Board of Directors: Co-op End #2

by Claudia Piper, Board Vice President

End #2: The Co-op provides information and access to healthy food and health products.

Mountain View Market Co-op Policy Ends

  1. The community benefits from outreach, support, and education.
  2. The Co-op provides information and access to healthy food and health products.
  3. The Co-op models sustainable living.
  4. The Co-op reflects inclusivity and diversity.
  5. The Co-op is a viable alternative economic model based on cooperative principles and values.
  6. The Co-op supports local and regional production and encourages a diverse food system.

What sets the Co-op apart from corporate stores are the six Policy Ends listed below. MVM Co-op Ends are focused on what is good for people and the environment; we’re not here just to turn a profit. Ends are lofty goals, but they provide a measurable direction for both Board and Staff. 

In our annual member survey, we ask if member-owners are satisfied with these Ends, and every year it is clear that most members do not understand how basic Ends are to a cooperative business. For the next six months, Board Newsletter reports will focus on each of these Ends. We welcome input from readers because we look at Ends while thinking of more that can be done to implement them.

Information

The MVM Co-op prides itself on staffing our store with knowledgeable employees always eager and able to answer customer questions and to provide many sources for further information. We know that dangerous ingredients are often found in “natural” products, so we use two labeling systems to highlight the safest and cleanest.

The colorful GOOD, VERY GOOD, AND GREAT shelf labels are courtesy of How Good Ratings which serves the growing market of shoppers who will spend more for sustainable products from socially responsible companies. MVM was the first food store in New Mexico to use this rating system that evaluates over 60 criteria. About 50-60 percent of our products show these labels right next to the price tag. (Click here for more information.)

The Co-op also supports the Non-GMO Project, North America’s only third-party verification program for Non-GMO. A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage, and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. Unless labeled non-GMO, almost all products containing corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets are engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Look for their logo on packages and check out their website.

Access

We are The Store in town to find local produce – sometimes 10 days fresher than organic from California, Florida, or Peru. Our local produce is pesticide-free. At the Co-op, you will find local products that you can’t find anywhere else. We support local farmers and count over 70 businesses as local vendors.

As best possible, we provide organic-certified food in our Kitchen and Café where the target is to use at least 80 percent organic ingredients, including most dairy products. All meat served is free of hormones and antibiotics and is free-range. Beef and pork are from local vendors. The Co-op eateries are the only places in town where vegan and gluten-free options are available in such diverse and delicious abundance. 

The Co-op’s bulk sections are also unique in Las Cruces. Here customers can find hundreds of items to try without having to buy a box. Elimination of packaging means that, no matter what quantity you need, the cost will be lower. These sections will grow with the Co-op’s remodel.

In our Wellness Department we choose to sell Health and Beauty products that are organic and Fair Trade. Many years ago we set a policy against stocking any body products tested on animals. We do not carry any body products containing parabens, and new company lines are incorporated based on organic certification and fair trade practices. One newer body care line is Alaffia, founded to advance gender equality and alleviate poverty through fair trade. The Co-op is known for its health products, and we now carry Garden of Life organic-certified and non-GMO vitamins and supplements. 

Finally, we are the only grocery store in town that offers home delivery to Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, El Paso, and Sunland Park!

What does this have to do with Policy Ends? These examples are ways that the MVM Co-op tries to live the goal of providing information and access to healthy food and health products. Next month, look forward to a report on End #5 “The Co-op is a viable alternative economic model based on cooperative principles and values.”

In co-operation,

Mountain View Market Board of Directors