By Rob Fish
Northern New England families and small businesses which are dedicated to eating sustainably have a new option: Wholeshare. Wholeshare is an online marketplace that helps communities increase their geographic and economic access to healthful, sustainable food at wholesale prices through collective purchasing. Groups are encouraged to add additional local products from area farmers, bakeries, and food hubs to the vast catalog of available products.
Wholeshare groups perform as friendly neighborhood “pop-up grocery stores” where customers gain access to fresh local produce, meats, dairy, and grains from local farms, in addition to their favorite natural snack brands and sustainable household products. Not to be confused as merely an online farmer’s market, Wholeshare offers a full spectrum shopping solution for the entire grocery store.
“I work 100% at my job and 120% as a mom and manager of my household,” said Kim Brearly, the Director of Business Development at Designbook, “I was actively seeking healthy, affordable and time-saving solutions to eliminate at least one of the four grocery stores I now visit to stock up my household. I started a Wholeshare group in our office and not only have I found affordable, organic food and household objects that are delivered to my work, but I also found some great organic lollipops for my daughter’s fifth birthday party!”
Wholeshare operates on the idea that all people should have access to local, organic products. The collective purchasing model enables customers to save more money and purchase foods that they might otherwise have trouble finding at their local grocery store. Customers are aware of where their food is coming from and whether the food is organic, fair trade, or certified kosher. Natural food stores and co-ops often form groups as way to expand their offerings and increase foot traffic into their stores. Community organizations use their Wholeshare commission as a way to fundraise while supporting their community-focused missions. Yoga studios and holistic health practitioners use Wholeshare to provide another service to their health conscious clients. Farmers are even using Wholeshare to augment their CSAs and a provide a product year round to increase retention.
“Wholeshare’s commitment to making local and organic food accessible is what attracted us to them,” said Kelly McElheny, Founding Director of the Southshire Community Market. “We look forward to working with Wholeshare to fulfill the purchasing needs of our start-up food co-op.”
To start a group in your community, sign up at wholeshare.com/vtfoodbank. For every new group that places an order between now and the end of July, Wholeshare will donate 150 meals to the Vermont Food Bank.
Rob Fish is the Director of Outreach for Wholeshare. He lives in Montpelier and can be reached at 802-540-5210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.