Buying Guidelines & Definitions

Buying Guidelines & Definitions
Feeding our community

The Great Basin Community Food Cooperative

The Great Basin Community Food Cooperative (GBCFC) is a community owned, full service grocery store committed to serving as an access point for products that are:

  • Socially just
  • Environmentally sound
  • Locally grown and produced (when possible)
  • Organic and non-GMO (when possible)
  • Delicious, nutritious, and wholesome

We prioritize purchasing from local farmers, ranchers, and producers along with larger independent companies whose practices are in alignment with these guidelines.

A sustainable model for access to wholesome food

Our aim is to provide wholesome, nutritious food and affordable options while paying farmers and producers fairly and honoring the true cost of good food. As a member of the National Cooperative Grocers (NCG), our buyers use their buying power to find the best products available at the most affordable prices for our owners and customers.

A sustainable model for access to wholesome food

Products we don’t sell

Contain artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners, or colors

Contain artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners, or colors

Contain synthetic hormones such as RBST and RBGH

Contain synthetic hormones such as RBST and RBGH

Contain high fructose corn syrup

Contain high fructose corn syrup

Contain monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Contain monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Contain hydrogenated oils

Contain hydrogenated oils

Are produced with unfair, unsafe or inhumane labor practices

Are produced with unfair, unsafe or inhumane labor practices

Use animal testing

Use animal testing

Use hormones or preventative use of antibiotics

Use hormones or preventative use of antibiotics

Sourcing & labeling products

GMO policy

To educate consumers and allow them the freedom to make their own choices, we use the following coded shelf tag system for all products at the co-op:

Green = Locally produced within our watershed. See definitions below.
Yellow = Organic and non-GMO products
White = Product may contain GMO ingredients

A product is considered to be GMO-free when it is:

  • Certified organic
  • Certified non-GMO by the non-GMO project
  • Has written documentation of GMO-free status provided by the manufacturer/farmer. This includes product labeling.
  • Does not contain any high risk GMO crops as described by the non-GMO project.

If a product does not meet one of these four criteria, we assume it may contain GMOs and give it a white shelf tag. GBCFC buyers review potential new products for GMO status and make a determination prior to bringing them into the co-op.

GMO policy

Our Signage Indicators

Look for these icons and tags throughout our store to help you identify items with special sourcing, certification, or dietary-friendly information.

Local

Local

We define Local as those products that are produced within our foodshed. We define our foodshed as the watershed (or drainage basin) of the Truckee, Carson, and Walker Rivers. Water is the geographical lifeblood of our community and all farmers in the Great Basin share this scarce resource and have to keep it clean for everyone to thrive.

Regional

Regional

We define Regional as those products grown or produced from our neighboring watershed(s) out to a 200 mile radius that are sold directly to the Co-op.

USDA Organic

USDA Organic

Organic - USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.

Nevada Direct

Nevada Direct

Nevada Direct refers to those products produced and directly purchased from producers within the state of Nevada.

GBCFC Approved

GBCFC Approved

GBCFC approved applies to local farms, ranches, and products that are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, toxic pesticides, genetically modified seed, or other toxic substances. We call a farm GBCFC Approved when the farm exhibits practices that foster a living soil and a commitment to growing nutritionally dense foods. All GBCFC Approved entities are either certified organic or have an initial site visit by GBCFC. The National Organic Program’s List of Allowable and Prohibited Substances is our baseline when considering the use of agricultural substances. After the initial application process and site visit, producers commit to informing us if their practices change since their most recent application.

Biodynamic

Biodynamic

Biodynamic is an inherently organic farming model focused on treating soil health, plant growth, and livestock care as equal parts an ecologically interrelated system. This regenerative method, first developed in 1924, remains a truly “beyond organic” model dedicated to biodiversity and land stewardship through ancient and alternative practices. Demeter USA is currently the only Biodynamic certifying agent in America.

Vegan Friendly

Vegan Friendly

The Co-op is not a certified Vegan handling facility, but we are committed to providing vegan options that fit the diet’s parameters. This means that products labeled Vegan friendly do not contain flesh, fish, fowl, dairy products, eggs, honey, and animal gelatin.

