Open Harvest Cooperative Purchasing Policy
The Open Harvest Cooperative is an organization of member-owners who have joined together for their collective benefit as well as the benefit of the whole community. The natural food retail grocery store acts primarily as a buying and distributing agent of consumers and secondarily as a selling agent for wholesalers and producers.
We are guided by the cooperative principles and provide products through fair and ethical business practices. Open Harvest Cooperative customers are provided with healthful, environmentally responsible and socially responsible product choices. We believe in honest, non-deceptive merchandising practices in the promotion of products. It is our goal to serve as an educational organization providing education about good food, good nutrition, and health to our customers.
» How We Stock Our Shelves by Bob Hutkins, Board Member
Open Harvest Guidelines for Purchasing
- As much as possible, we will buy products from sources which are:
- small scale
- collectively or cooperatively run
- needed to maintain a broad product line
- As much as possible, we will sell products that are:
- organically grown
- bio-dynamically grown
- pesticide free
- grown using integrated pest management systems
- grown using sustainable agricultural practices
- minimally processed
- free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
- as fresh as possible
- sweatshop free
- free of nitrates and nitrites
- fairly traded
- not tested on animals
- ecologically harvested
- As much as possible, we will sell products that are packaged in a manner that is:
- recycled or reduced
- health hazard free
- Other considerations are:
- special dietary needs such as wheat-, gluten-, sugar-, dairy-, and salt-free
- vegetarian and vegan options
- protection of sensitive ecosystems
- preservation of endangered or over-harvested species
- requested by member-owner survey
- customer demand
- competitive price
- ease of ordering
- availability of storage space
Open Harvest Cooperative prefers to sell products that are not genetically modified or irradiated. We continue to lobby for the accurate labeling of all products. Current law does not require formal labeling of such products. We may unknowingly sell products with genetically modified or irradiated ingredients.
Our goal is to maintain guidelines for product selection which are both clearly defined and flexible. We strive to balance many factors involved in purchasing and make our choices based on a complex of factors. We welcome product information and feedback from our customers.
Customer requests will be constantly reviewed and considered. Because our number one priority is serving our customers, demand for a product may sometimes override our general guidelines. This usually happens only when there is no alternative to the product or when the alternative is significantly more expensive. Naturally we give extra weight to requests from our member-owners. Exceptions to these guidelines are very rare.
Department Buying Guidelines
Our goal is to maintain guidelines for product selection which are both clearly defined and flexible. There are many considerations involved in our purchasing choices. We strive to balance these factors in our decision-making process.
We aim to provide a selection of products suitable to accommodate our diverse customer base. This means that, while we carry brands with the highest standards and ingredients, we also provide quality alternatives for a lower price. Since our first priority is serving our customers, demand for a product may sometimes override our general guidelines.
We welcome product information and feedback from customers.
Department managers and buyers are continually making decisions based on the purchasing policy regarding our product mix. Open Harvest Cooperative has a detailed policy regarding boycotts. There may be other circumstances when a customer requests that a specific product or product line not be carried by the store.
If a customer would like to make a formal request for a product to be removed the first step is to inform a department manager in writing. The department manager is required to bring the request to the management team. After further research, a final determination will be made by the management team through consensus taking the above purchasing policy into consideration. The department manager will inform the requesting customer of the decision.
Open Harvest Cooperative Boycott Policy
If a member-owner or customer is requesting that Open Harvest Cooperative support a boycott, the first step is to provide information to the General Manager in writing. The General Manager is required to bring the request and all available information to the management team. After further research, a final determination will be made by the management team through consensus. The customer who made the original request will receive notification in writing including any data which supports the final decision.
We will consider supporting a boycott if it meets the following conditions:
- The boycott is well organized, with clearly stated, well-defined and achievable goals.
- These goals are consistent with our mission statement.
- The information upon which the boycott is based is valid and verifiable.
- The boycott is sponsored by a group or groups that have sufficient organizational power to sustain it.
- There is an individual on staff who will serve as the Open Harvest Cooperative sponsor for the boycott. This person will maintain accurate information about the boycott posted in the store and will present the General Manager with reliable documentary information about the current status of the boycott every month.
Open Harvest Cooperative will not support a boycott that does not meet these conditions. However, meeting these criteria does not guarantee support.
Open Harvest Cooperative has two different ways of supporting a boycott. One is that the management team would decide to discontinue carrying any products from a particular manufacturer or company. The other option is that the management team may decide to continue carrying some or all of the product line. In this case, customers can decide whether or not to honor the boycott.
In either case customers will be informed through the newsletter and through signage in the store if Open Harvest Cooperative chooses to support a boycott as an organization.