“Gaia” is a co-operative founded in Chania, Crete, back in the summer of 1996. The founding members consisted of a small group of organic farmers, agronomists, ecology enthusiasts, and healthy nutrition proponents. They were all keen on stimulating ecological farming, but they admitted that, for this to happen, an entity had to be established first, to serve as a springboard for the development of organic agriculture, but also as an outlet where consumers could buy products of guaranteed quality, free of chemicals. As a result, the producers-consumers’ co-operative “gaia” was spawned, the first ever co-operative in Greece that brought together producers and consumers.
The endeavor was initially met with skepticism by local people, but the founding members were determined to “turn the tables”. They engaged in systematic efforts, which included, among others, training sessions, informative visits to schools, and interviews on the city's radio and TV stations, eventually convincing the local society about the merits of organic products, healthy eating, and respect for the environment.
Today, the co-operative owns two stores in the city of Chania, and its 220 members, along with their fellow citizens, enjoy the benefits of obtaining certified organic products, in wide assortments and top quality.