This page lists useful guides for anyone interested in setting up a bulk buying club or small food co-op.

Free downloads

Starting and Sustaining a Bulk Buying Club – A ‘How To’ Guide – a free PDF booklet put together by members of Pop-Up Wholefoods, covering both principles and practicalities, and with a specific focus on running a small food co-op in Ireland. If you haven’t already done so, make your first stop our snappy 2 page ‘basics’ briefing.

Food Co-ops Toolkit: a simple guide to setting up food co-ops – a handbook to support small scale co-ops, with plenty of relevance for buying clubs. Available for download from Sustain in the UK (free but donation requested).

Bulk Buying Club Toolkit – A Guide to Starting a Neighborhood Bulk Buying Club – a useful PDF handbook from New Mexico, USA.

Deciding Whether to Organize a Food Buying Club – a checklist-style document from the US, developed by a university extension service in 1983 and still very relevant.

You’ll find other bulk buying club guides through online search but should be aware that several are linked to the marketing of software packages.

Close-up image of shelled whole almonds

Available to borrow via

Two older but still excellent books from the USA are long out-of-print but accessible online with a free account:

Food Co-ops for Small Groups – Tony Vellela, 1975 (ISBN 978-0911104554).

The Food Co-op Handbook: How to Bypass Supermarkets to Control the Quality and Price of Your Food – The Co-op Handbook Collective, 1975 (ISBN: 978-0395215982).

These may also be available to pick up second-hand through Biblio, a great alternative to Amazon/Abebooks that directly supports independent bookstores.

General resources

For excellent support materials on consensus decision making and other highly accessible briefings for operating small groups, see the website of  Seeds For Change, a workers’ co-op from northern England that offers training, facilitation, online resources and other support for campaigns, community groups and co-operatives.