Adopted: January 19, 2019
Updated: February 19, 2019; April 9, 2020
Coteau Community Market's promise to customers is this: we will do our utmost to make sure that the information we tell you about a product is accurate, so you know what you're buying.
To that end, we've established the following policies.
- Producers must be a member of the co-op in order to sell directly to Coteau Community Market.
- An on-site visit will take place once a producer has applied to sell to the market. Annual site visits to verify production methods are required as well. (More details on this will be provided as we work out the process.)
- Having one or more third-party certifications is not a guarantee you can sell your product at the market, but is certainly taken into account.
- Using drain tiles in fields, raising animals in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and using manufactured chemical toxins (herbicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, etc.) will automatically disqualify a producer from selling through Coteau Community Market.
- Producers must let the market know if there are significant changes in production methods or loss of third-party certification. Failure to do so will result in the producer's products being removed from the market until the situation is resolved.
- All products sold in Coteau Community Market will be non-GMO and grown, raised, or produced in a sustainable manner, to the best of our knowledge and research.
- For those products that can't be grown, raised, or produced here, preference is given to brands that aren't owned by big, non-organic umbrella corporations. Preference is also given to companies that are open and inclusive. These products must also be certified by a third-party agency [e.g. Oregon Tilth, Fair Trade USA, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), etc.] and researched by the market buyer.
- If there are state or federal laws that govern and regulate the production of what a producer does (e.g., how and where meat is processed, must be produced in a commercial kitchen, etc.) or how a product is labeled, those laws must be followed in order to sell the product in the market.
Purchasing order preference:
The order of preference for how purchasing decisions are made is as follows:
Local: grown, raised, or made within one hundred fifty (150) miles of Coteau Community Market, in Watertown, SD, USA.
1. Local, sustainable, healthy food
Foods that are locally grown, raised, or produced using beyond organic, sustainable methods. That means they are some combination of the following:
- grown using regenerative methods like composting, cover cropping, crop rotation, etc.--any methods that improve the soil and our environment;
- grown using no manufactured chemical toxins (herbicides, insecticides, or fertilizers) or uncomposted manure sludge;
- not genetically modified organisms (non-GMO);
- picked or processed using documented workers paid fair wages;
- raised in managed natural pastures;
- raised with unlimited access to the outdoors;
- raised without antibiotics or growth hormones;
- processed humanely;
- cooked, baked, or made with local products that are raised in the manner detailed above;
- minimally packaged, using materials manufactured with no toxins or known carcinogens, which can be disposed of in an ecologically sustainable manner (recycling, composting).
What does this mean? If an item can be found locally and it is grown without manufactured chemicals and in a sustainable manner or made with local items that are grown in that manner, it gets preference over similar items available from elsewhere.
Obviously, there will be some wiggle room, simply because there is no absolute that applies to every single situation. For example, a farm ten miles away from the market transitioning to organic certification will be given preference over the same product available from an already certified organic farm halfway across the planet. But local, conventionally grown produce loses in the face of sustainable or certified produce from slightly further away.
Regional: grown, raised, or made within the six surrounding states (Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming).
2. Regional, sustainable, healthy food
Food grown, raised, or made in the region in the manner described above gets preference over food grown elsewhere in the country and on the planet.
3. Fair trade organic products
Coffee, tea, and chocolate can't grow here without a lot of help and infrastructure, so we'll sell brands that are fair trade and organic certified.
4. Organic products from elsewhere
This is the final catch-all category, for those foods (including many fruits) that absolutely cannot be grown or raised in the region, and for which there is no fair trade certification.