There are some food co-ops which run or attend markets with a variety of stalls or with lots of different types of produce, such as produce, wholefoods and other household products.
How they work
When selling food at markets some stallholders pre-weigh and pre-price all their produce so that it is quicker and easier than weighing items out. They also often price things up to a round figure - e.g. £2 for a 1 kg bag of apples - so that it makes it easier to quickly handle money as well.
Food co-ops can also run stalls at existing markets, such as farmers' markets. To do so, food co-ops often must meet criteria to attend.
Advantages and disadvantages to consider
The main advantage of markets is that they are more of a 'one-stop-shop' so customers can buy a wide range of goods in one place, thereby avoiding the need to buy from other more conventional shops. Markets may also appeal to a greater number of people than a stand alone stall or shop as markets are a fun day out and more of an experience - i.e. there are often cafes running alongside where people tend to stop and chat.
The main disadvantage is that you may need a much larger venue or outdoor space which may be hard to secure, particularly for a low rent or without the need for street trading licences if it's outside. You may also need a lot more helpers to run all the stalls at a market, unless producers run them.
Case study - True Food Co-op
True Food Co-op is a not-for-profit organisation based in Reading which attends and sells food at markets held in neighbourhood community centres across the surrounding areas in Berkshire. The Co-op offers a huge range of organic wholefoods, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as eco-friendly household products. You do not need to be a member to shop at the markets and entry is free. Local people that have excess produce from growing foods in their gardens or on allotments can also arrange to bring their produce to markets for selling or bartering or as a donation.
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