A food co-op at its simplest

Wholefoods don’t need to come from a health food shop, less still a supermarket. A ‘bulk buying club’ offers an alternative where a small number of people join together to take greater control over their food sourcing. Members can make big savings in return for a little volunteer labour, as well as reducing their packing waste.

Setting up this type of ‘no frills’ food co-op is fairly straightforward but actual examples tend to be pretty low-key and hidden from view. That’s why this site sets out to shed light on the basic model and share the experience of individuals who’ve operated these co-ops successfully over a number of years. So, if you’d like to see something similar in your locality, this site can be your route to support and advice on making it happen. You might even discover there’s a buying club near you already.

Close-up image of rolled oats

A taster: Dublin’s ‘invisible’ food co-op

It’s a Thursday afternoon and a pallet full of organic foodstuffs, plus a few personal care and household products, is dropped by truck to an obscure Dublin 1 backstreet. Fourteen households have combined their purchasing for the order and this is the day when a modest warehouse space becomes  the centre of their activity; group members work at splitting up the delivery, checking in, weighing out – a flow of volunteer shifts and pick-ups. Within five hours, all is gone, without a trace… until the next time.

This is Pop-Up Wholefoods – nonprofit and low-cost, DIY and democratic.

Cover image of PDF guideLike the idea? Start your own bulk buying club!

Grab our 2 page ‘basics’ briefing and more detailed ‘How To’ guide as free PDF downloads to see for yourself what’s involved.

Did you know that Dublin Food Co-op and the Urban Co-op in Limerick both began life as bulk buying clubs?