Food Co-operatives

Manor Gardens has been working to relieve food poverty in Islington for several years and chairs the Islington Food Poverty Alliance (IFPA). This is a network of organisations working to ensure that Islington residents can eat enough healthy food each day.

As a result of our emergency food distribution during the first lockdown we are now working again with the IFPA to support residents across Islington to set up food co-ops with their neighbours. 

What is a food co-operative?

A food co-operative is a group that comes together to give people access to food (and other household items) at affordable prices. A food co-op describes different types of approaches but in Islington we are encouraging local residents to join or start up their own food buying groups.

The way a food buying group works is simple – the group decides on what items the group wants to buy and how much each member should contribute. By pooling the money, co-ops can purchase large amounts of food at wholesale prices. As a co-op you can also register with local shops, supermarkets, restaurants and food suppliers to get deliveries of surplus food – food that is perfectly edible but is excess, on its sell-by date or out of season.

Each co-op is owned and run by its members, so you decide together how to manage yourselves, how much your membership fee is, what you want to buy, and you share the management responsibilities together.

How we can help

Manor Gardens and the IFPA is here to help you set up your own Food Co-op in Islington with a small pot of development funding from Sustain. We’re working with Co-operation Town, who have an online Starter Pack and other resources.

We can help you by:

  • Providing guidance to residents interested in learning more, and starting or joining a local co-op, including online and in person introduction sessions
  • Offering space for you to receive deliveries and pack bulk food into household bags
  • Connecting you to free surplus food and bulk suppliers so you can access the best and most affordable food
  • Supporting your co-op to set up, for example providing equipment and stationery, PPE, money tins, printing, etc.
  • Supporting you and your co-op members to access any other support you may need, for example ensuring households have the cooking equipment they need, or support with accessing benefits, or getting online

How can I get involved?

Anyone can start or join a Food Co-op with their neighbours, school, network, workplace or local friends. Co-ops are led by their members, but we’re here to provide guidance on getting started. You can download our leaflet to help you.

Please fill in this short form to register your interest, and the organisation nearest you will get in touch to support you. Alternatively you can email  or call 07483 149 519 to speak to someone.

You can also join our Islington Local Food Co-operatives Network Facebook Group to start chatting to others in Islington who might be interested in starting or joining a local co-operative.

If you’re an organisation interested in getting involved, please contact us for more details.

Training

We are offering free training on becoming a Food Co-operative. See here for dates and booking.

 

Find out more about Manor Gardens Welfare Trust