In Sieben Linden we visited the other cooperative I’m involved with, Raw Living Germany. Raw Living has long been established in England for more than 13 years now. The manager of it, Chris Wood, is a friend and for quite some time he has been looking for someone to build up Raw Living Germany, for he didn’t have the time do it himself. Two and a half years ago the time was right and me and 3 other Sieben Linden residents excited about raw food decided to go for it. Soon afterwards one dropped out and only two of us carried the main work load for the first two years. Today, Raw Living provides an income for 9 people from Sieben Linden and the neighboring village. For Sieben Linden this is a great chance to get money into the local economy from outside.
The raw food movement in Germany has long been dominated by grumpy old men (warning: exaggeration!). For the last 5 years or so there has been a change and the gourmet raw movement swapped over from the U.S. and U.K. and created more and more interest.
It was a once in a lifetime chance for us – Chris literally gave us a fully developed company. All we had to do was to translate the website into german. From the start, we could use every product (we started with about 150) and the work that went into it and its development from the english company (Today we have more than 500 products in stock). With the internet marketing and distribution of food and all other goods became very easy, regardless where you are situated. Of course, you need access to the internet and a room to store and box the products.
It is open to debate, whether people in Europe really need “Superfoods” from all over the world. We all prefer to eat as locally as possible. Questions, that remain: Are our european soils healthy enough to provide healthy food after decades of conventional abusive agriculture? Shouldn’t we, in a globalised world, support organic and fair producers in other parts of the world? Shouldn’t everyone get the best of both (all) worlds? Long distance trading and exchange of goods has always been part of human civilisation (we dont sell food that has been transported by plane).
We at Raw Living have high environmental and social standards. Where ever possible, we look for organic and fair trade. Also searching for and using the most environmental friendly packaging is a main objective. We started with very little money and therefor had to make compromises. But as the business and the income is growing, the opportunies for ethical solutions grow with it. There are even friends of us, who had set up Raw Living in Netherlands just recentliy. Every company is and will be independent, but connected with the others by personal relationships. This will have positive impacts on every one of us. Raw Living becomes more and more a europe-wide cooperative and community.
Of course, Raw Living operates in a capitalist environment and has to be in the black in order to survive. But we are a cooperative and free to say no to inhumane neocon bullshit and to stay human.