A Co-op is the collaboration and pooling of resources to purchase items at either reduced cost or greater variety than otherwise available to individuals. One person is responsible for deciding what to purchase, collecting funds, placing the combined order, and sending the orders to each participant. That person is referred to as the "organizer" or "coordinator". A Co-op purchase is a volunteer effort and the organizer does not make a profit.
A Co-op ISN'T:
A bulk purchase made by a member, subsequently offered for re-sale (even if there is little or no markup on the purchase price, and the price is less than other retailers.)
An arrangement between a wholesaler or broker and a Dave's Garden member to order, advertise and re-sell items as member requests are submitted.
Offering extra plants left over from a bulk purchase made for another group or business
Remember, DG is a non-commercial site: we don't accept advertising, nor do we permit business owners to solicit sales from members. Allowing someone to conduct transactions that aren't a true Co-op results in a member acting as (or on behalf of) a commercial seller, which isn't permitted. It also presents an opportunity for an organizer to potentially profit from a Co-op purchase, which is not allowed.
A successful Co-op can be summed up as follows: The participants and the organizer all feel they received a good value for the items purchased, and the process didn't put an undue hardship on anyone.
Although similar to group purchases by a local gardening club, a Co-op purchase has one critical difference: the added step of repackaging and shipping the items on to their final destination. We hope this primer will foster many successful Co-op purchases throughout Dave's Garden. It's organized into three major areas: tips for organizers, tips for participants, and what to do when things go wrong. All participants and organizers are encouraged to read the entire primer to familiarize themselves with the process.