S’atra Sardigna, history

First steps into the organic world


S’Atra Sardigna was born in 1982. From the very beginning, we’ve been dealing with sustainable production activities, using organic agriculture in a historical period in which conventional agriculture was dominating and the organic one represented an unexplored niche sector.

At its birth, S’Atra Sardigna was made of 13 young, unemployed partners, coming from the city. Some of them with a University degree, almost all of them with a High School diploma, everybody available to farm work – otherwise, how could you define shovelling manure, watering earthworms’ litters, producing organic fertilizer and selling it? The initial purpose was that of working the land to obtain healthy products, not using synthetic chemicals, following their fathers’ teaching, developed when agriculture would respect the environment, mankind and animals.

In the same year, the preliminary contract to purchase a social plot of land in Sestu, in the area called Magangiosa, was signed – you can still find there the company headquarters. Although small, that plot of land acted as glue for the partners, who, day by day, experienced difficulties in working, in doing business, in doing sums, in being together, always with new emergencies to cope with.

In 1985, the Cooperative attended a course on organic farming, visited some Sicilian companies which worked with integrated and organic pest management, organized meetings and conferences with Claude Aubert, Ivo Totti, Vincenzo Vacante, Giorgio Celli. In the same year in Autumn one of the biggest dream people who work the land can make, was fulfilled: to sell directly what they produced. The first small shop was opened to the public in via Giardini in Cagliari. There you could buy products previously ordered by phone, while twice a week a delivery service was available. In 1987 the very first store of organic products, called ‘Il Germoglio’ (‘The Bud’) was born.

The Cooperative realized the importance of cooperating with other production realities, either agricultural or not, sharing with S’Atra Sardigna their commitment in environmentally sustainable activities. This is the reason why in 1992 the Cooperative promoted the creation of Consorzio Ecosviluppo Sardegna, which, some years later, would develop several interesting activities about the communitarian programme Leader II.

First steps into the organic world


The years 1992 and especially 1993 marked the beginning of the export of organic products. Pecorino cheese and vegetables were sold in Germany, skipping the steps of national intermediation, directly reaching the German regional distributors in specialized stores.

In 1994 the sales volume registered a further increase of 50%, thanks to the growth in the foreign market, above all. The Cooperative, having proudly used public money for its investments, could have asked for communitarian contributions to organic, but decided not to: numbers should have relied on sales volume, first of all!

In 1997 the first lot of the new packaging plant was built, thanks to an investment of one billion Italian lira. After less than two years, the sales volume exceeded four billion lira. 1999 is the year of the opening of Emporio del Naturale in Cagliari, with its own butcher shop. That was a difficult challenge, since the new store would have worked in competition with the first one of the Cooperative, in Cagliari too, and considering that the organic promoted by S’Atra Sardigna was no longer an episodic reality in the local large-scale retail channel. That bet was won, anyway.

Let’s come to 2000. The Cooperative switched from second to third millennium confirming a fast-growing trend: two new stores Emporio del Naturale were opened in Olbia and Sassari. The product range of the Cooperative was rationalized and enlarged, and it became a specialist in the direct supply of organic shops in Italy. In 2000, for the first time the Cooperative sold its fresh products to the supermarket chain Esselunga. In 2001, after the BSE scandal, the whole national and European organic market boomed. Not to be outdone, the Cooperative registered an increase of almost 25% in its sales volume, and partners became about eighty.

A Producers’ Organization


Since 2003, S’Atra Sardigna has become a Producers’ Organization. New fruit and vegetables and livestock producers entered the Cooperative, reaching almost 90 partners. The internal technical and inspection office was strengthened. In 2004 a new line processing Camone tomatoes and, in 2005, a European prototypical machine processing vine tomatoes were put into operation. At the end of 2007, the total turnover touched 4 million euro. In the same year another store – the fourth – was opened in Quartu.

From 2002 to 2007, S’Atra Sardigna explored the foreign market more courageously, and enlarged its sales department. In 2010, the fifth store was opened in via dei Visconti in Cagliari, while the Emporio in vico Barone Rossi was renovated, becoming larger and more functional. Meanwhile, the sales volume exceeded 5 milion euro and the producer members were over 100.

In 2011, with its 6 stores, the Cooperative firmly opted for dealing with the restaurant business, in line with the idea of agriculture, rural development and nutrition which has always characterized its activities: to produce while protecting the environment as well as the consumers’ health. ‘Gustobio’, the first Organic Restaurant in Sardinia was born to rediscover the taste of the organic products of the land, the culture and the identity characterizing the producers through simple combinations and genuine raw materials, able to exalt taste and proper diet together.

In 2011, the Sales Net Italia was established, with more than ten national commercial agents, to sell the products processed by S’Atra Sardigna in the rest of Italy.

From 2013 to 2018, the fruit and vegetable sector was developed, touching a turnover of 2 million 800 thousand euro.
The sector of sheep milk cheese, which allowed S’Atra Sardigna to be recognized as Producers’ Organization, is the second area in order of sales volume (1 million euro). In 2018, the overall turnover of S’Atra Sardigna was 9 million euro.

Promoting the Cooperation


Throughout its lifetime, the Cooperative has been committed to strongly promoting and organizing opportunities of aggregation and cooperation: Consorzio Ecosviluppo Sardegna (1992), Associazione regionale di agricoltura biologica (from 1989), which is now ASAB Sardegna (Sardinian Association of Organic Agriculture), the most representative in the island. S’Atra Sardigna is also engaged at national level to promote Consorzio garanzia BIO and the UPBIO-Federbio, the Union of organic producers. Since 2012 it has been one of the founder partners of the first AOP (Association of Producers’ Organizations) BIA, grouping 5 fruit and vegetable production realities in the south of Italy.

In 37 years, the Cooperative has been renewed, but its job and commitment philosophy has not changed. A social and ethical heritage, more than economic, which is the premise to build s’atra Sardigna, that is, ‘the other Sardinia’. Throughout its 37 years, the Cooperative invested almost 5 million euro, half charged to the public and half to the Cooperative. This allowed to build ex-novo 35 direct jobs and over 300 at the producer members.
It is a proud for all the organic consumers in Sardinia and for all people who have believed in S’Atra Sardigna!