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Organic Consumers Association

Update - Help Us Find the Top Ten ‘Right-to-Know’ Grocers!

  • By Patrick Kerrigan
    Organic Consumers Association, May 9th, 2013

UPDATE! New nominations as of May 7th, 2013.

We all know which companies and brands spent millions last year in California to defeat our right to know about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We’ve outed them, criticized them and boycotted them. Now it’s time to support those companies, large and small, that do support our right to know. And we need your help finding them!
 
If your retailer labels GMOs, or refuses to carry products that contain GMOs, please let us know. We’ll add your store to our list of nominees for the Top Ten ‘Right-to-Know’ Grocers.

To nominate your store, please email patrick@organicconsumers.org with a subject line containing your name, the name of the store you are nominating, and the date. In your email, please include:

•name and address of your store
•link to the store’s website
•name of the owner or manager and how we can contact him or her (to verify their policies)
•brief explanation of what your store is doing right, along with a timeline if your store is in the process of instituting new policies regarding GMOs or labeling
•permission to publish your comments (not required, but please let us know!)
•If possible, a digital photo of the store and/or store owner or manager

Across the country and all of North America, organic consumers are pressing co-ops and natural food stores to ban GMO-tainted "natural" products, or at least to label them, and to instead promote healthy, organic and local products. In response, many retailers are doing the right thing. But others are dragging their heels.

The Organic Consumers Association wants to acknowledge and promote the best practices of those retailers who are doing their best to promote organic and non-GMO products. So we’re asking organic consumers everywhere to nominate co-ops, farmers markets, natural and health food stores that are doing a great job of supporting consumers’ right to know about GMOs and other ingredients that don’t belong in our food.

About the contest

1) Deadline for submissions is midnight, Wed., May 15. Winners will be announced May 30.

2) OCA will verify all testimonials and nominations, through public statements about the store’s GMO-free labeling policy and practices, including policies regarding removing products containing GMOs from the store.

3) OCA will interview the owners or management of all top ten retailers to verify nomination comments.

4) OCA will provide periodic updates on stores that have been nominated, including consumer comments about those stores.

Who’s Been Nominated So Far?
May 7th Update!

Here are some of the nominees, along with excerpts from comments by consumers who nominated them.

Alameda Natural Grocery – Alameda, Calif. (2 nominations)

“They and their staff were gung ho on the Right to Know act. They posted signs on the doors, rallied support from the other merchants, gave out leaflets, etc. Alameda Natural Grocery has events and talks from cooking to knife sharpening to showing Queen of the Sun and Q&A with the local beekeepers. They have beehives on the roof! It's quite a local, sustainable, cultural hot spot.”

*NEW* Alberta Co-Op Grocery - Portland, Ore.

"I LOVE THIS CO-OP! This is a small, locally-owned, team-run, grassroots cooperative, and very much a beloved part of the Northeast Portland community.  I noticed that the NE Alberta co-op was not listed, and it deserves to be!"

-    Nominated by Kathryn TenHoopen

Alfalfa's Market - Boulder, Colo.

"Alfalfa’s was the only market to come out against GMOs and For labeling non GMO products in Boulder.  They even gave classes on the subject and hung huge posters in front of the market saying "No GMOS on Boulder Open Space!"  They label non GMO and Local products in their store once they know who they are! I only shop at Alfalfas, I trust them!"

-    Nominated by Dorothy Tucker

Alternative Food Co-Op – Wakefield, R.I.

“When the list came out of organic companies with parent companies that funded opposition to GMO labeling in California this wonderful store immediately took items made by those companies off their shelves. ‘If we could afford to we would send them back,’ a man who works there told me.”

-    Nominated by Helen Jankoski

Ashland Food Co-Op - Ashland, Ore. (2nominations)

"Annie Hoy, the Outreach/Owner Services Manager for the Ashland Food Co-opAnnie has organized a team of co-op volunteers to do a complete audit of their multi-ingredient packaged foods. They flagged everything that had a potential GMO ingredient among the first three ingredients and contacted the company to determine whether it was GMO. They'll be publishing the results of their audit soon, and the next step will be to let the members decide whether they want to continue carrying a known GMO or discontinue/find alternatives. The work they're doing is especially exciting, as the Ashland Food Co-Op will likely have eliminated most GMOs from its store in advance of the May 2014 Jackson County ballot initiative to ban GMO crops from the county."

