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Agri-Coop (branded as I Frutti del Sole)

Agri-coopAgricoop is one of our European fruit & veg suppliers, best known for their citrus fruits (including blood oranges), tomatoes, peppers – as well as olive oil and other ambient goods. Supply tends to be between November and May, through the citrus season. You might recognise their I Frutti del Sole (‘fruit of the sun’) boxes that we have our fruit & veg in. This is Agricoop’s brand.

Agricoop was founded in 1992 in Marsala, Sicily, by an organic fruit grower called Filippo, and became a co-operative in 1994; the first organic co-operative in Sicily. There are now 52 grower-members in the co-operative, all over Sicily, with the majority based near Marsala on the west coast. The total area of land covered by the co-op is c.450 hectares (c.1, 100 acres), with members’ farms ranging from 1-2 hectares to c.20 hectares (c.50 acres).

Agricoop and Unicorn have a shared outlook, in terms of food production, co-operative trade and social aims. It’s a great trading relationship to have. One of the biggest differences about Agricoop is that, because it’s a grower co-operative, trade is more direct. We know that for every €1 we spend on oranges (for example) around 60 cents goes to the grower – bearing in mind around 35 cents goes to transport & packaging, this is a high proportion finding its way back to the growers.Agri-coop

Future Plans for Agricoop include solar panels and a mini wind turbine to power their packhouse, and researching rainwater harvesting. Water, they predict, will become an increasingly important consideration for food production in Sicily. Agricoop have also launched what they are calling their ‘social project’. This is a collaboration between Agricoop and a based Marsala charity called Communita Faro – who help rehabilitate ex-offenders (particularly drug users) as an alternative to a prison sentence – to start a new veg production site on 20 acres as a way to provide more veg for the co-operative and to help ex-offenders gain working skills. As Filippo at Agricoop said, it’s a way ‘to put something put back into society’.

 


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Recommended Products

 

Araku Valley Coffee - Smooth, delicious, organic and Fairtrade coffee, grown within a model which helps to secure livelihoods, restore degraded land and support local Adivasi communities.


Sonett - A wide range of truly effective and eco-friendly cleaning products. All ingredients are biodegradable and non-allergenic, and many plant sources are organically grown.
 

Glebelands City Growers - Based in Sale, our most local grower and a fellow workers’ co-operative provides us with beautiful organic fresh vegetables, salad leaves and seedlings. Their new site in Stockport will enable them to increase supply all year round.  

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