Veggies: Farm Fresh, City Convenient

Copenhagen’s co-op brings produce from country to city.

Foto: Megan Routh

First conceived by founder Morten Dall in late 2007, Københavns Fødevarefælleskab, a member-driven vegetable co-op,  was launched as an alternative to profit-driven supermarkets.

The organization’s focus on seasonality and freshness also make it an attractive alternative to the city’s chain supermarkets, where sometimes the fruit and veggie bins appear more like produce last-chance shelters where the lettuce and apples stare back at you looking sad and defeated, knowing its only a matter of time before they are sent to the big vegetable patch in the sky.

With KBHFF, fruits and vegetables (usually still coated with layer of soil) are locally sourced from neighboring farms, and are seasonally fresh, an enticing rarity to hungry urbanites.

“You can really feel where the vegetables come from. It’s nice as a city-dweller to get a bit of soil under the nails,” explains member Suzanne H.

Københavns Fødevarefælleskab began with a mission of making healthy, organic vegetables affordable for all people. Today, this idea is still their focus, with weekly bags weighing in between 6-8 kilos, but costing only 100 DKK. The organization is run as a cooperative effort between both parties, where those involved are not only customers, but workers, co-owners and all around invested members of the community. Along with the title of “co-owners” comes the ability to be involved in any changes or developments that take place within KBHFF.

Despite it’s “members only” status, KBHFF is anything but exclusive, and joining is simple. All members pay a one-time 100 DKK registration fee, and a subsequent 100 DKK for each bag they want to purchase. Bags must be purchased by the Wednesday preceding the pick up date, that is, you order a week in advance. After KBHFF receives the customer orders, they contact local farmers, and secure the veggies for the week. This pre-pay method is used in order to ensure that what is ordered is eventually eaten and that there is no surplus or waste.

If you didn’t purchase the week’s bag, you’re not doomed to a week of frozen pizzas and fast food, as loose vegetables are sold (either by piece or by weight) at all the pick-up areas on Wednesdays. Any profit gained by the co-op goes to reduce the price of the vegetables or aid with a number of community-improvement projects.

In return for the good food at a low cost, members are expected to contribute three hours of volunteer time a month, completing various activities such as packing vegetables, cleaning up and helping with sales during Wednesdays.

In true back-to-nature, organic style, online payments cannot be made, and instead, those interested in membership or the week’s bag must drop by their local venue to complete payment. Anyone can access KBHFF’s website for more information, current happenings, photographs and recipes.

Københavns Fødevarefælleskab is located at the following addresses:

KBHFF Nørrebro
Korsgade 19
2200 København N
Open 10.00 to 20.00 (Vegetable pick-up only between 16.00 and 19.00)

KBHFF Amager
Amager Fælled Skole Sundholmsvej 2a
2300 København S
Open Wednesdays 16.00 to 19.00

KBHFF Vesterbro
Børneuniversitetet Valdemarsgade 14
1665 København V.
Open Wednesdays 17.00 to 19.00

KBHFF Nordvest
Karens Hus Bispebjerg Bakke 8
2400 København NV
Open Wednesdays 16.00 to 19.00

KBHFF Vanløse
Børglumvej 43 (on the corner of Herlufsholmsvej / Ålekistevej).
Open Wednesdays 16.00 to 19.00

KBHFF Frederiksberg
Allégade 7-9
2000 Frederiksberg
Open Wednesdays 16.00 to 19.00

KBHFF Østerbro
Odensegade 6
2100 København Ø
Open Wednesdays 16.00 to 19.00

KBHFF Indre By
Skindergade 12
1159 København K
Open Wednesdays 16:00 to 19:00.

KBHFF Ydre Nørrebro
Odinsgade 4, st. tv.
2200 København N
Open Wednesdays 17.00 to 19.00

KBHFF Gentofte
Smakkegårdsvej 71
2920 Gentofte
Open Wednesdays 16.00 to 19.00

What: Fresh, organic vegetables from a member-owned co-op
Where: All over the city (see above list)
When: Wednesdays (see specific location for times)