Hrankoop is Bulgaria’s first food cooperative set up by a group of people seeking pure food. The group focuses their activities on direct contact and dialogue with producers of locally produced organic food. Skipping the speculative network of resellers, they directly encourage local manufacturers. The network organises weekly farmers markets all over the country, and workshops on professionalizing your own produce business.
Food cooperatives are known in Bulgaria as Community Supported Agriculture, and is explained as a method of production and supply of locally produced food building strong, stable and mutually beneficial partnerships between the community, the manufacturers and retailers. Relying mainly on voluntary efforts, all members of the community, farmers and households are given the opportunity to grow and provide food themselves.
Hrankoop Sofia was set up by several people united by their belief in collectively and directly buying quality produce from local farmers whom they personally know and trust. The initial incentive was given by the Environmental Earth Association in 2010, an organisation which promotes food cooperatives as a new form of support for small farmers from consumers. The network is built on trust and if you want to become a member, you need a recommendation from a current member of the group. Outsiders wishing to join the cooperative are given the opportunity to meet members of the cooperative every Saturday at the local farmers market.
The cooperative does not intend to squeeze local producers and make them sell their produce at lower prices. On the contrary: famers are free to determine the price at which they want to sell, which is mostly real market value. Hrankoop tries to assist members of the cooperative in the selection of clean products, and works along their principles of appreciating the true value of good quality, sensibly grown food and a social system of mutual assistance.