The opposite of panic buying

Following new measures against the Covid-19 virus, today’s news has been awash with more stories of shoppers feverishly emptying shelves of certain products. Often, I’ve heard this referred to as ‘bulk buying’, which is unfortunate because that term better describes something planned, considered and rational. Thus, bulk buying clubs are made up of people working together in their common interest to save money by buying collectively from a wholesaler. The process of putting a group order together is a co-operative act, more akin to a ‘slow food’ meal – the very opposite of anxious, impulse purchasing. Far better to describe what we’ve seen over recent days as ‘panic buying’ – anti-social and, ultimately, against all good sense.

About this site

This site aims to encourage and support the setting up of further bulk buying clubs and small food co-ops in Ireland by sharing the experience of individuals who have operated a ‘pop-up wholefoods’ model over a number of years.

Don’t let ‘bulk’ put you off

If you live in a small house or apartment with limited storage, the idea of buying food in bulk may simply sound impractical. However, it’s important to understand that with a bulk buying club, bulk ordering is a collective process which doesn’t necessary mean that individual members and households each have to commit to large quantities. Thus, a group may be ordering 25kg sacks of rice or lentils while making it possible for members to benefit from simply taking a modest share, say of 1 or 2kg. In this way, everyone can benefit from the lowest possible cost per kilo but no-one is compelled to take more food than they can use or comfortably store.

Continue reading “Don’t let ‘bulk’ put you off”

Permanently pop-up

Most people will be familiar with ‘pop-up shops’ offered on short term lets.  Dubliners may also remember Granby Park, a short-lived ‘pop-up’ public space on derelict land that was supported then taken away by the local authority, only for the site to return to disuse.

But if pop-up shops and pop-up parks come and go that’s because they express a passive, top-down idea of allocating space for temporary use until it can find a ‘higher’ (i.e. more profitable) purpose.

However, doing a pop-up activity is quite amenable to running on a permanent basis – or at least as long as those making it happen want to keep it going. Continue reading “Permanently pop-up”

Club, co-op or conspiracy?

This site uses the term ‘bulk buying club’ for a basic idea around food sourcing that has gone by several different names across different contexts and eras. Equally, the concept of a ‘buying club’ may have nothing at all to do with food, so you’ll find the idea of buying clubs for heating oil being promoted in Northern Ireland, with broadly the same goal of people co-ordinating their purchasing power to save money. The focus here, though, is on groups working together on bulk sourcing organic, wholesome food – whatever the name. Continue reading “Club, co-op or conspiracy?”