Growing slow in Dublin 1

Pop-Up Wholefoods, the Dublin 1 food co-op, has begun the new year looking to expand – a little – as it settles into its new home at D-Light Studios. It plans to add around a dozen additional members over the course of 2020, growing its collective purchasing power while still keeping operations small-scale and friendly.

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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 bigger quantities – such as organic flour for home-baking – the cost per kilo of this approach has been its biggest draw-back. It’s just plain expensive! The real savings with bulk purchasing come from buying ‘wholesale’, rather than retail – an option that’s generally off-limits for ordinary households. However, two food co-ops in the city are addressing this issue in different ways.

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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
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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?”