Applying to become a producer of Massachusetts Local Food
1. Join the cooperative. Producer applications are only accepted from co-op members.
2. There are separate procedures and application forms depending on whether you intend to sell FOOD or NON-FOOD items. If you intend to sell both food and non-food items, you must complete both applications.
3. To sell food through the Co-op, login as a member and click on the Producer Application Form at the bottom of the page.
4. At this time, the non-food producer form is not available.
5. Your application automatically goes to the co-op’s Standards Committee, which will review your application and contact you with any questions. The Standards Committee may ask for more information, and may visit your farm or business before approving your application.
6. The Standards Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors regarding accepting your application to become a producer. The Board votes on each application to approve it.
7. Producer members of the cooperative are required to follow all of our cooperative procedures, and must have a working email address.
8. As part of the application process, you or a representative of your farm or business must attend and volunteer at one of the monthly delivery days before your products can be sold through the cooperative.
9. If any licenses or certificates are required for your product (e.g. license for the sale of milk, health department inspection certificate for a kitchen, etc.) we must receive a copy of those documents before approving your application. Copies of your current licenses or certificates should be mailed to Massachusetts Local Food, 114 Coburn Avenue, Gardner, MA 01440.
10. The approval process takes between 2 and 4 weeks to complete. If you are not accepted as a producer, at your request we will cancel your membership and refund your membership payment.
11. By submitting an application to become a producer, you agree to our Terms of Service and our Producer Procedures.
12. Existing food producers of the Cooperative who wish to add non-food products must complete the non-food producer application. Existing non-food producers of the Cooperative who wish to add food products must complete the food producer application. The Standards Committee will then review the application for conformity to our standards and accept or deny the application. If denied, the producer may appeal to the Board or the co-op’s Arbitration process.
By joining the cooperative, you agree that you understand the following statement and Terms of Service:
Acting as the agent of producer members, Massachusetts Local Food posts and publicizes the products that Massachusetts producers have for sale, receive orders, provides a way for products to be delivered to other members of the cooperative, collect from the customers and forwards the payments to producers.
Acting as the agent for customer members, we provide them a catalog of available local food products that includes information about how and where the product was grown and processed. We receive their orders and notify the appropriate producers, arrange for the food to be delivered, receive and process their payments. For both producers and customer members, we provide a basic screening of products and producers based on our published parameters, and education and training regarding the use and the advantages of local foods.
For some of our producer members, we are agents that facilitate farm gate sales of their products. For other producer members, we facilitate off-farm sales or sales of processed products.
The essential business of the cooperative is to provide a marketplace where willing buyers and sellers can meet. At no time does the cooperative ever have title to any of the products. We have no inventory. The products that go through our distribution system are owned either by the producer, or by the customer who purchases “title” to the product from the producer. All complaints should first be brought to the attention of the producer, unless it is a situation where the cooperative itself is at fault (such as broken eggs due to poor packing). If a successful resolution cannot be found by the affected producer and customer members, the cooperative’s arbitration procedure can be invoked.