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

Why start a food group?

What do you know about your food?
Anyone who's thought about running a bulk buying group has a high level of food awareness. If you're reading this, then I'm guessing that includes you! Food awareness means you're interested in where your food comes from, how and where it is grown, and what was used to grow it. It might also mean you want to know how it gets to you, who was paid in the process and how much it cost at each step of the way.

Unfortunately for most food accessible to us, that information is not always available. This might be how you begin the journey of finding other ways to purchase your food. For most groups in Brisbane, that has meant contacting ethical distributors such as Food Connect and Sovereign Foods. These companies source their products from local farmers who believe in sustainable farming practices. As you would expect, these products come at a premium as they are grown in smaller volumes. It is not possible to compete on price with huge, monopolistic, supermarket chains that buy in huge volumes to drive down the price they force farmers to accept.

To avoid a really expensive shopping bill for your ethical food, people have started buying groups so they can buy in bulk, at wholesale prices. This means the first step in starting a buying group is to find other like-minded people. There are other benefits to buying in a group too, such as being part a community and reducing the need for packaging. Many groups also find they know a farmer or supplier willing to sell to their group at a reasonable price. This can supplement the more general range of produce available from a larger supplier.

Previous: Introduction