A Cooperative Movement for Everyone

Cooperatives by their definition and purpose seek the best benefit for their members, staff and owners. It’s all the better when these intentions are extended to the well-being of the wider community and the planet.

These shared ideals are woven into the fabric of the Shi Jian Yun Shu (Sustainable Food) Consumers’ Cooperative in Hualien on the Eastern coast of Taiwan http://coop.tcu.edu.tw/#

Chiu Yie-Ru, an Associate Professor at Center for General Education, Tzu Chi University in Hualien, has created tangible ways to share his vision for a better world. Since 2009 he’s taught Design Thinking, Permaculture, and System Thinking in several courses. Inspired by Prout’s vision and values, Chiu also catalyzed a team of colleagues and their students to form the Coop. Preceded by two years of preparation and student advocacy the Coop was registered in May 2019. A successful grant application provided the funding for that initial work as well as the required start-up capital.

At the time of this writing (early October 2020) the cooperative had 250 members, with more joining each week. Though mostly university students and staff, members also include doctors, nurses and other workers from the neighbouring hospital. The Coop’s ethics include buying local, natural and preferably organic products, reducing the use of plastic and unnecessary packaging, and modeling viable alternatives to the current social and economic mainstream. Business is conducted mainly at an on-campus store as well as through a new e-commerce platform.

Read more