Rutland Area Food Co-op Product Selection Guidelines - Revised April 2010 

Because the Co-op is a democratic organization serving the members' interests (see the Co-op Mission, below), customers can trust that what's on the shelves has been considered from more angles than simply price point. Our buyers follow these rigorous guidelines to choose products for all of us:

For any product category offered by the Co-op, preference shall be given to products and vendors that best satisfy the following.  

The product is: 

  • grown or produced locally. 
  • wholesome, natural, and minimally processed. 
  • grown and processed organically or sustainably. 
  • minimally or sustainably packaged. 
  • affordable. 

The producer: 

  • demonstrates a commitment to these considerations, 
  • demonstrates a commitment to social and environmental responsibility, 
  • is a cooperative business or demonstrates a commitment to co-op values. 

Buyers are expected to apply judgment to determine the best-suited products, using these considerations as guidelines rather than strict rules. For examples, a product grown or produced in Rutland would certainly be local, but if is produced using pesticides, GMOs, excessive packaging or unfair labor practices, we would not give it as high a preference. 

To help guide those judgments, it is helpful to keep in mind the purpose (mission) of the Co-op: 

  • Provide healthy, affordable access to natural, wholes and minimally processed and packaged food items and other products that form the basis for healthy and ecologically aware lifestyles.  
  • Provide a market for local, regional and other cooperative producers of food and other  household and personal products. 
  • Provide a community building and educational center where owners and other patrons can work, shop and learn together and empower each other. 
  • Provide support for and cooperation with other individuals and organizations whose purposes are similar to those of the Co-op.