Co-ops are a wonderful thing. I'm thinking about 2 very different co-ops this morning. Both involve a group of people cooperating to achieve a common goal...buying at better prices, and homeschooling our children.

Later this month I will need to have my order ready for a natural foods co-op. I just started my list today and so far I have:
  • 25# of organic, unbleached flour
  • 5# diced, dried pineapple
  • 5# dried cranberries
  • 16 oz crunchy organic peanut butter x2
  • 5# organic buckwheat flour

I'm sure I'll think of a few other things before the order is due. But this gives you an idea of what buying in bulk from a co-op is like.

My friend Jenny started the co-op, or buying club, about 2 years ago. There aren't very many members and we only order every other month. But we have no trouble meeting the minimum and this allows us to purchase many things at a much better price than we would pay at a grocery or natural foods store. The orders are placed through a company called Country Life Natural Foods in Southwest Michigan. You can find them online at www.clnf.org/   I have no idea how far they travel to deliver, or if you can order through the mail. I do know that I look forward to receiving my order of wholesome foods from them every 2 months.

I order for another co-op through Frontier Herbs in Iowa. I usually order 3 or 4 times a year. This is a great way to get bulk organic tea, herbs and spices, as well as essential oils, shampoos and soaps. They have their catalog online too at  http://www.frontiercoop.com/

The other co-op I'm thinking about this morning is our Homeschooling group. Our family has been getting together with a small, core group of homeschooling friends for a couple of years now. Most of us have boys in their teens or pre-teen years. And we have one brave young lady who dares to hang out with this bunch of rowdies! We haven't had a chance to visit since before the holidays and I want to find a time and an activity for all to enjoy pretty soon. So, next on my list for today is to send out a post to plan another homeschool event for our group. We take turns planning fun activities throughout the year. It's great to have friends who share a common goal and enjoy cooperating to make the homeschool experience so much fun, and so rewarding!

When you find people with similar interests and goals, setting up a co-op to achieve those goals together can be very rewarding for everyone. I'm wondering how many of you belong to a cooperative of sorts? As always, I'm happy to have comments!

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  1. Hi there. Found you through The Barn Hop. My friend and I are starting a food growing co-op, where we each grown different stuff and share. We start building our square foot boxes soon. We are open to new members once it gets going.

    I think the key to successful co-ops is having a clear vison statement and clear agreements specified at the outset that create the framework. What are each person's responsibilities to the group? Is there a system in place for how to resolve disagreements? What are we willing to do and not willing to do?

    Good luck with your Homeschooling co-op. What a fantastic idea!

  2. Hi Moonbeams...best wishes with your food growing coop! We have several CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)farms around here. Some of them seem to be doing very well...the most well known is Angelic Organics. They sell memberships, or shares, for the season. I don't know if this model would work well for you.

    Our Homeschool group is doing great...thanks!

  3. Hi Lisa, THanks for sharing this with us at Whole Food Wednesdays. It's a great reminder how organic doesn't always have to be super expensive. Their are ways to make it work. Great post.

  4. Thanks! Co-ops are a great way to buy your whole grains, dried fruits, nuts, etc. Glad to share :)


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