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 save money and reduce packing waste in return for a little volunteer labour.

Setting up this type of ‘no frills’ food co-op isn’t difficult, but such groups are mostly hidden from public view. This site sets out to shed light on the basic model. If you’d like to see something similar in your locality, there’s 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: Pop-Up Wholefoods, Dublin 1

It’s a Thursday afternoon and a pallet full of organic foodstuffs, with a few added personal care and household products, is dropped by truck to an obscure city 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 a ‘pop-up co-op’ in action – 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?