Green economy  |  Successes  |  09.11.2012

BU-KOOP : An Alternative Model For Organising Economic Activity

Excessive incomes of middlemen in the food industry and the costly mainstream certification of organic products are two of the major problems for small-scale food producers the BU-KOOP project addresses directly. 

BU-KOOP (Boğaziçi University Consumer Cooperative) was founded in 2009 by an initiative led by Çiftçi-Sen (farmers cooperative), Tohum İzi Association and Eğitim-Sen (consumer cooperative). The aims were to bridge the gaps  urban - rural, respectively producer - consumer through strengthening producer and consumer cooperatives; to help farmers get a fair share from what they produce by eliminating middlemen; and to help the consumer access to good food, information on how it is produced and encourage them to support small farmers.

The cooperative started by offering 13 products for purcvhase which has today increased to 80. A total of 180 members mainly Boğaziçi University academic and administrative staff can order their fresh farm produce each month on the web platform and pick their basket from the BU-KOOP shop located at the campus. The shop is managed by voluntary members twice a day with 25 minutes shifts.

One of the priorities of the cooperative is to establish a Participatory Certification model which can be seen as an alternative to mainstream organic certification which is far too expensive to obtain for small farmers. The cooperative is trying to establish links with small farmers organised through farmer cooperatives whose members use native seeds and avoid using chemicals as much as possible.

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