Berkshire Organics – Dalton, Mass. (5 nominations)

“Check out this feature article about a local grocer who we featured as a MA Right to Know GMOs Network hero: They've actively ELIMINATED GE foods from their shelves!”

-    Nominated by Martin Dagoberto

Cliff's Country Market – Caldwell, Idaho

“After getting educated on the reality of GMOs in our food supply several months ago, I made the decision to eliminate all the GMOs that I could from our inventory and to label all of our products for their GMO status.  We have two bakeries in store, a regular bakery and a gluten-free bakery.  We have changed our ingredients so that all of our bakery products are made from 100% Non-GMO sourced ingredients.”

-    Nominated by Cliff Metcalf, owner/manager

Community Market – Santa Rosa, Calif.


“I've been shopping at Community Market since its first incarnation as the Santa Rosa Co-op, several decades, and a few different buildings, back. All the produce is labelled with its organic status and the region (often farm) of origin; the bulk items as well, whether organic and GMO-free. If they aren't sure, they say so. Good store, good people. A real community asset.”

Cooperstown Natural Foods – Cooperstown, N.Y.

‘It's a great asset to our community. I eat out of the store completely and I can trust they have done everything to make sure the food is safe. Nice people, nice store. Thank you for caring and the work you are doing.”

-    Nominated by Jeanne Koenigsreuter

*NEW* Dad's Organic Market - 2 locations in Saskatchewan, Canada

"It is my absolute pleasure to nominate Dad's Organics in Regina, Saskatchewan. The manager of the store Dave is very dedicated to searching out not only GMO products and finding a healthier substitute, but also has an eye on improving the quality of other products as well, for instance being on the lookout for unhealthy preservatives. He wants the best products and is willing to put in the work to accomplish such. I feel Dave is Ultra-valuable and extremely passionate about making the necessary changes to ensure that Dads Organics continues to upgrade into a store that is much more than a place to buy so-called health food, and will actually provide the essentials to living a healthy lifestyle, not just gimmicks."

Debra’s Natural Gourmet – Concord, Mass.

“Debra's Natural Gourmet has always offered organic produce and the finest natural products and supplements.  Debra's heavily supports and promotes local producers who meet their product quality criteria. Their ever-increasing inventory, even before GMOs grabbed headlines, is routinely reviewed to verify that unacceptable ingredients are not offered to their discerning demanding clientele.  Debra's screened our food for quality and purity LONG before unnatural ingredients became a newsworthy threat.“

-    Nominated by Ying Cooper

Down to Earth Organic and Natural - 5 stores in Hawaii (31 nominations)

“DTE is adamant about keeping GMOs out of their store, and they inform their customers. They meticulously label all of their produce, and meticulously screen all of their products. I know that DTE has done the homework on the contents of the products and I do not have to worry that I am consuming something I don't know about. If not for DTE, my choices would be circumscribed because I don't have the time or the inclination to do that kind of research myself.”
 
-    Nominated by Alethea

The Downtown Farm Stand – Muncie Ind. (3 nominations)

“Dave Ring and his wife Sara opened the farm stand 5 years ago - and have kept it going - while remaining totally true to their originating mission of increasing awareness of and interest in organic locally produced food - for the betterment of us local consumers - and the local producers. They have remained steadfast in this purpose, while growing their small urban grocery bit by bit - when I am sure it would have been awfully easy at many different times - to switch over to a model of "Holy Cow - how can we make a little more money around here??".

-    Nominated by Steve Robert

Durango Natural Foods Co-Op - Durango, Colo.

"Durango Natural Foods Co-op  at 575 E. 8th Ave. Durango, Colorado 81301
is in the process of labeling all non-gmo products and will not bring in any products that contain gmos.  They are also removing gmo containing products from the shelves and replacing them with non gmo products.
They don't necessarily have a timeline for the completion of this but are devoting as many labor hours as possible to accomplish the labeling asap."

