Our Story

Started by a group of activists and vegetarians wishing to meet their common needs for affordable, organic food in 1980’s Ireland, we are now a vibrant food democracy in the heart of Dublin City.

Our Founding

Dublin Food Co-op History

Our founding members met through the many any-war and anti-nuclear demonstrations in the late 70s and early 80s.

Many had adopted a vegetarian lifestyle and were struggling to find access to food to that met their health, ecological and ethical standards.

The recognised that they could meet their common needs for setting up a bulk-buying co-operative, in which each family would pre-order and pre-pay, and participate in receiving and sub-dividing a monthly order from suppliers.

The Dublin Food Co-op slowly developed as a buying club, with membership rising each year and the co-ordinating group organising collections from different venues.

For much of this period, the collections were operated from various locals across Temple Bar including Banana’s vegetarian restaurant.

Pearse Street

Dublin Food Co-op History

The success of the Co-op led the members to seek about a more stable venue to host their monthly collections, and the use of St. Andrew’s Resource Centre was secured.

It was on Pearse Street that many of the hallmarks of today’s co-op developed further, such as member volunteering, introduction of market traders and the decision to begin to stock products for sale rather than solely pre-order. The Co-op also gradually moved to a weekly operation.

It was during this time that the Co-op began to formalise, with the Dublin Food Co-operative Society Limited being incorporated in 1991 taking over the undertaking of the previous unincorporated co-operative association.

St. Andrew’s Resource Centre would become the home of the Co-op for two decades with current long-term members having joined at this time.

However, with the popularity of the Co-op growing, some members questioned the sustainability of remaining at St.Andrews and moves were made to secure its own premises.

Newmarket

DFC Newmarket Location

In 2007, the Co-op moved to new leased warehouse premises in Newmarket, Dublin 8 which allowed the Co-op over time to develop a 5 day a week Co-op Shop, a Co-op Cafe and its own market and event space.

The Co-op would host a range of popular markets in its space including the Dublin Flea Market during its time at Newmarket, as well as a range of organic farmers and other ethical producers.

Over time the Co-op began to focus on directly sourcing fruit and vegetables on behalf of its members, establishing strong relationships with a number of Irish organic producers.

The Co-op also began to pioneer offering more of its produce packaging free, which was a return to the practices of the early years of the Co-op.

Since opening at Newmarket, much of our members’ attention at General Meetings was focused on acquiring our own premises to better secure the long term future of the Co-op.

In 2017/18, due to the landlord’s plans to redevelop Newmarket, the Co-op began a journey which ended in members deciding to purchase our own premises in Kilmainham in 2018.

Newmarket remains an important and much treasured time in our history, and many of our existing members joined during our time there.

Kilmainham and Beyond

Dublin Food Co-op Shopfront

The Co-op moved into its new premises in 2018 with the support of our members, Donore Credit Union and Community Finance Ireland.

The Co-op was welcomed warmly by the local community, and the existing Co-op community found itself in good company.

The Co-op has gone on to be a fixture of the Kilmainham/Inchicore community, with our membership increasingly comprised of local residents while retaining many loyal members from Newmarket, Pearse Street and before.

After many years of focusing on navigating the challenges of operating at Newmarket, moving premises and getting established in a new shop, the Co-op is now increasingly focused on its broader social, economic and environmental purposes and how it can best empower its membership to take collective action.

This has culminated in the latest innovation, our Community Development Programme, which provides training and capacity building to members and the wider community.

The future of the Co-op is an exciting one, with lots of opportunities ahead for growing the services that we provide to our members, and increasing our social and environmental impact.

If you want to have an input into where we go from here, consider becoming a member of our food democracy today.

DFC Shop Staff

Becoming a Member

As a member, you gain access to our member benefits, which include member discounts, access to special orders, and can participate in our Co-op Community.

Through your membership of the Co-op, you will get access to an amazing community of people who share common values around food, the environment and building more resilient communities.

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