Gluten Free Friendly

Gluten Free Friendly

The Co-op is not a certified gluten-free handling facility, but we are committed to providing options that reflect the diet’s parameters. Products labeled Gluten-Free Friendly do not contain any gluten or ingredients that contain gluten. Please note while we do work to minimize cross contamination, our gluten free friendly products are made in a bakery that uses and stores gluten containing flours.

Paleo Friendly

Paleo Friendly

The Co-op is not a certified Paleo handling facility, but we are committed to providing options that reflect the diet’s parameters. Products labeled Paleo friendly consist primarily of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and paleo approved sweetener — while excluding dairy, grains, and processed foods.

Green

Green

Locally produced!! Products with a green shelf tag are produced within our foodshed.

Yellow

Yellow

Products with a yellow shelf tag are non-GMO and/or organic.

White

White

Products with a white shelf tag may contain GMO ingredients.

Product Buying Hierarchy

When purchasing products, we prioritize local and regional organics at the top and then work our way down the pyramid from there.

Product Buying Hierarchy

Take a tour of our Food System

This interactive map shows the locations of the local, regional, and Nevada direct farms, ranches, and artisans that directly supply the Great Basin Community Food Co-op.

Cultivating direct, personal relationships with the people that produce our food and nurturing our food system is the heart of why we exist.

Take a tour of our Food System

Local vs. Regional

The black outline around Reno shows our local watershed or "foodshed." Anything produced within this black outline that is sold directly to the co-op is considered local. The concentric circles around Reno, mark the 100 mile, 150 mile, and 200 mile radius that we consider regional. Any producer within 200 miles of the co-op that we have a direct purchasing relationship with is considered regional. We expect the same transparent--safe growing practices from these producers that we do from our local folks.

Local vs. Regional

Healthier ecosystems mean a healthier community

We believe that if we are good stewards of our watershed, we will find ourselves living in a healthier ecosystem and our community will be better nourished. By nurturing and growing our local food system, we provide more sustenance at home and simultaneously reduce the tendency to exploit other watersheds.

Healthier ecosystems mean a healthier community

More on Our Definitions

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  • What is Sustainable? Previously known as “Natural”

    We recognize sustainable as those farms or products that are grown or produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, toxic pesticides, genetically modified seed, or other toxic substances. We call a farm sustainable when the producer exhibits practices that foster a living soil and provide a spectrum of vitamins and minerals to the food being produced.

  • What is Organic?

    USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible. Produce can be called organic if it's grown in soil/land that has no prohibited substances applied to it for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. For meat to get an organic certification, animals must be raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones. When it comes to processed, multi-ingredient foods, the USDA organic standards specify additional considerations. Regulations prohibit organically processed foods from containing artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors and require that their ingredients are organic, with some minor exceptions. For example, processed organic foods may contain some approved non-agricultural ingredients, like enzymes in yogurt, pectin in fruit jams, or baking soda in baked goods.

  • What is a Food System?

    A food system includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items.

  • What is “All Natural”?

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a product “natural” when that product contains no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a way that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).

  • What is a GMO? (Genetically Modified Organism)

    GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. GMO free does not mean the product is free of pesticides or herbicides.

  • Hybrid, Open Pollinated, & Heirloom

    Hybrid: Varieties created by crossing two separate varieties to achieve desirable characteristics. A hybrid tomato may have been bred to have excellent disease resistance, produce uniform, prolific fruit, or have superior flavor. If you sow the seeds from a hybrid, the resulting fruit may revert to the characteristics of one of its parents. The slicing tomatoes from Lattin Farms are a hybrid variety and they are certified organic. Pluots, apriums, plumcots, and other fruit crosses are also hybrids. Open-Pollinated: Varieties of plants that are pollinated naturally by wind or insects without human intervention. Saved seed will be true to the original variety. Heirloom: An open-pollinated variety that has been passed down through the generations for at least 50 years.

Everyone is welcome

Become a member-owner during your next visit to the co-op