-    Nominated by Brian Gaddy

Food & Thought – Naples, Fla.

 “Their motto is 'Militantly organic so you can shop in peace.' All food 100% organic including most produce from their own organic (USDA certified) farm 20 miles away.   They even have a cafe that serves all organic meals every day. Food & Thought is truly Naples' own organic oasis, and the reason we moved to Naples from Chicago 3 years ago.”

-    Nominated by SueEllen Muller

*NEW* Food Conspiracy Co-Op - Tucson, Ariz.

"They have great local produce, local eggs, lots of vegan options even at the hot bar, the best bulk selection (including bulk pet food which I love), my favorite tea, and the people who work there are awesome, but most importantly, they do not carry ANY GMO products. And this week one of their former managers even hosted an event right up the road called "The Politics of GMOs" which benefitted the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. And I love being able to shop at a truly local store instead of a chain like Whole Foods which seems to be unable to resist the big money and big suppliers which tends to translate to products containing GMOs."

-    Nominated by Kelly B.

Gary Null's Uptown Whole Foods - New York, N.Y

“Gary's store only sells organic produce and buys as much as possible from local (as local as you can get since we are in Manhattan) small organic farmers.  I know the staff reviews every label of other foods and rejects all GMOs or products suspected of GMOs (like listing canola or high fructose corn syrup and the like).”

-    Nominated by Richard Gale

Good Earth Natural Foods – Fairfax, Calif. (4 nominations)

“Mark has been an owner and manager of Good Earth Natural Foods in Fairfax California for the last 36 years. Good Earth has been a leader in promoting and marketing organically grown foods for much of this time and has been a model for many other stores in the US. Prior to his involvement with retailing, Mark managed his family’s farm in North Carolina and transitioned it to organics. As a member of California Certified Organic Farmers Board of Directors from 1983 to 1988, representing CCOF’s North Coast Chapter (Sonoma & Marin), he helped to write some of the original organic certification standards still in use nationally.”


Health Trail Natural Foods - Newport News, Va.

"This store has a no-GMO policy. All products they sell are organic, they have organic produce, meat, and dairy including from local farms. Has many many great books on sale about the danger of GMOs, about healthy diets, and how to cure diseases with proper diet. The store showed the biggest support for Prop 37 in California than any other store in the area: they had a big display panel explaining the need to support this ballot and had a one-day event where they gave all the profit of the day sale to support Prop. 37."

-    Nominated by Gianluigi Ciovati

*NEW* in.gredients - Austin, Texas

"As a store dedicated to real, healthy food the staff of in.gredients evaluates each product to verify that it contains only real, GMO-free ingredients. in.gredients is a zero-waste, package free community grocery store, providing the neighborhood with real food that gives the customer peace of mind knowing they're eating high quality, local ingredients. By sourcing a majority of the products from Texas, in.gredients staff works closely with farmers, ranchers and vendors in the area to make sure that our customers are getting the best products that Texas has to offer."

-    Nominated by Chelsea Davis

Island Naturals Market and Deli – 3 stores in Hawaii

“Beginning October 1st, Island Naturals Markets will no longer knowingly bring in any new products that may contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Island Naturals will review each new product for ingredients that are likely to contain GMOs. For the most part, this means no soy, corn, canola, or derivatives of soy and corn, unless they are organic or labeled Non-GMO. We hope other markets of all kinds will follow similar standards, so we can use consumer pressure to reduce the presence of GMOs, which are unregulated and unlabeled, in our food supply. “

Jimbo's Naturally - 4 stores in Southern California.  (4 nominations)

“Jimbo’s Naturally in Escondido is where I do a lot of my shopping (besides my local CSA and Primal Pasture’s in Temecula for eggs and chicken). They have four other stores though, and are completely committed to the Non-GMO project. They even provide a non-GMO shopping list”

-    Nominated by Shelly Hackspiel

Kimberton Whole Foods – Kimberton, PA

“KWF strongly supports the NON-GMO Project.  Throughout the store facts and information can be found that make our customers aware of the health and safety risks that can occur from consuming products containing GMO’s.  There are also signs throughout the store that identify products that are NON-GMO and as manufacturers begin to include this verification logo KWF will be certain to have those products on the shelf.”

