Eastern Region Food Co-operative (ERFCO) began in the ’70’s with a grant from the Whitlam government. Sid Spindler, a Greens senator, was one of those instrumental in setting up the co-op.
If you want to do with less packaging, or want to buy in bulk, you might like to consider joining ERFCO. The co-op works best with about 15 active families. At the moment the numbers are down and some new members would be welcome.
Five times a year non-perishable food like dried fruit, nuts, grains, flour, sugar, beans, lentils, and also honey and peanut butter, are bought in bulk, mainly from NSM in Brunswick. Food co-op members order what they need – the quantity can be small or large. The collection point is Mitcham Community House. You bring your own containers or bags, plus scales, and weigh out the food you have ordered.
NSM* has a large range (including organic products) and the co-op has a list of about 60 of these foodstuffs that members can order. This is not a fixed list. It can be varied according to what foods current members use, though more than 60 or so varieties becomes unworkable.
Because it is a co-op, there is a roster for members to help out with things like collecting the food, unpacking it, doing the money, cleaning up and sending out the bi-monthly newsletter and order forms.
Costs are generally considerably cheaper than supermarkets. There is a small annual fee ($10) plus a small surcharge (5%). These cover costs such as hire of the community house, containers for left over food, and any wastage.
Collections are on the last Saturday of the month in February, May, July, September and November, from 2pm – 4pm.
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