Small farmers in Central Greece are struggling to stay in business. Origin Club is crowdfunding to help them out.
Here is their press release…
Origin Club is a simple and scalable way to help change how we grow, buy and sell food across Europe. It is the first startup venture of Transform Evia, a cross-disciplinary initiative to inspire the regeneration of people and place in a bioregion of Evia, the second largest island in Greece. Transform Evia’s co-founder Marcus Letts and a team of talented Greek food entrepreneurs will launch Origin Club via a 28 day crowdfunding campaign that will directly support small farmers in their pilot region of Central Greece.
The scheme works by sourcing local produce and selling it online using social media and email marketing, initially targeting ethical consumers in the UK. Once operational costs have been covered, Origin Club will reinvest all profits back into the regional communities which make Origin Club possible. Following its application in their target region of Central Greece, Origin Club plans to make all technology, strategies and trainings accessible to small producers across Greece.
“We created Origin Club to support small farmers in rural Greece who’re struggling to stay in business. We have chosen Central Greece and the UK to launch our pilot campaign and aim to ship our first order of Origin Boxes in time for Christmas this year.” – Dimitris Kitsikopoulos, local food entrepreneur and Origin Club co-founder.
At the heart of this big idea is the simple belief that when applying principles of transparency and democracy, ordinary people can work together to create a more innovative and sustainable food system. Europe’s highest quality food is often grown by single-origin, organic farmers on a small scale. However, there’s a problem. Small scale production isn’t a good fit for big retail chains, which means that this produce isn’t available in the supermarkets. Unable to sell to the retail giants or access European markets by any other available channel, local farming communities across Europe face a daily struggle for survival. This is a pattern which consumers unknowingly perpetuate when they shop in the supermarkets.
“We want to create systems that ensure that the food we buy is organically grown, ethically sourced, fairly priced and efficiently distributed. We want to support small local organic farmers by helping them sell and distribute their products online. That’s why we’ve created Origin Club.” – Irene Psifidi, Origin Club co-founder.
The crowdfunding campaign began on Tuesday 4th October and is set to raise at least £10,000 within 28 days. Funds will be used to directly support local farmers by buying their products as rewards for campaign backers, with all profits reinvested in research and development. Initial consultation will be undertaken in collaboration with established local and global partners relating to key issues of authentication, marketing and distribution. Longer term, Origin Club’s purpose is to engage a core audience of ethical consumers with whom they can test with new products before scaling supply of the most popular items through a variety of complementary channels, from e-commerce to wholesale, monthly delivery services to local buying groups. Origin Club’s supporters will be rewarded for their pledges with a limited edition range of Christmas hampers, as well as invitations to a networking event in Athens and participation in a 5 day Origin Club retreat on the island of Evia.
Co-founder Marcus Letts said, ‘We’ve already attracted the project’s founding contributors and support from local food entrepreneurs and farmers networks. Now we need backing from a wider stakeholder community both locally and across the EU, including social investors, co-producers and, of course, ethical and hungry customers in the UK.”
Origin Club is expected to scale its operations via a Community Share Issue in early summer 2017 once a thorough consultation with local and global partners has been completed.