The team behind the organic and waste-free cooperative in St. Lawrence hopes that their new kitchen will “help make life in the sustainable lane a little more convenient".
The Sustainable Co-Operative (SCOOP) recently celebrated two years since its opening, so Express caught up with one of its co-founders, India Hamilton, to hear about their new waste-free, circular cooking approach...
“The kitchen has been something that we have wanted from day one,” India explains. “The kitchen makes the most of our surplus food and food just about to go out of date, as well as increasing our product range for our customers.”
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The kitchen, which has a new chef starting in the coming weeks, offers a range of deli foods, sandwich fillings and other products throughout the week. Tuesday, India says, is “plant milk day” and on Wednesdays they sell chutneys and jams.
On Fridays, they invite different local chefs to cook for their “pop-up” takeaway service.
“We are also working with a new baker called Rise Bakery who produces a local sourdough on a Saturday,” India says.
“As you can see, it’s jam packed, and we love it!”
The consumer cooperative now offers over 500 organic and agro-ecological products, as well as nearly 100 household hygiene products sourced for their sustainable credentials.
Have they seen a shift in islanders’ attitudes towards sustainable practices in recent years? “All ages have engaged with SCOOP,” India says, “but most commonly through the need for a reduction of single use plastic.
“Over time people are starting to engage with the other aspects of our approach. It’s incredible to see the increased awareness in sustainability and the environment, and we have huge respect for any business and individual big and small who are transitioning towards sustainable practices.”
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India says that more and more islanders are getting used to shopping at the cooperative, the idea of cooking from scratch and accepting that the product range can change from day to day.
“A lot of people comment on the smell of SCOOP, how it engages with that sense and how it reminds them of their childhood.”
How has the pandemic been for local growers? “Farm shops, honesty boxes and local biodiverse producers all got a taste of what life would be like if the local market did depend on a local food system through COVID,” India says.
“Busy farm shops, investments into the land and local people, an assurance that consumers would buy what was being grown so the confidence to plant - leading to a local diverse thriving food economy. I do hope that this is not lost.”
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