-    Nominated by Pamela Luton

Love Whole Foods Cafe & Market - Ormond Beach, Fla.

"We’ve been shopping organic at Love Whole Foods for nearly 20 years. They have always been out front in recommending and selling nutritious and healthy food and in campaigning against BGH, GMO products, and other dangerous food items and processes. The owner has sponsored workshops and lectures and has spoken himself at public meetings on how to maintain and improve one’s health."

-    Nominated by Anthony Erlich

Mile High Organics – Home delivery of organic and GMO free foods in Colorado includes Front Range, Denver to Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.

“This company is an online grocer that delivers to your door. They are Colorado's only all organic and Non- GMO grocer. Check them out!”

-    Nominated by Sj Struckmeyer

MOM's Organic Market - Ten locations throughout Md. and Va. (9 nominations)

"MOM’s Organic Market started in the garage of owner Scott Nash and has grown into a brand that (in my opinion) surpasses them all, even my once beloved Whole Foods. MOM’s has managed to combine the trendy feel of a national chain with the funky vibe of your local health food store to create a wonderful shopping experience. From 100% organic produce to locally sourced items like bread, cheese, coffee and soaps, MOM’s has everything I need. And GMOs – MOM’s has never nor will ever knowingly stock products with them. MOM’s is my trusted source, my favorite place to shop!"

-    Nominated by Joan Matthews

The Natural Grocery Company – Berkeley, Calif. (14 nominations)

“We no longer carry any commercial items. The Organic Industry has changed and grown to the point where there is enough supply and variety of produce items that we can carry only organic. Our commitment to organic has always been strong but we felt that we needed to balance it with our customers‘ needs for items that were not available organically. We now feel that we are able to do both by carrying only organic.”

Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Market - San Diego, CA (2 nominations)

 "People's does not carry any products that contain GMO's. Not only that but a majority of their products are organic, lots of local products, no products containing high fructose corn syrup and no products that are tested on animals. People's is member owned and the staff and volunteers are friendly and knowledgeable. The building is also "green" and they offer lots of free events to the community. I love People's!!"

-    Nominated by Kristin Palmejar

Out of the Box Collective – Farm-to-Table home delivery service, Los Angeles, Calif.

Out of the Box Collective is LA's farm to table home delivery service.  We source clean, local food from stewards of the land (including farmers, ranchers raising grass-fed animals, local artisans, and sustainable wine-makers) and produce meal plans with recipes to help our customers learn how to cook with these ingredients.  To win the battle against processed foods, America has to get back into the kitchen, home cooking with ingredients from the local food shed.  Out of the Box Collective supports our customers in getting back into the kitchen, and supports our local economy by keeping food dollars in the community -- in particular supporting stewards of the land -- most of them certified organic, but all of them using organic practices.”

-    Nominated by Jennifer Piette, founder

*NEW* Park Slope Food Co-Op - Brooklyn, N.Y.

"As a member, I am proud of the work that the PSFC is doing.  Over 16,000 active members now, the PSFC is a non-profit, and is dedicated to health and the community.  It has signage throughout the store about the Non-GMO project, and there is a dedicated committee for labelling non-GMOs on the price tag, blog here: http://gmodanger.wordpress.com/."

PCC Natural Market – 10 food co-ops in and around Seattle, Wash. (12 nominations)

The PCC Markets in greater Seattle fill the bill.  This is a consumer-owned co-op and it is organic and everything one would want in a store. Best suggestion is to go to their website pccnaturalmarkets.com to see what they are about. I have absolutely no complaints and only praise for their stores.”

-    Nominated by Judy Kreloff

Rainbow Grocery - San Francisco, Calif. (5 nominations)

"Rainbow has no owner: it has been worker owned since the 70s. They have always boycotted gmos, and though I find this stuff out on the web quickly, Rainbow is often the first place I learn that a food company has been taken over by a corporate parent and has started using gmos. I have been SO LUCKY to be able to shop at rainbow for 30+ years. I trust them completely to stay informed about where the food they sell comes from, and to continually examine the best sources for the freshest, most local, healthiest food I can put into my body."

