In focus: Common Ground

The coastal town of Bray in North Wicklow is home to an inspiring project that incorporates a bulk buying club (small-scale food co-op) as one of its many strands: Common Ground.

An online profile by Foodture provides an excellent introduction and we want to further highlight Common Ground here as model of how a bulk buying club can provide the foundations for operating a non-profit community space.

The project’s starting point, in 2013, was friends coming together to source organic wholefoods. However, the group had broader concerns and quickly took things beyond a ‘pop-up’ bulk buying club model by securing full-time premises where the rent could be substantially covered by the surplus generated from food orders. Thus, rather than being a stand-alone project, the food orders became an anchor point for realising a much wider vision – an independent space that could be made available for a wide range of community uses. In turn, the energies catalysed through the space led off in new directions like Edible Bray, a repair cafe and a co-housing initiative.

In the midst of this growth and change, Market Days on the last Saturday of each month have served as a consistent entry point for anyone looking to find out more about Common Ground and its offshoots. The afternoon events have also provided for the mechanics of food order collections.

In a world dominated by profit and commerce, alternative social spaces represent vital community assets. Bray’s Common Ground is a stellar example, built from a simple wholefoods group into a vibrant local hub promoting cooperation and sustainability.

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.