Benfeita Wholefood Cooperative

About the Coop => Information - PLEASE READ! => Topic started by: Wendy on September 19, 2011, 05:35:20 PM

Title: About the coop and how to join
Post by: Wendy on September 19, 2011, 05:35:20 PM

Benfeita Wholefood Coop was formed in September 2011 by a bunch of us in Benfeita (Arganil) wanting to take advantage of the bulk discounts available by ordering our wholefoods together. It's open to anyone in the Beiras regions of Central Portugal prepared to collect from our delivery locations.

By 2013, the coop had grown so large it became necessary to spread the workload involved with each order so we split up into two groups, one based around Benfeita (the original group) and the other centred on Barril de Alva. At the beginning of 2016, we added a new group in the Gouveia area. Each group has responsibility for its own ordering and separate accounts with suppliers, but all coop members can place orders with any group. Orders are rotated between groups and an order is placed every month. Members choose which group they want to consider their 'home' group to place their regular bulk orders with, but are free to order the odd items they've run short of or which were out of stock on their last order with the other groups. We hope this will work as a flexible and infinitely scaleable model for further groups to form as the coop continues to grow.

We order primarily from Essential Trading (, a wholefood coop in the UK, though our long term aim is to be able to source local Portuguese suppliers who can provide a comparable range of organic produce at similar prices. Every pallet of 1,500 in value or more is delivered free of charge. Essential bend over backwards to avoid charging us delivery and so far we have yet to pay a delivery charge.

The coop is an informal association, has no legal standing, is non-profit, and is run by members on a purely voluntary basis for our mutual benefit. If you'd like to get involved in helping process the orders, just contact your group admin.

If you want to order for an organisation/business with official status (and paperwork requirements), please note we can't provide you with any kind of invoice for your goods and neither can Essential Trading. If you need an invoice, the only way you can get one is to open an account with Essential yourself.


Come along to a meeting (the news ticker on the main forum index page will display the next meeting if one's been arranged), email, or speak to an existing member. You need to be a registered member of the coop to participate in orders and access all the information on this forum.

When you contact us about registration, please indicate which of the coop groups you want to make your 'home' group. All members are free to place orders with any coop group, but for admin purposes you need to designate one group to belong to. This applies even if you live midway between groups and only intend to order the odd thing occasionally.

Your responsibility as a member is to

The coop doesn't have any rules as such; all we ask is that no member seeks to profit directly from others' voluntary effort. Consequently any member found setting up business as a wholefood supplier selling on the products they receive through the coop will be asked to leave. Any member attempting to use the coop accounts to order on their own behalf outside of the regular scheduled group orders will also be asked to leave.

Please note that the teams just process the orders. We have no knowledge about things like who might like to share what, who might have spare washing-up liquid because you've run out, or anything else in that vein. This is what the forum is for. Please use it!