Go co-op for bulk organic in Dublin

Zero waste came to the fore in 2018, with more and more options to buy loose wholefoods by weight. In many instances, though, these were only well-suited to people wanting relatively small amounts of the available products. For those wanting bulk quantities – such as organic flour for home-baking – the cost per kilo of this approach was its biggest draw-back. Buying several kilos of something ought to bring both an economic and environmental saving – less cost, less overall packaging. Yet ‘wholesale’ bulk purchasing is generally off-limits for ordinary households… although two food co-ops in the city are addressing this.

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Buying with minimal waste

Tomorrow, I’ll be setting out with an assortment of bags and containers to fill with organic wholefoods – nuts, seeds, pulses, rice and more. Yet, my destination won’t be a zero waste shop or stall, but rather a low-key warehouse in Dublin’s North Inner City. There, a ‘pop-up’ co-op will spring into action to allocate pre-ordered deliveries.

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How many members is ‘enough’?

The idea of forming a bulk buying club may sound like it would involve recruiting lots of people, but that’s probably not the case. Two related pieces of advice shine through a range of published guides to running such a group:

  • Start small
  • If you can, start with people you already know
Continue reading “How many members is ‘enough’?”

Joining the zero waste club?

As today’s Irish Times highlights, a wave of Zero Waste shops and initiatives have sprouted around Ireland and Britain over the past two years, helped by popular campaigns against single-use plastics and a healthy media appetite for the topic. While many of the new initiatives have taken the form of small retail outlets, the bulk buying club model has also been adopted by those looking to go packaging-free, as with London’s Naked Larder.

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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.

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Q&A: ‘Buying clubs vs. retail therapy’

Screenshot of feature on Pop-Up Wholefoods at Foodture websiteYou can now find a Q&A with Pop-Up Wholefoods on the Foodture website: “Buying clubs vs. retail therapy”.

Foodture is a project aiming to nurture a culture of food citizenship and help build strong community support around Fair Food farmers, producers and more in Ireland.

Big thanks to our friends at Foodture for their support!

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.

The problem with health food shops

I’m always glad that there are small, independent shops that sell wholefoods. The best of them steer clear of the temptation to pack their shelves with high-profit vitamins and supplements, with owners genuinely believing that good wholesome food is the best medicine.

But there’s a problem, still – one that the bulk buying club approach can fix. Continue reading “The problem with health food shops”