The Dublin Food Cooperative’s founding members met through the many anti-war and anti-nuclear demonstrations in the late 70s and early 80s.
Many had adopted a vegetarian lifestyle and were struggling to find access to food to that met their health, ecological and ethical standards.
They recognised that they could meet their common needs for setting up a bulk-buying co-operative, in which each family would pre-order and pre-pay, and participate in receiving and sub-dividing a monthly order from suppliers.
The Dublin Food Co-op slowly developed as a buying club, with membership rising each year and the co-ordinating group organising collections from different venues.
In 2007, the Co-op moved to new leased warehouse premises in Newmarket, Dublin 8 which allowed the Co-op over time to develop a 5 day a week Co-op Shop, a Co-op Cafe and its own market and event space.
The Co-op would host a range of popular markets in its space including the Dublin Flea Market during its time at Newmarket, as well as a range of organic farmers and other ethical producers.
Over time the Co-op began to focus on directly sourcing fruit and vegetables on behalf of its members, establishing strong relationships with a number of Irish organic producers.
The Co-op moved into its new premises in 2018 with the support of our members, Donore Credit Union and Community Finance Ireland. The Co-op was welcomed warmly by the local community, and the existing Co-op community found itself in good company. The Co-op has gone on to be a fixture of the Kilmainham/Inchicore community, with membership increasingly compromised of local residents while retaining many loyal members from Newmarket, Pearse Street and before.
After many years of focusing on navigating the challenges of operating at Newmarket, moving premises and getting established in a new shop, the Co-op is increasingly focused on its broader social, economic and environmental purposes and how it can best empower its membership to take collection action.
This has culminated in the latest innovation, the Community Development Programme, which provides training and capacity building to members and the wider community. The future of the Co-op is an exciting one, with lots of opportunities ahead for growing the services that we provide to our members, and increasing our social and environmental impact.
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