Following our Mission Statement, Ends and Social Responsibility Statement, the following complimentary purchasing policy attempts to define specific issues regarding the products we carry and where we obtain them to sell at the co-op.
We choose to emphasize products that have a positive influence on our health, the environment and the people and animals involved. They are:
· Produced using sustainable practices including organic agriculture
· Produced with ecologically responsible processes that are whole* or minimally processed*
· Products from countries with good human rights records
· Animals that have been humanely raised in accordance with recognized standards such as the National Organic standards or the Certified Humane standards
· Are minimally packaged or in recyclable or returnable containers, with an emphasis on bulk
· Foods that are healthy alternatives to mainstream products
We choose to promote these products and production methods in the order of priority as listed:
· Certified Local* Organic or Certified Local Biodynamic
· Local producers that have quality products
· Domestic Fair Trade Products
· Certified Fair Trade Products
· Certified Organic or Certified Biodynamic (non local)
· Certified Humane
It is our goal to eliminate products with the following as substitutes can be found:
· containing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), growth hormones or antibiotics, and have been irradiated
· containing artificial preservatives, additives, colorings or flavorings
· containing synthetic pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides
· containing known harmful ingredients such as hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, nitrates or nitrites, MSG, or synthetic chemicals prohibited by the National Organic Standards Materials List
· use of animals for testing purposes.
· Bottled water is minimally available, especially in single serve containers.
The vendors we deal with are viewed with the same issues as the products we carry:
We prefer local, cooperative, family and independent farmers and producers. These vendors should also be socially responsible. We are presently engaged in a purchasing agreement with National Cooperative Grocer's Association which provides a preference to purchase from United Natural Foods. While this should be our primary supplier, we also realize the value of our independent and local suppliers.
Purchase of products which don’t conform to the above guidelines should respond to other valid concerns, such as special health needs, local production, WIC products, ethnic preferences, and member requests. All non-conforming products will be reported to the Board of Directors through the management report.
Any Ypsilanti Food Co-op member may dispute a product which the Co-op carries. Objections should be presented in writing to the manager.
Selective use of the following merchandising procedures is recommended for products which do not meet our most stringent standards:
· Educate customers through clear signs when some aspect of the product is of specific concern
· Provide and point out more wholesome alternatives
· Price less healthy items for higher margins
· Allow for lower margins on healthier staples, a “market basket” approach
* Whole is defined as having only one ingredient.
* Local is defined as products grown or produced in our region within 100 miles of Ypsilanti.
* Regional will include all of Michigan and nearby northern parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They are available seasonally, and vary in distance from the coop by type of product, but all are within a day’s drive of the coop.
* Minimally Processed is defined as those traditional processes used to make food edible, to preserve it, or to make it safe for human consumption e.g. smoking, roasting, freezing, drying, fermenting, or those physical processes that do not fundamentally alter the raw product such as separating a whole raw product into component parts such as pressing fruit to produce juice (USDA Food Standards and Labeling Policy definition).
Approved September 2010