Pour Tous Distribution Center

Basic Necessities Supplied In-Kind

Located adjacent to the Solar Kitchen, Pour Tous Distribution Centre – one of the “Prosperity Services”  and a successful experiment of Auroville based on the Mother's guiding principles – acts as a distribution centre for a wide range of food items, ready-made meals to take away and other goods supplied in kind (without any direct exchange of money, based on cooperative participation) to Aurovilians, Newcomers and volunteers.

Here we do not have price tags. At the checkout, no bill is issued, but is based on the principle of "you pay what you can and you take what you need". Consumption is tracked but overall the accounts balance with some members contributing a little less than how much they consume and others vice versa. It is completely transparent and nudges individuals only if they regularly overconsume.


Operating since March 2006, the scheme has been a step towards the economy Mother wished for Auroville. The ideal Auroville economic model, they said, is not to turn Auroville into a market economy and make a business of everything but one in which the material needs of all would be provided for without money circulation.

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How Does it Work?

Auroville residents who are registered as members can obtain food and sundry items from the Pour Tous Distribution Centre. The available products are selected based on criteria such as demand, quality, costs and environmental impact. Special items not in stock can be ordered. The scheme also includes bread from the Auroville bakery; milk from Auroville dairies; gas bottles; and lunches and dinners from select Auroville kitchens and restaurants. Participants are not billed, although individual consumption patterns are tracked. People are made aware if they regularly ‘over-consume' and a common understanding is then reached on how to solve the problem in a humane way.

Many participants experience great joy in sharing and giving. Some make donations of home-made food or bring excess produce from their gardens. A common experience is that it no longer matters that there is only a limited choice of products. Participants often say that it feels quite liberating that one can obtain whatever is needed without having to worry about paying. 

PTDC purchases whatever Auroville's farms supply, which includes jams and nut butters and also buys the reasonably priced products from Auroville's food-processing units. The income and expenditure of the scheme is in balance. 

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