As a part of developing our local foodshed, we provide support for a viable network that grows, processes, manufactures, and distributes food in our area in order to build a stronger local and regional food system.
We're with the Farmers!
For more than 40 years, North Coast Co-op has provided a market for local produce, supporting our local farmers and their organic practices. Each winter, we sit down with about 25 local farmers to determine which crops we need them to grow for the year. This allows the farmers to depend on a market for their fresh produce, and the farmers provide the best organic fruits and vegetables for our shoppers. In fact, we buy and sell the most local produce of anyone in Humboldt County. A report produced by Redwood Coast Community Alliance with Family Farmers showed that North Coast Co-op purchased at least five times more produce than its competitors, with as much as 70% of it being local in the summer months! Read the full report.
Working with Local Producers
For more than 40 years, we have provided economic development assistance to local producers and extended a purchasing hand to start-ups, assisting with marketing, supply agreements, merchandising, packaging, pricing, and more. As opportunities develop, we will continue to help local producers, projects, and visions get off the ground with an eye toward sustainability, food security and a triple bottom line (people, profit, and planet).
Toward that end, we created guidelines for producers that will help them understand what we need as retailers, and continue to refine systems to assist in their development process. Download the Vendor Application.
North Coast Co-op defines local as any food grown or produced within 250 street miles, meaning how far food is transported/driven. We chose this distance in order to be more in line with our bioregion (Humboldt/DelNorte/Trinity/Mendocino counties) and to provide food choices from a broad range of climates. After our first year hosting the Eat Local Challenge, we realized our 100 mile radius did not include enough plant-based protein and grains for the various dietary needs of our shoppers, and expanded our definition of local to be more inclusive. Look for local labels on our shelves to find food and products that are grown or produced within 250 miles!
Eat Local Challenge
Partnering with local organizations such as the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and North Coast Growers Association, we hosted our first Eat Local Challenge in 2008. We challenged the community to eat only foods grown or produced in Humboldt County for the entire month of September. We were overwhelmed with the positive response! The Eat Local Challenge is now hosted by Local Food Month advocates and North Coast Co-op is still supporting the effort with monetary and other resources. Sign up in one of our stores come September each year.
Developing Our Local Foodshed
As a part of our 5-year strategic plan, we are committed to expanding sustainable food production, building capacity for producers, and filling gaps in our regional food distribution system. Learn more in our Strategic Plan 2014-2018.