What’s a food buying club?
In its most basic form, a food buying club is a way for individuals to join together and purchase bulk foods directly from vendors, usually at wholesale prices. We like to say it’s a way to “Buy Better Together”—better quality at better prices with better (less) packaging. Purchasing through the buying club empowers us to make conscious choices about where our food comes from & to support our local economy.
What kind of products will I have access to in the Montavilla FBC?
We as participants in the club ultimately make the decisions about the kind of products we want to buy together. Currently, the MFBC offers monthly orders from Frontier, Azure Standard, Hummingbird, Cafe Mam organic coffee, and Bavaria Mills gluten-free baked goods. We offer pork from Heritage Farms NW and have periodic opportunities to buy specialty items, like blueberries, beef, lamb, bison, plant starts, and many other local, organic products. We also partner with the Eastside buying club and the North Portland buying club on some deals, so that together we meet the minimum orders from vendors. Starting in Spring 2012, we will be offering locally grown produce from a market garden run by the Portland Growers Alliance.
So how does the club actually work?
For example, say you wanted to buy your favorite organic olive oil, but the best deal on it (price-wise) is to buy 5 gallons–too much for you alone! You and 10 other club members could join together & split a 5-gallon wholesale container of it from Hummingbird–saving yourselves a bit of cash AND saving the planet from unnecessary packaging. The vendor would deliver all orders for Montavilla on the same day. Participants in the club would meet up at the drop off point on that day/time to divide up the oil.
Are there any required number of purchases for members?
Nope. When a buy is posted on the list, you get to decide if you want to participate or not. We have no daily, monthly or even yearly “minimums” for our members. You buy only what you want to, when you want to.
Is there a waitlist to join the buying club?
Nope. Anyone can join the club by completing the online New Member Sign-up Form, reading & signing the MFBC Membership Agreement, and paying the annual membership dues. Once these 3 steps are completed, you will be invited to join the club’s Yahoo group, which is how we know what is available for sale and place our orders.
Are there restrictions to joining? (i.e. neighborhood residents only)
No, anyone can join. However, most members do live in Montavilla, Mt. Tabor or North Tabor. One of the reasons we have been successful, we think, is because there are no other FBCs in the immediate vicinity. The Lents and the East Portland Buying Club are kind of close by, but neither are close enough to make it really convenient for Montavilla residents–especially those without a car—to order from them regularly. The majority of our drops right now occur right around 70th and Glisan, which is convenient for the neighborhood.
Where is the Montavilla Food Buying Club’s relationship with the Montavilla Food Co-op?
The Montavilla Food Buying Club (MFBC) and Montavilla Co-op are two completely separate entities. They did arise out of the same meeting over a year ago, but they now have different steering committees with different people involved in each.
Will the food buying club continue once the co-op is up and running?
Absolutely. In fact, we plan to continue growing and expanding, independent of the co-op, because it’s really very different. We think the co-op will someday be a great place to get food in a pinch, especially fresh, organic fruits and veggies that are sorely missing in this neighborhood, but there are many, many people on the MFBC email list who will continue ordering from the club–especially those of us who want to save money by buying in bulk.
What makes the Montavilla FBC unique?
What probably makes us most unique is that we weren’t started by and aren’t run primarily by a single founder. We have a volunteer steering committee and a couple of great volunteer buy managers who handle the repeating monthly buys for the Club. We also have periodic specialty items offered by members, who offer them for their friends at local farms/ranches, and partner with other local buying clubs.
Interested? Want more info? Call 503-545-7233 to learn more.
We need your help to spread the word! Please share the information with others you know in the neighborhood.