-    Nominated by Wendy Bardsley

Roots Market – 2 locations in Maryland

“Roots has been about doing things as naturally and locally as possible from when they first opened their doors in 2000. We've been customers of their store (now stores) since the beginning and as their selection has grown, their "local, natural, community store" feeling has not changed. They have a fantastic selection of just about anything you can think of, excellent prepared foods and a very friendly and helpful staff. The even have "sample Saturdays" So you can try out all sorts of samples of things throughout the store. It's always been a fun place for our family to go and they really tow the line on healthy products and keeping their customers informed!”

-    Nominated by Chris Paris

Sunspot Natural Market – Kokomo, Ind. (5 nominations)

“Hello, I shop at Sunspot Natural Market in Kokomo Indiana.  It is owned by Joan Johnson. They have Non-GMO project verified products as well as USDA certified organic products all over the store.  They put out information about GMO's and celebrate non GMO month.  I believe they also donate to the Non-GMO project and have had educational seminars with Seed saver Maurice "Mo" Parr (Monsanto sued him) and PhD (former gene splicer) Kent Blackligde.”

-    Nominated by Bob Johnson

Terra Organica – Bellingham, Wash. (7 nominations)

“The owner is Stephen Trinkhaus, a determined, caring, and courageous guy.  Stephen has been labeling items that are likely to contain GMOs throughout the store.  One of the many things we admire about this is that Terra Organica has been severely affected by the economy in the last year and Stephen made a public appeal asking for more shoppers to keep the market afloat.  The community responded beautifully, and though still not out of the woods, things are looking much better.  So we think labeling potential GMO items throughout his store is quite a courageous move given the plight Terra Organica has been through.  It's a shining example of Stephen's dedication and commitment to clean, safe food.”

-    Nominated by Maria & Geoffrey Knight

Tidal Creek Co-Op Food Market – Wilmington, NC

“Tidal Creek has been instrumental in letting its customers know about products which may cause concern, carefully vetting everything they sell, and publishing a wonderful newsletter which clearly and thoughtfully explains many issues around organic products and their safeguards or non-safeguards.  They also host excellent educational events for the community, and support local farmers and artisans.  I can shop there with confidence that my choices are reasonable and do not support harmful industry trends.”

-    Nominated by Joanne Peck

Trader Joe's - nationwide chain (17 nominations)

“Trader Joes has to be the best store I know that doesn't use GMOs. Supposedly all of the Trader Joes brands contain no GMOs or dyes. They are sensitive to our concerns.”

-    Nominated by Karen Jensen

Other nominees

Annie's Buying Club - Online Delivery, Fla.

Azure Standard - Online Delivery, Ore. (3 nominations)

Basics Cooperative Natural Foods – Janesville, Wisc.

Berkeley Bowl - Berkeley, Calif. (2 nominations)

Berkeley Natural Grocery Co – Albany, Calif.

Bi-Rite Grocery - 2 locations in San Francisco, Calif. (2 nominations)

Blossom Organic Grocery – Lopez Island, Wash.

Briar Patch Co-Op - Grass Valley, Calif. (2 nominations)

Capella's Market - Eugene, Ore. (3 nominations)

Cedar Circle Farmstead and Education Center – East Thetford, Vt.

Central Co-Op - Seattle, Wash.

Chautauqua Natural Foods - Garberville, Calif.

Chico Natural Foods Co-Op – Chico, Calif.

Common Market Philadelphia – Philadelphia, Penn.

Community Food Co-Op – 2 locations near Bellingham, Wash.

Community Market Natural Foods - Santa Rosa, Calif. (2 nominations)

Co-Opportunity – Santa Monica, Calif.

Dean's Natural Food Market - 3 locations in N.J.

Deep Roots Market - Greensboro, N.C.

DeKalb County Farmer's Market - Decatur, Ga.

Earth Fare - 30 stores in Ala., Fla., Ga., Ind., Ky., N.C., Ohio, S.C., and Tenn. (2 nominations)

Family Natural Foods – Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Farmer and the Cook – Ojai, Calif.

Food Front Co-Op - Portland, Ore. (2 nominations)

Food Works Natural Market - 3 locations in Conn.

