http://www.soilassociation.org/Organicbuyinggroups
Soil Association : Organic buying groups

Organic buying groups

Organic buying groups involve people who regularly get together to buy organic food. Groups can be made up of a handful of people, or a much larger number, from your community, your workplace, your sports club etc.  By pooling their buying power and ordering food in bulk, direct from farmers or suppliers, you can buy good quality food at a more affordable price. 

Groups may buy fresh produce, such as meat, vegetables or dairy from a farmer, or dried goods from a whole food wholesaler. They may have an informal arrangement amongst themselves, or adopt a more formal structure such as a cooperative.

Buying groups enable greater access to fresh, local, ethically produced food and in addition can provide a secure market to local farmers who really benefit from having regular, reliable, local customers.

If you are interested in setting up a group, use our Guide to find about how go about it in the Resources section. Also see the Case Studies to find out more about other people's practical experience of how their buying groups operate.

If you are an established buying group currently purchasing dried goods from a wholesaler and want to begin sourcing fresh produce including meat, fruit and vegetables, eggs and dairy, please contact us and we can help you to establish links with local farmers.

Report

A 2012 report from the Soil Association highlights the growth potential of food co-ops and buying groups to support access to affordable, ethical and sustainable produce. The report produced at the end of the Making Local Food Work, Big Lottery funded programme revealed over 400 enterprises were supported by the initiative with many opportunities for development across the UK.