Several people have asked me where I get whole grains and bulk foods. In the past, or I should say, once, I bought from bulkfoods.com. We (our family) ordered all the ingredients to make granola for months. At that time, I wanted to go in with other people but not many were interested.
Recently, a friend organized a drop in St. Louis with Azure Standard, so because other people were interested in going in on 50 lbs. of millet, I put in an order. Because of a clerical error it didn't come this month, but will arrive in May, so I will keep you all posted on how it works. I think they have more organic stuff across the board, although there are non-organic options. Also, it's not just bulk grains. There is everything from frozen food options to shampoo and cleaners to choose from.
I don't think when it comes to whole grains there is such a thing as "too bulk." 1) It is actually quite hard to find whole grains in stores. You usually have to shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, which for us is not only far away, but 2) then when you do find them, they are pretty expensive and in a little bag which lasts about a month, if that. With the exception of rolled oats, most whole grains are at the best price when you buy them at 5, 10, 15, or even 50 lbs.
Now here is the trick that co-opers before us figured out: if you buy WITH people, you can get the great bulk price and still only end up with 10 lbs. of whatever. (I always think of Marila in Anne of Green Gables... "20 pounds of brown sugar!" as Anne twirls around in her blue dress.) And if you store the 10 lbs. of whatever in a cool, dark place in a container that critters won't get into, it will last for months.
This is what I've uncovered so far. I think we have moved pretty far away from the hippie, co-op days of our parents. Even among "crunchy" friends, we are still pretty individualistic. Or maybe it is the advent of the Internet, which despite making the purchase of bulk food much easier, is actually not so great for hashing out the details of a group bulk food purchase. Maybe that's the connection to urban restoration... the renewal of the group mentality that allows for sharing food, recipes, homes, the face-to-face connection, and all that hippie jazz.