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


This guide has been created by bringing together documentation from a number of different co-ops and buying groups located around Brisbane. They were kind enough to share their written procedures so that the rest of the community could benefit. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in the process so far.

We're keen to see this guide added to and improved as it takes on a new life here on If you're part of an existing buyers group, and interested in joining us in a collaborative editing process, please get in touch to learn more about editing these pages.

The information in this guide should give you enough information to start and maintain a buying group. It starts with some general information, to help you decide if starting a group is the right decision for you. It then goes into more detailed sections, so if you only want an overview of how groups run, just reading the first few pages will do. The guide ends with very specific instructions of how major tasks are performed. This doesn't mean there aren't other ways to get things done, but they're listed because many different methods have been tried over the years and these have proven to be the most effective. If you would like to add a section for your group, please get in touch.

All the groups involved in creating this documentation also use the software here at to manage part of their processes. For that reason, many procedures include instructions for tasks that require accounts in lettuceshare. If that doesn't interest you at the moment, hopefully you will still find the content interesting and helpful. If you would like to skip to a different section of this guide, there is an index of the documentation here.

Running a food co-op or buyers group is very rewarding, but can also be a lot of hard work. So the first question is, why would you want to start a food group?