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You are here: Home » News » Our Coffee Co-operative, Reddish Vale



Co-operative solidarity: Our Coffee Co-operative

The Oromo coffee sold by Our Coffee Co-operative

Our Coffee Co-operative at Reddish Vale Technology College, a co-operative school in Stockport, sells Oromo coffee in school and to the local community, helping both Ethiopian refugees in the UK and the Oromo community in Ethiopia.

Members have established a working relationship with the Oromos and, in line with the co-operative principle of co-operation between co-operatives, help to improve their lives through community to community trading.

Our Coffee Co-operative is an example of how Young Co-operatives can foster international understanding and make a positive difference in the world through shared co-operative actions. The Oromo community uses the profits from coffee for improvements such as water standpipes, health programmes, clinic building, education, new schools, road improvement and a new bridge over the river.

Members of Our Coffee Co-operative work as a team to promote, sell and decide actions democratically together, as well as overcome difficulties co-operatively. Members are encouraged to think about the global issues involved and how to improve on the idea of Fairtrade. As well as being sold in school reception, the coffee is available for purchase at open evenings, community events and in tutor time. Profits have been put towards exploring African culture in school and democratic working.

Students aim to change the norms of thinking and learning in school, and help raise consumers’ understanding by challenging not just the impact of individual behaviours, but institutional decisions. Ethical trading has been promoted to the wider community, asking people to think about the consequences of their actions as consumers. Workshops have also been held for other schools on learning through direct, practical action and values-led ethical trading.

Phil Arnold, Director of College Improvement at Reddish Vale, said: “Students directly engage with promotion of social justice in the Reddish community through direct action. The alternative co-operative approach grows learners’ understanding and knowledge of the impact of their decisions in the real world not a simulated business environment.”

Watch a video of students from the school talking about why they set up Our Coffee Co-operative in a previous news entry on the Young Co-operatives website here, and read more about Oromo coffee here.

A video of the coffee being sold at Reddish Vale:

Further videos: