The Mustard Seed has developed nine basic sourcing criteria. This is based on feedback we received from over 1,000 respondents in our spring 2012 online survey question and an October 2012 Sourcing Team consensus workshop.
Here is a summary of the sourcing priorities for The Mustard Seed.
- Local producers and manufacturers – the major themes of this group included supporting local producers and businesses, freshness, local ingredients, LocalFoodPlus (LFP) certification, and clear seasonality in offerings.
- Affordable Options – we will be looking for excellent prices on essentials and a variety of price options for other products so that The Mustard Seed is affordable for everyone.
- Wholesome and non-toxic ingredients – there was an emphasis on wholesome identifiable ingredients, foods that are nourishing, minimally processed or refined foods, minimal artificial additives or preservatives, no GMOs, and organic foods.
- Ecologically responsible practices – we will look for farms with organic or other environmentally sustainable farming practices, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, and other farming philosophies like biodynamics.
- Socially-responsible producers – we will consider sourcing from other co-ops and non-profits, fair wages for workers, Fair-Trade certification, independent businesses, and strong respect for human rights.
- Environmentally responsible packaging – includes minimal or no packaging, an emphasis on bulk, and packaging that is reusable, biodegradable, and recyclable.
- Ethical animal practices – the farmers and producers we support will employ good animal husbandry practices including free-range and minimal antibiotic use.
- Small-scale and innovative trials – we would like to offer a selection of products not found in mainstream supermarkets, such as heritage varieties and heirloom seeds, and empower local producers by supporting short-run trials of unique or innovative products.
- Alternative dietary options – includes sourcing foods appropriate for vegetarians, vegans, people with a specific food intolerance, and certified to religious standards.
With these characteristics in mind, the Sourcing Team has developed a prioritization matrix and an extensive database of suppliers who can stock our store. So far we have over 400 suppliers (farmers, manufacturers, processors) in our database, so don’t worry, you won’t be going hungry!