Abundant Pantry Bulk Buying Club


October 25, 2016


The Abundant Pantry, (TAP) one of the more popular features has been out of commission for over a year due to a software conflict. Despite a great deal of work we have been unable to restart this bulk-buying initiative. It has now become apparent TAP will not be coming back in its previous format with Skookum.  However, as work continues to turn Ecossentials into a local Co-op, it is conceivable that in the near future a similar program could be offered through this future Co-op and members could again take advantage of bulk buying opportunities of quality organic food.

As some of our 320 current members purchased their memberships because of the existence of TAP, the board felt it fair to make this announcement about TAP and to offer any members who wish to leave Skookum that this is possible at any time and you will receive your $20 membership fee back.

Many thanks to the TAP team members who have put in many hours over the years to make TAP work for us all. We are grateful.

We hope you choose to remain a Skookum member as the future looks bright with local food in Powell River!


On hold….

The Abundant Pantry (TAP), a bulk buying club (BBC) for ordering healthy food, cleaning products, and personal care products, is still on hold.  The ordering software needs to be migrated to a new platform but more importantly, our ordering/distribution partner Ecossentials, is undergoing significant changes. As of September 2016, we are still not able to say when, or if, TAP will come back in the form it was. We are actively working with all the involved parties and hope to have bulk buying available before the end of 2016. We apologize for the long delay and hope to be up and running as soon as possible.

Our goals are to:

  • increase people’s individual household food security by encouraging and facilitating food storage, which is one of the three pillars of food security, along with production and preservation.
  • offer access to more affordable organic food than available through retail outlets, due to group buying bulk rates.
  • increase the food independence of our local community by establishing our own systems of procurement, and increasing our involvement with local producers.
  • offer a direct link online between local families and local farmers, which encourages more local farming, local eating, and an increased capacity for this community to sustain itself.
  • bring people together as a community, by working together in sorting deliveries, sharing split orders, and celebrating together at quarterly potluck dinners.
  • contribute to employment in the community, by employing a coordinator and supporting local farmers and producers.
  • provide ongoing contributions of food or money to local food-related projects
  • financially support Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative’s various projects.

Why is a BBC useful to my family or yours?

  • It makes it possible for us to buy organic food, other healthy staples, eco-friendly cleaning products, and eco-friendly personal care products, at a price we can afford, thanks to bulk purchases and group buying.
  • It ensures that our family eats better, because there is more healthy food in the house, at all times.
  • It makes us think through what we buy in advance with the result that we spend our money more wisely than we would on a quick trip to the grocery store every couple of days.
  • Used regularly, a BBC results in our automatically having three months or more of healthy food on hand at all times, keeping us prepared to weather an emergency, such as a transportation strike or a natural disaster.
  • Our full pantry encourages us to cook from scratch most of the time — better for us, better for the planet.
  • Over a year’s time, our family moved comfortably into a cycle of a case of peanut butter this month, a case of pasta sauce in the next order, 12 boxes of cereal the following order, etc., so the food costs were spread across the year.  We kept a separate check-off grocery list for our BBC, so that it was easy to make up our order.
  • We loved having a large freezer full of as many as 12 litres of organic milk and 18 pounds of butter, so (thanks also to our laying hens) there was never a panicked dash to town for basic items.  This reduced energy consumption, fuel costs, pollution, as well as anxiety.
  • We loved having access to a vast array of vegetarian-friendly items.  Others will be thrilled at the wide variety of choices for Vegan, Dairy-free & Gluten-free diets.

How will The Abundant Pantry work?

The first step, if a person is not already a member, is to join Skookum Food Provisioners’ Coop ($20.00 fee).  Approved Skookum Members can then visit The Abundant Pantry Online Ordering Site, where they will find a link to a page explaining How To Join.

There you will read our Statement of Terms, and having accepted those, you can complete the online registration form.  Once approved (robots need not apply), new members will then receive an Welcome E-mail with information about how to use the Online Order Program.  The program can remember your list, in case you wish to add items continuously during the entire two months between orders. Or, you can create your order all at once from a paper grocery list.

The online order program is easy to use, and will have several different ways to search for items (by full list of products, by department/type, by producer, and by organic certification). Eventually, we hope to have photos for most products. Whatever items are in your “shopping cart” at the close of the order will automatically become your order – there is no “submit” button.  You will be able to view and print an invoice of your on-going or closed order’s items, including Coop markup, any recycling fees, and total due.

Over time, the ordering program will offer an increasing number of products from local farmers.  With each customer order, the program will automatically reduce the inventory of a Local Producer’s item, so there will be no disappointments.

We have chosen a bi-monthly (once every two months) cycle to place orders, initially.  This could change based on the members’ desires and the size of the club.  For now, Members will be notified when their shopping cart has been cleared & reopened for a new ordering cycle.

Pick-up will be between 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, in Wildwood (exact location available to registered members), on the Thursday after the 2nd  Sunday of the month (the order deadline day).

In advance of pick-up day, several volunteers will have been identified to help sort the full delivery into families’ portions, prior to the start of pick-up.  The sort will begin at 1:00 pm at the Delivery location.  Each household participating would volunteer a family member, or their stand-in, to sort twice a year, or as needed, based upon the cycle of ordering and the number of members participating.  If you are unable to sort, or find a stand-in, please let us know, so that we can find a different volunteer job for you.

In the interest of reducing energy use, costs, pollution, members “Up North” or “Down South” are encouraged to coordinate a pick-up of several orders to redistribute at a site in their own neighborhood.  The pick-up volunteer would need to have collected all the payments for all the orders, in advance of pick-up.  No order may leave the pick-up site without payment in full.

Orders must be paid for at pick-up by cash or check.  Before paying, it will be important for members to check off their items against their invoice, which we will provide, to make sure that they do not have any spoiled, damaged, broken or missing products, or an extra item accidentally placed with their order.  All product complaints must be placed with the cashier, prior to leaving with the order.  The coordinator must report concerns to the distributor the next morning in order for problems to be resolved.

A person desiring to split a bulk order, for example a case of 12 jars of peanut butter, will be able to go to the SPLITS PAGE (a Shared Google Document available only to registered TAP members), linked at the top of each Private Personal Member Page, where they can post the offer to split.  A detailed explanation of how splits work exists at the bottom of the SPLITS PAGE.

If members want to split “messy” items, which will require re-packaging, like a 25-pound bag of  lentils or flour, we require that they complete the split at someone’s home or at the park, rather than at the pick-up site, in order to reduce the chaos & mess, keep the pick-up process moving quickly, and protect our relationship with our pick-up site.

Members are encouraged to regularly suggest & discuss desired changes, as well as offer praise for successful aspects of the process (Positive reinforcement is worth more than money, thank Goodness for it!), at either the future BBC Forum Page (?) or Google Documents page (?), or by e-mailing the Coordinator.

I also encourage participants to use additional future forums (?) or Google Documents pages (?), to discuss products they liked or didn’t like, as well as to share recipes.  These discussions can help all of us get the most value out of our club and our food.

Lastly, we will invite all BBC participants to CELEBRATE with a potluck dinner, quarterly!  Invitations will be sent by e-mail.  Let food bring us together in joy!

Want more information?  Please contact your coordinator, Wendy Pelton at bulkbuying@skookumfood.ca, or at (604) 485-6664 after 11:00 am.