The food on our shelves:
1. Is grown or created within the states of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (DC, VA, MD, PA, DE, WV and NY) by partners who treat their land, their animals and their ingredients with respect.
We work hard to grow small businesses along with our own. Toward that end, we’ve launched dozens of local food businesses, giving those producers their very first chance to sell their products on our shelves. As a small business ourselves, we understand well the challenges of standing up a food business. Accordingly, we allow our small, local vendors a five-year, post-launch window to comply with the standards articulated below, and we work with and empower them to produce Good Food Close By.
When we source products that are important to rounding out our product mix, but which are not being grown or created within our Watershed, we specifically seek out items that meet our high standards of quality and environmental stewardship. We do not compete great, locally made products against non-indigenous national brands.
If products come from beyond the Watershed, but are domestically produced, we apply all of the standards articulated below. If they come from outside of the United States, they must meet all of our sustainability criteria, and we offset the transportation emissions incurred in their travels to our stores. Preference is granted to Fair Trade Certified products.
We have partnered with the Chesapeake Conservancy to invest in local projects to reduce the impacts of climate change and improve the vitality of the Chesapeake Bay. Those efforts are intended to offset the negative environmental impacts of bringing in a small set of mindfully sourced products from beyond our region.
2. Meets our high standards for taste and quality – as certified by our own Product Review Panel.
Our Product Review Panel is composed of longstanding members of our team, who we believe are best positioned to represent the needs and interests of our Neighbors. They consider taste, price point, packaging and narrative in their decision making process. Preference is granted to producers who respect seasonality and engage in efforts to promote resource conservation and mitigate the environmental impacts of production.
3. Was grown or produced using practices that minimize synthetic inputs including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, artificial flavors, additives or preservatives.
4. Was produced by vendors who respect and invest in their workforce, and actively work to improve their communities.
5. Our meat is raised humanely, without the use of antibiotics or hormones. Livestock’s feed was vegetarian and animals had access to the outdoors. Preference is granted to farmers that work to conserve resources, protect biodiversity and promote animal welfare.
6. Our produce was grown using farming practices that conserve resources, protect biodiversity and actively promote ecological vitality.
7. Our fish and shellfish comes from well-managed, environmentally responsible fisheries and farms. Farmed finfish must be fed a vegetarian diet.
We reassess our partnerships with established producers annually to ensure they are continuously meeting our sourcing standards and operating in a way that is consistent with our values.