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. Through a ‘pop-up’ approach, you can make big savings in return for a little volunteer labour, as well as reducing your packing waste.

Starting this kind of small-scale 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 have operated these co-ops successfully over a number of years.

Close-up image of rolled oats

A taster…

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 guideGrab 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?

If you want to get a simple, ‘no frills’ food co-op going in your locality, this site could be your route to support and advice. You may even discover there’s an existing group near you.