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Sri Lanka: Good Market – Organic, Sustainable and Local

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

Sri Lanka is a small country and for a long time the people had other worries than where to buy organic products. But the Good Market project in Colombo shows that there is growing demand for organic food, natural cosmetics and sustainably manufactured products. Two years ago, the American Dr. Amanda Kiessel founded a small weekly market in the capital selling regional organic products and sustainable goods. A second market and a shop soon followed. All three outlets are thriving: the number of vendors and customers is increasing all the time.

Picture: The Good Market team is dedicated to the work and to their customers

Amanda, her partner Steve Francone and the board members of the social business organisation Good Market are convinced that we can create the world in which we live and make it better by taking well considered decisions. On their website, they say Good Market has set itself the task of making it easier “to do good” and making choices that benefit our health and our planet. Good Market offers its services as a marketing platform where organic farmers and the manufacturers of sustainable, environmentally friendly, fair trade products and natural cosmetics, etc. can make their goods available to consumers. Suppliers can apply to offer their products at the weekly markets (held on Thursday and Saturday) or to be sold in the shop. If they fulfil the Good Market criteria, there’s nothing to stop them joining the organisation. Since the first market was launched in 2013, the number of vendors selling their goods in the markets and shop has risen from around 30 to 160.

Picture: About 160 vendors are at the Good Market Farmers´market two times a week

Good Market Farmers' Market
The founders of Good Market

Who is behind the idea of Good Market? First and foremost Amanda Kiessel. She comes from Michigan / USA and has lived and worked in Asia since 1999. A biologist and agricultural ecologist specialising in sustainable food systems, she came to Sri Lanka in 2003 to carry out an evaluation programme for organic tea. She intended to stay for eight months but didn’t go back. A lot has happened since then: together with her partner Steve Francone – a financial expert from Arizona - Amanda created the organisation Seva Organic Seeds and the Sevalanka Foundation. Seeds Seva is devoted to preserving the traditionally very high degree of biodiversity and what it is based on, namely seeds. Some of the herb seeds have USDA organic certification and are also sold in the USA. The Sevalanka Foundation is an organisation tasked with rural development and training and further training the population (micro-credit, seminars on organic farming, etc.).

Picture: Amanda Kiessel is the  driving power behind Good Market and other initiatives.

High level of transparency guarantees success

All vendors have to meet the criteria prescribed by the Good Market organisation. New applications are scrutinised and selected by a committee that meets every week. When successful applicants receive confirmation, it means they can take part in all Good Market advertising campaigns. By implementing this system of standards, that is described in detail on the website, the markets and the shop enjoy a high level of trust and a good reputation. The company is a social enterprise, with all profits flowing into the social and environmental activities of the organisation.

The Good Market shop is located in a prosperous district of Colombo. You find the roughly 80 m2 shop with a little restaurant in the courtyard of a renovated historic building complex that offers the possibility of using the courtyard itself for customers to be served in the open air. In the middle of bustling Colombo it’s a place to relax, linger for a while and enjoy eating and drinking. The shop has a good assortment and sells not only food items (dry goods and fresh produce) but also a wide selection of takeaway bakery goods, environmentally friendly detergents and cleaners, natural toiletries, sustainable products like shopping bags made from recycled saris and potting compost from coconut shells. Amanda and Steve are delighted that the shop and the markets have become so popular in such a short time. The customers are not only the well-off wives of ambassadors and foreign businessmen but also local families who value fresh and healthy food and who, at the same time, want to support this very positive venture.

Picture: Not only wealty clients are buying in Good Market

Good Market Shop and Restaurant
Good Market Bistro "Brown Café"
Fresh local produce
Natural cosmetics

Seva Lanka overlaps with the Good Market concept. The network is also involved in many other activities like Ayurvedic medicine, eco-tourism, renewable energy and green technologies. The aim is to develop Sri Lanka as an international model of sustainability. This includes making organics available not only for the affluent class but for everyone in society.
This approach is characterised by creating the conditions and the knowhow for people to grow organically in their own gardens or on their own land, promoting direct marketing and setting up a wide network that enables people to benefit from dissemination of knowledge and mutual help. Two other principles are regionality and the transparency of products: Where do they come from? Who has grown them?

Pictures: The shop is a social business and focusses on transparency and regional marketing

High level of transparency guarantees success

All vendors have to meet the criteria prescribed by the Good Market organisation. New applications are scrutinised and selected by a committee that meets every week.When successful applicants receive confirmation, it means they can take part in all Good Market advertising campaigns. By implementing this system of standards, that is described in detail on the website, the markets and the shop enjoy a high level of trust and a good reputation. The company is a social enterprise, with all profits flowing into the social and environmental activities of the organisation.


The Good Market shop is located in a prosperous district of Colombo. You find the roughly 80 m2 shop with a little restaurant in the courtyard of a renovated historic building complex that offers the possibility of using the courtyard itself for customers to be served in the open air. In the middle of bustling Colombo it’s a place to relax, linger for a while and enjoy eating and drinking.

 

The shop has a good assortment and sells not only food items (dry goods and fresh produce) but also a wide selection of takeaway bakery goods, environmentally friendly detergents and cleaners, natural toiletries, sustainable products like shopping bags made from recycled saris and potting compost from coconut shells. Amanda and Steve are delighted that the shop and the markets have become so popular in such a short time. The customers are not only the well-off wives of ambassadors and foreign businessmen but also local families who value fresh and healthy food and who, at the same time, want to support this very positive venture.


Stichworte:

Fairtrade

Asia

Regional Marketing

Specialised Food Retail Trade


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