (it is an additional obligation besides production for which they often lack skills). The Cooperative helps them to get access directly to consumers and the market and offer their products. The market is dominated by large distributors and market chains that add a margin and dictate the rules regarding the price, terms, and quantities of products. In this way small organic producers are marginalized and shake-out, and the market is not accessible to them. But they can contribute and produce the healthiest and best quality organic products.

Through the cooperative, we make direct contact with producers (we do not cooperate with advocates and traders). It gives us, the consumers, a rare opportunity to know each producer with whom we cooperate, to visit, to be sure that it is produced in an organic way.

We do not use plastic bags in the store. Take your bag when buying with us.

How do we know that the products we sell are really organic?

At the moment, the products that we provide, most of them are certified for organic product / organic in a transition issued by a certification body in Macedonia, but we are working on a model that will support producers who believe in the motive behind production that contributes more to nature than its exhaustion. We have implemented a project (first prize won at the Balkan level) which resulted in the Standard for the production of Good Earth, which requires the application of not only organic principles, but also the principles of wholeness through protection of biodiversity, soil, water, air – Elements that are not always covered by the organic certification process.

Additionally, we perform laboratory tests for pesticides for all products we sell (whether or not they are certified).

People are people … everybody would do anything for money.

True, and for those reasons, we cooperate directly only with the producers that we have visited. Like consumers, there are producers who believe in the same cause. By supporting the cooperative, you directly influence the support of small organic Macedonian producers. In cooperation with them, we organize an open day on the parcel with the producers, and everyone has the opportunity to join us. If you are interested in taking part, send us an e-mail to info@dobrazemja.org.

Awards won:

  • First place for social entrepreneurship in Macedonia 2015
  • First Prize for Philanthropy through Green Ideas 2015
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  • We offer organic local fresh fruits and vegetables!

    In our store you can find local fresh produce from Macedonia grown the natural way without chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Visit us in Taftalidze!

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