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

Turnstyle Bulk Buyers Hospitality

1. Set up tea bar

Put tea out on bar for people to help themselves. The tea is usually already on the bar. Mugs are in a milk crate below the bar, or on the drying rack. Fill the kettle and plug it in.
Remind people that tea is available.
Remind people that drinks from the Turnstyle brewery are available by donation (suggested $4). Yellow donation tin is behind the bar and bottle opener hangs above the bar on a rope.

2. Set up computer

Please bring a laptop computer.
Connect to ‘Turnstyle’ wifi.
Sign onto

Open this Memberships- Memberships volunteer instructions’ document and the Memberships - welcome email for new members’ document.
This Memberships - Memberships volunteer instructions’ is available in hard copy in the black co-op documents folder located in the storeroom.

3. Pick your produce

When you are volunteering on the night you can pick your produce from 6pm, so you don’t miss out while volunteering.
Put them aside and weigh them at the end of the night.

4. Welcome and sign up new members

Ask potential new members how they heard about co-op and what they already know.

Topics to discuss with potential new member:
  • discuss how co-op is run and they must be willing to volunteer to join co-op (equivalent of ~30 minutes per week expected) and attend regularly.
  • Volunteer groups: on-the night, memberships (formerly hospitality, stock, finance, comms, data, preservations. Each has one or more coordinators.
  • where fruit and veg come from. Explain Food Connect if needed.
  • other goods available on night eg. dry goods, eggs, honey, oil, preserves, milks, cleaning products.
  • how to pick, weigh and pay for food.
  • $50 deposit. It will be payable on their account as soon as it is created. Must be paid within 1 month of joining. Pay in a separate transaction to payment of an invoice.
  • discuss issues around stock control. Ask for commitment to attend regularly (weekly or inform us if they will not be attending.
  • advise them to bring their own bags, especially for little fruits and veggies.
[NB: the points in bold are the most important aspects of the the running of the group as a co-op.]
  • Answer any questions they have and if they are happy to join the co-op sign them up.
  • Sign them up for volunteering on the scales in the next few weeks.

To sign up:

1. Add new member to Lettuceshare
  • Sign into lettuceshare:
  • Select Account (second button from left on top of page) --> Manage Accounts.
  • Get the new member to choose a username and fill in their name and details contact. Click submit.
  • Tell new member an email has been sent to them with an automatically generated password. (This password can be used to log in the first time and then be changed to something more memorable. To change password, member logs in to with username and automatically generated password. Select Account -> Preferences and enter new password.)
  • Tell new member that this website/system is used for signing up to a volunteering shift, and logging in when working on the scales. So they need to manage their own account access.

2. Add new member to the weekly e-mail newsletter and facebook group
  • Emphasise that the newsletter contains important weekly info for all members.
  • Add new member to facebook group, if they wish.
  • Either they can go to the following address and ask to be added, or you can go to and in the box where it says “+ add people to group”, type in their facebook name.

3. Add new member to gmail account and send introduction e-mail
  • Go to the comms gmail account (log in to
  • Find the word “Gmail” in top left hand corner. Press little arrow and select “Contacts”.
  • Press the red “+” button at the bottom right to add a new contact.
  • Add full name and click “Create”. Add e-mail and telephone number details and click “Save”. In the bottom left corner, click “add to groups”.
  • Scroll down the list and select “Wholesale Group” and then click outside the scroll box and you should see the message “added Wholesale Group”. This ensures we can easily find the new member’s contact details.
  • Then click outside the pop-up window, and the contact is automatically saved.
  • Go to google drive and find the introductory e-mail. It’s called “Memberships - Welcome email for new members”. Copy and paste the text into the email.
  • Send this welcome e-mail to the new member.

4. Sign up new member to ‘on the night’ volunteer group
  • In, click on ‘add your name to the volunteer roster’.
  • Sign member up to scale duties one week in the future.
  • Email the volunteer co-ordinator the name and email address of new members to discuss other volunteering roles.

5. Membership agreement
  • Ask the new member to sign the membership agreement and take an A5 copy home.
  • Ensure new members sign the record of members who have signed a membership agreement (A4 sheet with columns)

At the end of the night:

1. Clean up.
  • Put tea away and wash and put away cups, plates, knives and other items.
  • Rinse beer bottles and put them on the drainer.

2. Weigh your veggies.

3. Go home and relax knowing you did a great job!!!

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