“FoodHub has been a great way for us to find local sources,” says Susan Baker, co-founder of Columbia County Natural, a non-profit food buying club started in May of 2010 in Scappoose, Oregon. Susan Baker and Monique Tindall started the buying club to provide more options for local residents, who have minimal access to regionally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
Columbia County Natural has begun relationships with producers including Pd farms for apples and alliums and Val’s Veggies for crates of winter squash and pumpkins. “We want to keep these smaller farmers in business, and the only way to do that is if we’re all buying from them,” Baker asserts. She is heartened to see the club’s 75 members save money, make fewer trips to the grocery store, and spend more time cooking.
Several food buying clubs have joined FoodHub. The model, wherein a group of individuals acts collectively as a wholesale buyer, has benefits for food producers and eaters alike. Food buying clubs may be receptive to multiple deliveries and may not have a grocery retailer’s stringent requirements for uniformity, which can be a boon to small-scale producers.
Columbia County Natural is still looking for a local apple cider producer and hopes, in the future, to build relationships with pork, beef, and poultry producers. The members also frequently seek out gluten-free and hypo-allergenic products. If you are interested in joining Columbia County Natural, visit www.colconatural.com. If you want to connect with Baker about business opportunities, visit the Columbia County Natural profile on FoodHub and get in touch. If you want to find a food buying club near you, browse!