Fruitful Yield Health Foods - 11 locations in the Chicago area

Garden of Light – Avon, Conn.

Gerrard's Market - Redlands, Calif.

Goodwin's Organic Foods & Drinks
- Riverside, Calif. (2 nominations)

The Good Food Store - Missoula, Mont.

Good Tern Natural Foods Co-Op – Rockland, Maine

*NEW* Goodness Me! Natural Food Market - 5 locations in Ontario, Canada

*NEW* Great Basin Community Food Co-Op - Reno, Nev.

Green Earth Market - San Francisco, Calif.

Green Grocer Dallas – Dallas, Tex. (2 nominations)

Green Polka Dot Box – Online Delivery

Grower’s Market – Eugene, Ore.

*NEW* Harvest Health Foods - 3 locations in Mich.

The Health Nut - Callao, Va.

*NEW* The Healthy Grocer - Camp Hill, Penn.

Healthy Home Marketplace - Charlotte, N.C.

Hiller's Market – 7 stores around Detroit, Mich. (4 nominations)

Hungry Hollow Co-Op - Spring Valley, N.Y.

Kroger's – Nationwide Chain (2 nominations)

La Montanita Co-Op - 5 locations around Albuquerque, N.M. (2 nominations)

Lazy Acres Market - 2 locations in Southern Calif.

Let It Grow Produce - Winston-Salem, N.C.

LifeSource Natural Foods - Salem, Ore.

Longview Center for Agriculture - Collegeville, Pa.

Mana Foods – Maui, Hawaii

Maple Avenue Market – Vienna, Va.

Marlene's Market & Deli - 2 locations in Wash.


Marquette Food Co-Op – Marquette, MI

Martindale's Natural Market - Springfield, Pa. (3 nominations)

Massachusetts Local Food Co-Op - Sterling, Mass.

Meijer's – Grocery Chain, Mich. (2 nominations)

Mother's Market & Kitchen - 7 locations in Calif.

Naked Sprout Organic Market - Lockport, IL

Native Sun Natural Foods - 2 locations in Jacksonville, Fla. (3 nominations)

Natural Living – Antigo, Wis.

Nature's Garden Delivered - Delivery to areas around Atlanta, Ga.

Nature’s Green Grocer Market – Peterborough, N.H.

*NEW* New Frontiers Natural Market - 5 locations in Ariz.

New Leaf Community Markets - 7 locations in Calif. (8 nominations)

New Seasons Market - 12 locations in Ore. and Wash.

North Coast Co-Op – 2 locations in Calif. (4 nominations)

Nourish Organic Market - Grand Rapids, Mich.

Oceana Natural Foods Co-Op - Newport, Ore.

Oliver’s Market – 3 locations in Calif.

*NEW* Olympia Food Co-Op - 2 locations in Olympia, Wash.

Organic Carrot – Sandstone, Minn.

Organic Roots - Temecula, Calif.

Oryana Natural Foods Market – Traverse City, Mich. (2 nominations)

Palmyra Natural Foods - Palmyra, Pa.

People's Food Co-Op - Ann Arbor, Mich.

People's Food Co-Op – Portland, Ore.

Red Radish - Neenah, Wisc.

River Valley Market - Northampton, Mass. (2 nominations)

Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op – Sacramento, Calif. (2 locations)

Sevananda Natural Foods Market - Atlanta, Ga.

ShopOrganic.com - Online Delivery, Ariz.

ShopRite – Multiple locations

Sundance Natural Foods - Eugene, Ore. (2 nominations)

Sunseed Food Co-Op – Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery – Greenville, S.C.

Sydney's Health Market - Fargo N.D./Moorhead, Minn.

The Wedge Community Co-Op - Minneapolis, Minn.

Upper Valley Food Co-Op – White River Junction, Vt. (2 locations)

Viroqua Food Co-Op
- Viroqua, Wisc. (2 nominations)

Westerly Natural Market - New York, N.Y.

Whole Earth Center – Princeton, N.J.

Whole Foods Market – National Chain (2 nominations)

*NEW* The Wild Weasel - Dodgeville, Wisc.

Willy Street Co-Op
- Madison, Wisc.


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