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Case Study of Dobrze Food Cooperative – Poland

Anna Domaradzka, Joanna Jasińska, Ilona Matysiak, Agata Żbikowska - Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw

Abstract: The report summarizes the case study of “Dobrze” Food Cooperative in Warsaw, Poland. “Dobrze” coop is one of many examples of food-related cooperative established in Poland in recent years, but in comparison to others it is highly professionalized and achieved a good level of economic stability. It is the only grassroots food cooperative in Poland that has its own store and employs a permanent team of employees. For the last 5 years Dobrze has been developing a new model of cooperation between the countryside (farmers) and the city (residents-clients) by running two cooperative-owned grocery stores in the centre of Warsaw. In both shops, the seasonal organic food bought directly from the farmers is sold to the general public, offering reduced prices to cooperative members and senior residents. Food Cooperative “Dobrze” is run by people who by working together want to create a strong community able to fulfill their objectives concerning relations between food producers and consumers. Members of the cooperative benefit not only from low prices of organic food, but also from the possibility of influencing their surroundings and creating a community of likely minded individuals. By running the stores, the coop members reject the dominant model of market competition and price as well as employment policies of big grocery stores. Cooperative activities that are grassroots and democratic go hand in hand with care and respect towards the ecosystem. For the members, the sustainable management, referring to needs, involving people in the decision-making process is a more desirable and correct vision of economics than that offered by capitalism. The goal is to contribute to the economy that is close to people and responds to their needs and aligned with post-growth concepts of bringing economy home.