Buying Clubs: The New Old Way to Shop Local

6 Sep

Miriam Goldberg writes in today to explain how the company she co-founded, Wholeshare (also a sponsor of the Locavore Challenge), helps consumers through the shift to organic and local food buying.  Even more, she explains a little about her story and why she is committed to the work of Wholeshare.  Read to the end for an exciting discount that Wholeshare is offering to you this month, which also helps raise funds for NOFA-NY!  We’re fortunate to have this company in our locavore community.

When I first joined a buying club in Providence, Rhode Island, I was new to the concept of group shopping. I’d belonged to CSA‘s in the past and was sold on eating locally and sustainably. But after a few seasons of buying just my fresh produce straight from farmers, I was intrigued by the full-pantry option presented by the buying club. The club was a tight-knit community that shared my values of eating real food at affordable prices.

In Brisben, the Path of Life groups prepares for their Wholeshare pick-up.

In Brisben, the Path of Life groups prepares for their Wholeshare pick-up.

Weekly grocery pick-ups through the buying club were bustling and social, where members caught up on the week’s news and shared kitchen tips. And as I watched my refrigerator fill with fresh local produce and cabinets overflow with bulk grains, beans, and granola, I knew I was making a good choice for my diet as well as my wallet. I couldn’t believe I had shopped alone at the grocery store for so long!

Organic, locally-sourced, and affordable produce in the middle of Brooklyn - yes, please!

Organic, locally-sourced, and affordable produce in the middle of Brooklyn – yes, please!

Soon, though, I realized that I was lucky to have access to a buying club. There are buying clubs in every state, but not nearly enough of them. I wanted to find a way to facilitate the creation of supportive, healthy communities like what I’d found in Providence. So my co-founders and I decided to launch Wholeshare. Through Wholeshare’s online interface, communities can easily purchase local food together at lower prices. As the company grows, we’re lucky enough to connect hundreds of eaters with their local farmers and producers.

When we were looking for a place to launch Wholeshare, New York was an obvious answer. New York is one of the most productive agricultural states in the country. Its $4.5 billion farm economy produces hundreds of delicious foods, from wine to kale to beef. And New Yorkers love good food. Here’s just a few numbers to demonstrate the state’s big appetite (numbers are from Wholeshare):

• 1,000: the number of certified organic farms in New York State
• 23%: amount of New York State that is farmland
• 370: number of organic dairies in New York State
• $2.3 billion: amount of money generated by New York’s milk industry, the state’s largest agricultural commodity
• 521: the number of farmers markets in New York State as of August 2012.

As we learned from these impressive stats and from the success Wholeshare has seen, food is important to New Yorkers. And so is eating local – for instance, the number of farmer’s markets in 2012 represents a 121% increase from 2000. At Wholeshare, we know that New Yorkers want to eat food that was grown nearby and sustainably. So we partner with dozens of New York State producers to provide a wide catalogue of healthy, organic foods. Check out the map below to see just a handful of the farms and processors that provide us with Certified Organic and Farmer’s Pledge products through Wholeshare!


Wholeshare makes it easy to buy food with your community from local sources. We believe in reducing the distance between you and your farmer, and in lowering the economic and geographic barriers to great-tasting, sustainable, healthy food. Each group on Wholeshare shops together to get the best prices and selection. So if you’re hosting a Locavore Challenge Dinner, try buying your ingredients on Wholeshare! Once you start a group, it’s easy to place your first order just in time for the local food celebration. Plus, you can invite your dinner guests to join your Wholeshare group. This will help get the word out about your dinner and forge bonds that will last long after dessert is finished.

Of course, one of the main goals of the Locavore Challenge Dinner is to raise funds for NOFA-NY. We can help you with that, too. When you start a group on Wholeshare, we’ll donate 5% of your first order to NOFA-NY on behalf of your Locavore Challenge Dinner.

To learn more about Wholeshare and sign up, visit http://www.wholeshare.com/start/nofa.

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One Response to “Buying Clubs: The New Old Way to Shop Local”

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  1. Greenling Rocks My World! - Chic Organic Mama - October 16, 2013

    […] Buying Clubs: The New Old Way to Shop Local […]

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