The New Leaf Co-op is Edinburgh’s hands-on wholefood store. With a focus on products that are fresh, local, Organic, low packaging, and at a reasonable price; this is a jam-packed wee shop! They’re also a workers’ co-operative, and this is fundamental to the way they run their business and connect with the world at large. During Co-ops Fortnight, what better time to find out more about New Leaf!
For people who don’t know the New Leaf, tell us a little about how you started and what you are?
The New Leaf Co-op first opened its doors in October 2012. Our group of five founding members crowd-funded our start-up funds, receiving an amazing response from supportive friends, family, and community members. We’ve been growing and developing ever since. Members have come and gone, leaving their mark. We’ve learned what our customers want and need from our shop and got to know them, and we’ve put in place lots of systems to sustain a supportive co-operative environment.
One of our most popular offerings is our wide range of scoop/pour-your-own products. We have over 250 items available to refill, including loose herbs, spices, teas, pulses, pasta, cereals, dried fruits, nuts, baking ingredients, and a whole host of refillable cleaning products for body and home. We’re passionate about supporting local growers, producers, and makers. Creating resilient local food systems is an essential part of addressing many interlinked issues that exist in our society: food security and sovereignty, the climate crisis, poverty, and community connection.
As we publish this blog, Coop Fortnight is underway. Why do we need to shout about Coops?
Co-operatives are an incredibly resilient, sustainable structure – for workers, creators, communities, and individuals – and not many people know about them. A co-op can take many forms, but for us it’s about creating an equitable, compassionate, inclusive workplace that allows the needs of the workers and community to be put first. A co-operative structure can challenge some of the capitalist ideals that are seen as normal in our society, despite being harmful to both people and the environment. Being part of a co-op is to be part of a person-centred approach; a commitment to challenging hierarchies where they arise. No systems are perfect, but we truly see co-ops as the best option for workers and the creation of sustainable businesses.