The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Anyone Interested in a Buying Club?

Anyone Interested in a Buying Club?

Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 180
OK, I'm not relishing the prospect of having even less choice to buy some of the staples I need once Wild Oats closes. Not sure how long it will take for a true food coop to get going but my guess is it will be a while.

I used to belong to a buying club and I'm wondering if anyone in this group would be interested in looking into it with me. I think the minimum is ordering once per month from the extensive catalog which gets mailed to your house. There are more details to make the whole thing happen, so please consider this just a preliminary "feeler" to see who MIGHT be interested. It's a great way to get bulk stuff, cases, or just buy stuff by the unit.

Apparently buying clubs have come a long way since I was last involved...
http://www.unitedbuyi...­


Let me know! Thanks.
Deb
user 4397109
New Gloucester, ME
Post #: 5
Lisa,
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm interested in getting more info about this. Deb
A former member
Post #: 26
Hi Lisa,

Very exciting! Last year, one of the parents in my preschool who lives in S. Portland gave me a catalog from Northeastern Cooperatives ( I think that was the name) and invited me to order with her. They get monthly deliveries at a centrally located site that is large enough to allow for the truck to turn around. They divide up tasks: someone collates the order, a group checks it in, etc. etc. I will look for the catalog or else call her for details and then let you know. I also have other friends who belong to different groups in this area who I could ask. I used to belong to one here in Freeport years ago but had to drop out because I was working when the truck came in and couldn't help unload or even pick up my order at the appointed time.

The idea of a permaculture buying club is very appealing and it's reach could extend beyond the monthly order from Northeastern. In fact, it could be the beginning of an organized, bio-regional, 'buy locally' group that acts as a resource for ordering from a variety of sources. For instance, just yesterday, I had been wondering whether
( taking up Elaine's idea when she ordered bulbs from FEDCO) there would be interest in a group tree/shrub/berry order from FEDCO. Their deadline is around Dec. 15th to receive a group discount and I would be more than happy to organize the order if anyone else is interested. I will now be ordering a few things from Dan Franeck's list plus blackberries and blueberries etc. etc. Since I live north and am closer to Waterville, I could also go pick up the order when it's ready in the spring to save on shipping. We could distribute from my garage.

There's another resource that I've been dying to try out. Permaculturely speaking, things would have to be shipped from out of our bioregion and so it would be less sustainable, but I have an interest in ordering biodynamically grown grains. I have a mail order source. If there's interest, I could see about how that could be organized. Perhaps distribution could be done so it coincides with an appointed Meetup to save people from having to come separately to Freeport.

We could also develop a regional "food list" of where folks can buy locally. For instance, I buy raw milk from a dairy in Freeport and they are usually looking for new customers. They also sell at Royal River Natural Foods but maybe there are people that don't know that. The list could be catagorized by town according to where members of this group live so access is truely 'local'. There's no end to what we could do!

Winnie
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 181
Very cool! I hadn't thought about it but it's really a natural thing for a buying club to do...maybe start with the bulk grocery monthly order then expand to offer other local choices - better prices and options if we buy as a group! (Maybe that could even extend to an annual truckload of organic straw or whatever...who knows). There's been alot of chatter on the local food listservs about WINTER CSA's and also CSF's (community supported fisheries) and tons of local food initiatives and events in general.

I will find out what it would take to get the basic buying club going (maybe with an intended start date of after the winter holidays) and then we could build from there. Sadly Northeast Coops was bought out by United, a private company...not really a coop option to purchase from at the moment with all the consolidation in the whole food industry.

Pls continue to post here (or email me off list) if anyone is interested in this buying club concept.

As for a FEDCO group order, I know Lee and Tom are keen to get a group order organized to get as much of a discount for all of us as possible. Winnie, perhaps you can coordinate with them and the three of you can head this up???? Let me know if you want me to send a group communication to the entire meetup membership including those who don't get a chance to visit this message board.
Merry & Burl H.
BeMerry
Portland, ME
Post #: 19
Great idea, Lisa! I have field notes from an interview I had with a Jefferson County co-operative buying club for my Mainely Organic book. I can share them with you and/or whoever gets this underway. One of the things they do is, if someone doesn't want the whole quantity of a bulk order, they list the item on their website and see if other members want to buy shares or splits of it, spreading the expense. This takes some co-ordination and communication. They also often plan a shared supper gathering around their pick up dates to build community within the club.
I think it's important to stress local food. Jim Cook of Crown O' Maine Co-op delivers Maine-grown organic food and products to buying clubs in Maine. He would be a good resource. Portland is far for me to go, but if we had a once a month pick-up keyed to the meet-up trip and something like a once or twice a year work obligation handling and dividing up the group's bulk order into individual ones, I could justify the travel.
Blessings, BeMerry
Merry & Burl H.
BeMerry
Portland, ME
Post #: 20
Yes, Winnie, I am very interested in a group Fedco order. What a great idea and offer to coordinate it!
Thanks, BeMerry
Nancy
user 4011934
Portland, ME
Post #: 4
I LOVE this meet-up! Amazing ideas Winnie, step towards making the bioregional vision a reality!

Yes! I am interested in both the buying club and a FedCo Order. We are still missing our small scale, local, bulk buying options here in Portland and our organic CSA is almost finished for the season. I just got my ration of organic spinach, arugula, lettuce and cilantro from the Rosemont Market, so grateful they are there. But it would be great to be able to get local food year round!!

I am also contemplating a FedcO order. Got the soil results back for my front yartd recently, NO LEAD! I'm ready to turn it into an orchard, but know nothing about growing fruit trees. Good resource anyone? I would also like blueberry, raspberry and blackberries for my back yard.

Thank you!
Nance
Merry & Burl H.
BeMerry
Portland, ME
Post #: 22
Hi Nance,

The Fedco tree catalog is, itself, a very informative resource. Two books they advertise that could help a lot are The Backyard Berry Book, Stella Otto, $17 and The Backyard Orchardist, Stella Otto, $16. When I interview local orchardists and berry farmers for my book, I'll try to remember to send you my fieldnotes.

Blessings, BeMerry
A former member
Post #: 27
I checked The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto out from the Freeport library two weeks ago and it is fantastic! Her apple section alone is excellent. BTW, FEDCO's tree deadline is Dec. 7th NOT the 15th! I guess the best thing to do re: a group order is to each fill out our own order forms and send them to me with a check made out to me by a certain date. I can then write one big check and bundle up the order sheets and send them in. I'll talk to Lee and Tom so we can come up with an order deadline. I'm thinking we should aim for one month from now to give people time to be thoughtful but we shouldn't wait too long as it is first come, first served. Let me know if that sounds good.

Winnie
A former member
Post #: 91
I am considering selling five gallon jugs of spent emulisified manure as liquid fertilizer.

Once manure has been processed by an anaerobic digester is largely weed free, has a greatly reduced pathogen count, and smells, well, faintly like manure.

As a liquid it can be sprayed on crops or injected into roots or mounds or beds, conserving the amount needed and enabling you to make spot applications.

Is there any interest in either 1 gal. or 5 gallon jugs of MANURE2ENERGY fertilizer?
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