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’?”

A welcome Brexit respite

A looming ‘hard Brexit’ during much of March threatened an abrupt end to trading relationships built up by buying clubs over many years. Since 2012, the pop-up wholefoods group in Dublin 1 has been ordering with Suma, Britain’s leading workers’ co-operative. However, they drew up their recent order under a shadow – the UK potentially crashing out of the EU soon after dispatch of what would be their 49th bulk shipment from the Yorkshire-based co-op. Thus, there was a serious chance it would have to be their last, amid the prospect of prohibitive tariffs and regulations kicking in from the end of the month.

Continue reading “A welcome Brexit respite”

Co-operate to save in 2019

An old idea for a new year: co-operation.

The most compelling case for bulk buying clubs and food co-ops is the way they can cut the cost of organic food for those with a more limited budget. They’re a nifty way to curb plastic, too, and uniquely offer a way to combine both in a single initiative. Continue reading “Co-operate to save in 2019”

Naked Larder: a starting out story

Logo of the Naked Larder bulk buying clubThe wonderfully named Naked Larder bulk buying club in South London is the focus of an excellent blog for the Food Co-ops section of Sustain’s website.

Phili Denning, the founder of Naked Larder, has so far added six posts about her early steps with the project.  Continue reading “Naked Larder: a starting out story”

Small Co-ops Are Beautiful

Cover of the book 'Food Co-ops for Small Groups' by Tony VellelaOne of the most practical and useful guides written about running a bulk buying club was published many years ago under the title “Food Co-ops for Small Groups”. By ‘small’, author Tony Vellela explains that he means, potentially, just five or six people and not more than 30. Continue reading “Small Co-ops Are Beautiful”

Cooking up a conspiracy

“When a group of people want to buy food cheaply, but don’t want to pay rent or salaries or have a store and are all willing to work, they have a food conspiracy. Buying club and co-op are other names for this kind of organization, but they also apply to groups with paid managers, storefronts and profits.”

Continue reading “Cooking up a conspiracy”

Buying clubs on Brexit watch

Many people across the island of Ireland are keeping a close eye on Brexit developments – and bulk buying club members are no exception.

Several groups based in the Republic currently source their deliveries from British wholefood cooperatives, importing without the slightest issue due to the two countries’ shared EU membership. However, in just five months, these small-scale arrangements could become untenable under a potential ‘No Deal Brexit’ bringing the return of tariffs and a range of import procedures. Continue reading “Buying clubs on Brexit watch”

Whaaat? – bbc / co-op / conspiracy

This site uses the term ‘bulk buying club’ (bbc) 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 “Whaaat? – bbc / co-op / conspiracy”