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Finnish farmer Thomas Snellman explains how Reko Circles work at the Expo Champs-Bio at la Ferme aux Petits Oignons, September 1, 2019. The red dots on the map of the Scandinavian countries indicate the location of Reko circles.

By Elizabeth Henderson

From Finland, where organic farms and customers are far apart and neither CSA nor farmers’ markets ever caught on, comes Reko Circles, a system that may come in handy during this Covid-19 crisis!  This is how it works.  A farmer, or group of farmers, set up a closed Facebook page where you list the products you have available for the week with prices and photos.  You invite regular customers to place their orders with a set deadline.  Then you meet with them in an agreed upon place – a parking lot, a park, any convenient place with enough room for your vehicle and theirs.  In a short timespan, the customers pay you, take their prepacked order and depart. You could even set it up so that customer arrivals are staggered so as not to convene too many people at the same time.

Here is a video where Finnish farmer Thomas Snellman describes the Reko system that has grown in just a few years from two small circles to millions of dollars’ worth of sales from Finnish farms.  His explanation starts at 6.15, though you might want to watch from the beginning to get a sense of who Snellman is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETHa7MPEl1A&feature=youtu.be

This long quote from a Finnish Facebook page gives you a good picture of how Reko Circles function:

What is REKO?

Reko stands for ‘Fair Consumption’ and is a trade model originally created in Finland. In short, it is a Facebook-based pre-ordering system for local products. Imagine being able to shop a variety of fresh, local and ethical produce from the comfort of your own home without having to deal with the messy hustle and bustle of stores or markets, whilst supporting small-scale producers in your community? All of this is possible! Simply join our Lahinch REKO Ring group on Facebook and place your order by commenting on the producer’s post. From here, you will be able buy directly from the producers and ask what you want to know about what you’re buying. Delivery takes place in LAHINCH TOP CARK PARK (School Rd) 18:00 – 18:30. Producers must deliver in person and customers must collect during this time. More INFO about the model and benefits on: https://www.moyhillfarm.com/what-is-reko ____ 🥕

GUIDELINES: – Only approved producers may post an advert. Email Moy Hill Farm to apply for becoming a producer. – Producers may only sell what themselves have produced. – The page only shows posts about the next sale, all previous posts are erased for more clarity. – Only sales adverts are permitted. No conversational posts (We have to be restrictive to keep the focus on sales). – Customers must avoid asking questions in the comment section, but are welcome to contact the producer directly. -Customers must place order before ordering cut-off specific to each producer. – Admins have the right to remove members who do not comply with REKO guidelines. 🥕

Become a CONSUMER – Producers will post what they will be selling for the week such as eggs, milk and veg. Different producers will have different goods to offer. – Consumers can order the produce by commenting on the post, for example, “5 eggs and 4 bunches of carrots”, please specify quantity. – The producer will confirm your order on the comment section. – Once all of the produce for the week is claimed, the producer will edit their post to note if they are sold out for the week. – On Wednesdays, consumers will meet producers at the designated spot at the designated time to pay in cash and collect their goods. 🥕

Become a PRODUCER: – Posts must describe clearly: product, price, quantity. The post should include brief information about the farm/processes – Only 1 post per producer – Before your meetup, write down the orders from your comments and prepare the goods to bring to the designated meeting point – No sale on the day; only sales of pre-ordered goods. If you are a producer interested in selling through this REKO Circle, please send us a private message or email on reko@moyhillfarm.com