“It’s not just a store; it’s an association and a point of reference,” says Lourdes Martin of Otarra Bioelkartea – who has been a part of the association for 16 years. “People come here to share things – and not just the ecological food.”
A community based in Martutene, Donostia-San Sebastian, Otarra Bioelkartea offers its members a complete experience of buying sustainable products to sharing in common interests.
Becoming a member only costs 60euro the first year and 45euro the following years after that.
But being a member means more than just paying – it’s a shared experience creating a community within the association.
“People come to collaborate three hours a year,” says Martin. “They come more or less when they can to the store – they clean to restock items on the shelves. And there are the events (and) talks and to be honest, there’s a lot to do around the association.”
It’s a way for the members to become more involved, to get to know one another. Martin says it really works out very well.
The association – having been around for 21 years – also offers events, talks, and workshops for its members and nonmembers alike. The talks are usually free while the events and workshops require a small fee be paid.
Every month is unique – the events change and so do the days and location of where they’re held. The talks range from various subjects from Raw Food (coming up March 29, 2014) to 3D Printing.
From time to time, members even share from their own backgrounds offering: yoga, Thai chi, and homeopathy services for other members of Otarra.
And as for the food: “We always have the same stock of dry foods year round. It’s sustainable, but the dry goods aren’t local,” says Martin. “It’s really hard to come by… We do, however, get our rice from Navarra: Integral rice, white rice, and semi-integral rice. It’s high quality, but a small factory. Besides that we get all our other products from around Spain: Cataluña and from the south.”