How to run a food co-op or bulk buying group

Chewsday On The Night

Co-ordination before arriving:
  • Co-ordinate who will be there at what times, via your packing team’s google group.
  • Ensure that someone will bring a laptop with internet access, for entering the data for each order.
  • ‘Overs and Unders’ list: Stock ( will email this list to the packing group. It is a list of what has been ordered, and whether we need to go over or under for each item and by how much (so our orders match the amounts we will receive from suppliers.) It also lists the items that were unavailable. Print this out x 3 copies (one to go next to each of the 3 sets of scales).
  • ‘Packing list’ - Download from Lettuceshare, and Print out. Go to the top right of the menu bar - select Index, and from the dropdown, select reports. At the second paragraph Download lists for order: select ‘packing list’ from the dropdown, and click ‘Download’. Print this out.

Early starters (5:00pm – 7pm)

2 people from each packing team
  • By 5pm: Receive the Food Connect delivery. Check the delivery against the Invoice (which is provided by their delivery person). Sign their copy, and keep our copy to give to Finance.
  • Open up: Go to the back door (up the stairs on the right side of the hut). Next to the back door there is a small box, shoulder height, with a combination lock. The keys inside open this door, and also the downstairs toilets. Go through to the front Garage door. Pull out the locking bolt (low on the left hand side), then turn the handle in the middle of the door and push hard to open the door. Return the keys to the safe until closing time.
  • Set up three tables in one long line
  • Get out the paraphernalia from the Chewsday cupboard - this is the tall wall cupboard at the end closest to the back door.
    • Box of utensils, bags etc.
    • Scales
    • Egg cartons
    • Chopping board & knife
  • Put scales along table
  • Put produce on tables in alphabetical order (also put refrigerated produce in order)
  • Place the ‘Overs and Unders’ list next to each scale, so that the weighers know whether to go up or down by some % for particular items, and what was unavailable.
  • Cut up orders from each member. There are scissors in the co-op supplies.
  • Put a pile of boxes at the top of the table for use, along with tape & a marker. (Boxes are in the Chewsday cupboard, and also in the long storage areas / seat benches along the wall that is on your left if you face the garage doors)
Main packing team (6pm – 7:30pm)
  • Start packing by using member order sheets and cross referencing these against the ‘Overs and Unders’ list next to each scales.
  • Grab a box of approximately the right size, label it with the user name
  • Mark amounts/weight of each item packed on the member order sheet, and mark the ‘collect’ column for any items that need to be collected e.g. cold.
  • Once all the orders have been packed, compile left overs
    • put out a sheet with ‘Extras to Enter’ so people can choose left overs to add to their orders, as they arrive.
  • Start entering orders onto Lettuceshare (using a laptop with internet connection. If you don’t have a laptop and/or internet access, take photos and one person can take them home to enter. As a last resort, you can ask everyone to enter their own orders when they go home, but this can be tricky to follow up.
  • At the end of the pack, place the two suppliers’ invoices (one from Food Connect and one from Sovereign Foods) into the fruit/vege box order for ‘leahh’, as this will reach Leah from the Finance team.
  • Alternatively, if Leahh does not have an order, then photograph or scan the delivery dockets and email to finance so they can process (
Pack down (7pm – 8:30pm)

2 people from each packing team
  • Put away scales
  • Stack all unused boxes; break down wax boxes, keep cardboard boxes with their lid for next week
  • Tables - Wipe down and pack away / return to main room
  • Sweep the area
  • Clean all used utensils; cleaning materials are provided in the co-op box
  • Dry any washed utensils and pack all items in the co-op box.
  • Place any wet dish towels in the laundry. Dishwashing liquid stays at the small sink.
  • Bins - Place any rubbish in the wheelie bins and ensure they are placed beside the road (they may be out by the road already)
  • At 8:30pm, contact members who have not picked up their box to let them know that their box is being left in the driveway.
  • Use a styro box for any dairy / cold items they may have ordered.
  • Look up their contacts on Lettuceshare by going to ‘Manage Accounts’, entering the username and the contacts should appear.
Close up:
  • Lock downstairs area (if opened)
  • Close all windows
  • Close Garage door from the inside, push the lock bolt in (lower left)
  • Kitchen - turn off lights and close the door
  • Switch main lights off (middle of the interior room)
  • Switch security light off, and press the button (this turns it back on a timer)
  • Get keys from the key safe at the back door, lock both doors
  • Put keys into the safe, close it, and randomise the combination number dials

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