The South Birmingham Food Cooperative has been up and running since January 2010 with the aim of providing affordable, quality and healthy food to our communities. We are run out of a housing cooperative on the Pershore Road. We stock everything you might find in a supermarket except for fresh and chilled goods. This includes whole-foods such as rice, pasta, dried pulses and flour; store cupboard items such as tinned goods, oil and sauces, as well as environmentally friendly household products. Currently we order as a buying group from a cooperative wholesaler with strong ethical and environmental principles. This means members use the wholesaler’s catalogue to select their goods and then we place a large order as a group. Quite often several members will want to order the same item. In these cases, we order the item in bulk and measure it out between us. By ordering together, splitting bulk items and bypassing retail outlets we can buy better quality food for a more affordable price.
Because we are a cooperative, we are run for and by our members on a not-for-profit basis. All members are asked to contribute a small amount of time towards running the coop; everyone works on a voluntary basis giving as much or as little time as they are able. Jobs include unloading orders, re-packing bulk items, administrative tasks, accounting and publicity.
Our cooperative is currently made up of 30 members in the local area but we would like to expand. At the moment we help run Stirchley Community Market (stirchleycommunitymarket.wordpress.com), which enables people to buy from us without ordering in advance. In the future we hope to become an outlet for local producers and to stock fresh goods too.
If you think you would like to be involved, go to our contacts page.