At Common Ground Food Co-op, we proudly provide high-quality, fairly-priced food and household products which enrich our local community. We have high product standards in which vendors and producers apply to be featured at the Co-op and undergo a rigorous review process before being accepted. All of our vendors must have good food safety practices, as well as abiding by all applicable laws and regulations regarding food safety. We favor products that are Certified Organic, locally or regionally produced, items from other Cooperatives, and items that are requested by our customers. We have developed great relationships with many of our vendors and are well-informed on the products we carry so that shopping can be made easy. Please consult our merchandisers if you have questions regarding our product standards.
To meet these goals, we prioritize the following attributes when making our product choices:
1. Community demand
a. Products our customers buy.
b. Products our owners request.
c. Products which fulfill unique community needs.
2. Certified Organic or naturally grown
a. USDA Certified Organic products
b. There is no USDA definition of the term “natural.” CGFC uses the label “naturally grown” to refer to local products that are produced without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. All local growers must turn in a signed questionnaire describing their practices in detail.
a. CGFC defines “local” as within 100 miles of our store.
a. CGFC defines “regional” as Illinois and the following surrounding states: Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, and Missouri.
5. Products made and/or sold by cooperatives
Individual products may meet one or several of these standards. We encourage our customers to read product labels, to contact manufacturers with questions about ingredients, and to utilize the How Good rating system labels and kiosk in our store.
A note on genetically modified organisms (GMOs):
Common Ground believes in customer education and choice. Therefore, we support GMO labeling. Common Ground works to support this through in-store shopping guides, financial support to GMO labeling campaigns, and educational efforts.