Paris is set to become home to the city’s first participative food cooperative, scheduled to open in early 2016. After a successful campaign to get investors and funding from local residents, La Louve, which is based off the model of New York’s Park Slope Food Coop, has signed a lease for a space on rue des Poissonniers in the 18th arondissement.
The lease signing marks an epic moment in the long history of La Louve, which began with two Americans in Paris, Tom Boothe and Brian Horihan. Inspired by the coop model that can be found around the United States, these 18th arrondissement transplants decided to bring the dynamic and collaborative American-style food coop to their adopted home. After two years of finding kindred spirits and motivated partners, the association Les Amis de La Louve was created and began to gather community support.
The energy and excitement around this project became exceedingly evident when the association’s Kiss Kiss Bank Bank campaign (the French version of Kickstarter) surpassed its 32,000 euro goal by over 10,000 euro, with 1,051 backers in total.
Part of the adament interest in this novel (for France) project is due to the team’s promise to ensure “the great quality of products selected with very high standards in terms of taste, nutrition, and freshness,” in addition to working with “farmers and producers engaged in environmentally responsible, ethical practices.”
Quality produce and short food supply chains are becoming more important to the Parisian consumer as the city experiences a renaissance of farm-to-table restaurants and a concentration on craft food and beverages.
What remains to be seen is whether the French will adapt to the “participative” element of this particular coop model, which requires members to work in exchange for the opportunity to shop at the coop and benefit from at cost prices that are negotiated with the various producers.
Paris is no stranger to food coops, with the Biocoop franchises being some of the most visible in the city. The city also has an abundance of bio food shops, but none of these organic outposts ask shoppers for time, in addition to money, in exchange for quality, artisanal goods.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait much longer to see what the future holds for the ambitious project. Regular updates on their Facebook page and a growing buzz among local press has made La Louve one of the most anticipated openings of 2016.
- Love getting involved in the community while going green? Find out how to get in on your local community garden.
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- If your preference is to shop fair trade and organic, check out Paris Info’s list of where to find responsibly produced food, textiles, and beauty products.