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’?”

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”

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”

Good to know, hard to find

Bulk buying clubs are friendly creatures – but often a little publicity shy! Most are simply ticking along as groups of friends who may have little need to recruit more members. They have no real use for a website or Facebook page and word-of-mouth may well be their only form of promotion. Continue reading “Good to know, hard to find”

Classic start-up checklist

Developing the ‘how to’ pamphlet to accompany this site has meant a rewarding trawl through literature developed by and for bulk buying clubs in earlier eras. One gem from 1983 still provides an excellent checklist of issues to consider around starting a group. Called ‘Deciding Whether to Organize a Food Buying Club’, it was published by the Cooperative Extension Service of Virginia Tech,  a public university in the U.S., which has thankfully preserved and shared the document for the online age. Continue reading “Classic start-up checklist”

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”