What is a buying club? Many people have never even heard of this concept and I’m continually amazed at how most people still consider things like organic fruits and vegetables to be something that ‘snobs’ eat! I’ve really heard people say this and it hurts to hear because I feel if they only knew the benefits (or even worse, how bad conventional food is!) that they would switch in a heartbeat.
Even sadder are those who KNOW and just can’t afford it!
Years ago we fell into that category. We’d pinch every penny and shop around for every deal to get a better quality of food for our family. Back then, and I mean perhaps 2004-2005, organic food was getting a little easier to find but it was still outside the norm. If you went to a grocery store you usually wouldn’t see anything organic there yet. If you were lucky enough to live near a Wild Oats, Henry’s Market, Earth Fare, or Whole Foods then obviously you could find organic food easier. I remember shopping around in health food stores with my mother back in the 80’s and looking in wonder at the pathetic little selection of organic produce. A few shrivelled hands of ginger and some bananas were usually it. I wondered then why people just didn’t get their vegetables at the grocery store where they were bigger and shinier.
These days, unless you never get into a big city, you can usually find organic fruits and vegetables a little easier. My wife tends to shop in town once a week and since we have a magic fridge that keeps things for a long time this works great for us. Our raw milk lasts close to three weeks and our salad greens for about two weeks. Most people aren’t that lucky, though. And many who are raising chickens are in rural areas. Or the organic stuff at the store just isn’t affordable! And at our local farmer’s market I saw some folks scalping the poor yuppies. $7 a dozen for eggs and $8 a pint for organic berries? Are they serious?
As everyone is usually looking to lower their food costs I recommend buying clubs. These are local co-operatives where people usually volunteer a little of their time to keep the group running (things like sweeping after close, helping to stock the shelves, put together orders, etc.) in exchange for getting access to wholesale prices on perishable and non-perishable items.
Our buying club here in Kentucky is awesome because not only do they have connections to local farmers for fresh, raw cow and goat’s milk, but also other local products at cheap prices. In addition, they buy from Azure Standard, Frontier, Tropical Traditions, and other companies that cater to buying clubs. Local farmers (like me) also bring in their eggs to sell or trade at prices that are much more reasonable than those crooks at the farmer’s market or grocery store sell them for. They even bring back the cartons for me to refill and I give them a little discount for each carton I get back.
So you’re ready to find or start a buying club, huh? I’ve got some links below that can get you started with that:
Let’s say, though, that there are no local buying clubs and you can’t or don’t want to start one in your area. There is now a really great alternative I heard a week ago called Thrive Market. I put in my first order and I’m waiting eagerly for it to arrive. They have a good selection of natural products now, but when I emailed their customer service I was told that the selection will get even bigger soon. They’re a new company, just started, and their mission is to make healthy food affordable for everyone. They only deal in non-perishables for now, but think of Costco or Sam’s Club but for a place like Whole Foods? Their prices are even cheaper than Amazon in most cases, and a LOT cheaper than Whole Foods.