How to set up a food co-op or buying group at work

This simple "how to" factsheet advises people in workplaces on how to make fresh, local, ethically produced food more accessible to themselves and their colleagues, whilst supporting local farmers by providing them with a local, regular and reliable outlet.


How to set up a food co-op or buying group at workThis simple "how to" factsheet advises people in the workplace on how to make fresh, local, ethically produced food more accessible, whilst supporting local farmers by providing them with a local, regular and reliable outlet.

Food co-ops and buying groups are groups of people who regularly buy food together. This could just be a few people, or much larger. By pooling their buying power they can buy good food at a more affordable price. They may buy fresh produce, such as meat or vegetables direct from a producer, or dried goods from a wholefood wholesaler.

Setting up a food co-op means you can buy food that may not be available locally, and because you’re buying direct from farmers and wholesalers you can save a third or more off normal shop prices.

The factsheet gives advice on the ten Ps of running a food co-op:

  • People
  • Planning
  • Produce
  • Premises
  • Practical resources
  • Procedures and pricing
  • Promotion
  • Policies and principles
  • Permits and licenses
  • Progress

The publication concludes with two inspiring case studies of:

  • A 25-member food co-op at the Government Office of Yorkshire and Humber who buy chicken, lamb, beef, pork and eggs from Swillington Organic Farm.
  • Fred Shed food co-op, Leeds, where workers based in a shared office space, home to several community-based organisations, thought a food co-op would be a good way of getting staff in the shared office to think about, and buy, local and organic food at a good price.
  • Food Chain North East in Newcastle, who buy produce direct from local farmers and suppliers then deliver individual bag and box selections to workplaces in the North East region.

Published by Sustain's Food Co-ops project, in partnership with the Soil Association and funded as part of the Big Lottery's Making Local Food Work programme. For more information on Food Co-ops, and to use the Food Co-ops Toolkit or Food Co-ops Finder, visit: www.foodcoops.org.

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01/01/2011
Food co-ops toolkit

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