The story of Harvest Cooperative Markets Posted 03/19/2017

Where have we come from?

Harvest Co-op Markets started in 1971 as the Boston University Student Union Food Co-op on the BU Campus. It was typical of the time – a member-only pre-order co-op providing access to natural and organic foods in the form of bags of rice, beans, grains, and whatever organic vegetables were available at the time. Cambridge Food Co-op opened in 1975, started by community activists and some Boston Food Co-op members. In 1992 financial challenges for the Cambridge co-op resulted in the Boston Food Co-op essentially taking over the Cambridge store, and inviting its members to join the Boston Food Co-op.

A member contest was held to name the new combined organization, kicking off our time as Harvest Cooperative Supermarkets. A year later we could proudly announce that the organization as a whole had ended its first year in the black – Harvest was off to a good start. Change has continued to be the constant through the following 20+ years. Stores opened, closed, and moved in response to changes in our communities and market forces, and innumerable products have come and gone from the shelves.

Where are we now?

Harvest Co-op today is a community owned cooperative food market with two locations; one in Cambridge, and one in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. We also lease space in Somerville for administrative offices.

Basic details of our operations are as follows:

Harvest is focused on reconnecting with its diverse communities as a vibrant source for local, natural, organic and accessible food choices. The Co-op has been a part of the community vista for over 40 years. The retail grocery market in Boston and Cambridge is robust yet diverse in its offerings and formats. Harvest, as a community owned Co-op, strives to reflect the communities it serves while remaining distinct in the marketplace as a responsive, democratically run grocery service.

The Co-op is focused on growing its sales, improving the value of ownership, and strengthening its financial performance. Developing staff and systems is a vital part of making the Co-op a robust grocery service for local, organic and natural foods in the Boston/ Cambridge.Harvest is focused on reconnecting with its diverse communities as a vibrant source for local, natural, organic and accessible food choices. The Co-op has been a part of the community vista for over 40 years. The retail grocery market in Boston and Cambridge is robust yet diverse in its offerings and formats. Harvest, as a community owned Co-op, strives to reflect the communities it serves while remaining distinct in the marketplace as a responsive, democratically run grocery service.

Where are we looking to go?

Looking ahead to the next twenty-five years, we believe Harvest has vast potential for increased impact through strong connections to our mission and community. We envision being at the forefront of the food cooperative industry, setting national standards for our colleagues and communities. Locally, we will be a cultural hub and a valued resource for healthy, sustainable, and peaceable living.

What might the details look like? In a community of this size, we can imagine growing membership and a greater physical presence in the Greater Boston community, offering more communities access to healthy food with integrity. We see potential for creative innovation – enhancing our ability to create learning opportunities around health and wellness.

For applicants from other area, here are some recommended links for learning about the Boston and Cambridge communities:

http://www.improper.com/

http://scoutcambridge.com/

https://www.boston.com/

http://sparechangenews.net/

http://www.wgbh.org/

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580 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 617-661-1580
3815 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 617-405-5300
Open 7am - 10pm, 7 days a week
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