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Living Consumption Co-op

Author: Julie Caulier Grice
Published Date: 20 February 2008

Living Consumption Co-op: Collective Purchase Centre initiative relies on the purchasing power of consumers seeking a healthier and safer lifestyle, with a direct participation into production.

With the development of modern agriculture,the quality of products is falling andenvironmental pollution is increasing.

The Living ConsumptionCo-op was created to face this challenge,to promotegreen and sustainable agricultural production and consumption in such a way that all participants directly benefit. In addition, a spirit of strong mutual help has developed along with solid friendships to counter the cold, alienated social atmosphere of the city.

This initiative relies on the purchasing power of consumers seeking a healthier and safer lifestyle, and with direct participation in production. It opens up a direct conversation between producers and consumers. The co-op started on January 1993 producingeveryday food, such as vegetables, eggs, milk, rice and fruits. To cut down the costs, small well-organised purchase groups were formed and became responsible for collecting the orders, delivery and other logistical matters that are conducted regularly every week or/and every month. The co-op also organizes many related workshops and events to arouse the consumer awareness on food production and a sense of looking for a better living and healthier food.

The promoter of co-op is a women's associationin Taiwan, whoorganize women to establish co-ops together. Food is producedwith local flavours, using local farming methods and traditional lifestyles are encouraged, likespecial vegetables in particular areas or some dried food or tea in some particular villages. With concern about the development of local agriculture under the influences of globalization; and concern about human rights and the lives of minorities, like women, farmers, native people and handicapped in the rural area, the coop ensuresa quality food supply, grown naturally with better nutrients and taste and without addingarttificial substances. In addition, there is a decrease in consumption and less use of packaging; better use of resources, including recycled materials, and no use of chemicals for seed treatment and less use of pesticides. There is also better soil management, since only organic fertilizers are used, ensuringhealthier crops andbetter harvests. All this generates amore stable and reasonable price for the produce, empowerment of the women involved andsustainability and self-development in the co-op.

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