Buying Guidelines & Definitions


The Great Basin Community Food Cooperative, The GBCFC, is dedicated to serving as an access point for nutritious, wholesome, socially just, environmentally sound, locally grown, locally produced, organic, non-GMO, and delicious goods. Our purpose is to promote our local food system and to serve as a sustainable cooperative model for access to wholesome food. We are a full service grocery store providing produce, dairy, grocery, fresh and frozen meats & seafood, bulk foods, wellness items, beer & wine, prepared foods, and general merchandise. We will always purchase from local farms, local businesses, and larger independent companies whose practices are socially just and environmentally sound whenever possible. Our goal is to provide wholesome and nutritious food with affordable options while fairly paying farmers and producers and honoring the true cost of good food and its intrinsic values. This requires our buyers to carefully balance their purchasing power to find the best products available for the most affordable prices for our members and customers. Our goals also require that locally or regionally grown or produced product sales do not subsidize non local products and are sold at the lowest price possible while meeting department benchmarks as well as honoring requests of our local farmers and producers to the best of our ability.

We will not knowingly sell products that:

  • Contain artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners, or colors

  • Contain synthetic hormones such as RBST and RBGH

  • Contain high fructose corn syrup

  • Contain monosodium glutamate (MSG)

  • Contain hydrogenated oils

  • Are produced with unfair, unsafe or inhumane labor practices

  • Use animal testing

  • Use hormones or preventative use of antibiotics

The latest update of major corporate ownership from January of 2016 and involvement in the organic food sector is now out. The chart graphically focuses on the organic brands with ties to the top 25 food processors in North America:



Our store strives to provide GMO-free options whenever and wherever possible. Our preferred method for doing this is by sourcing certified organic products, which are inherently non-GMO as a requirement of organic certification. When organic is not an option, we will always choose non-GMO products when comparable options are available. We are committed to the removal of GMO foods from our food supply, but are not able to entirely eradicate GMO products from our store. To educate consumers and allow them the freedom to make their own choices, we voluntarily label all products at the co-op as either being “GMO-free” or “likely contains GMO ingredients.” A product is considered to be GMO-free when it is either 1) certified organic, 2)Certified non-GMO by the non-GMO project, 3) Has written documentation of GMO-free status provided by the manufacturer/farmer, or 4) Does not contain any high risk GMO crops as described by the non-GMO project:

If a product cannot meet one of these four criteria, it is assumed to contain GMOs, and is labeled as such. All GBCFC purchasers inspect all potential new products for GMO status, and labels them accurately when they are brought into the co-op.


As we do our purchasing, preference will be given to products according to the following guidelines:

Processed, Packaged, & Bulk Food: Local Organic > Regional Organic >Local GBCFC-approved> Regional GBCFC-approved> National Organic > National “All Natural”

Farmed Foods: Local Organic > Regional Organic>Local GBCFC-approved >Regional GBCFC-approved > National Organic >International Organic

[please see the “priority pyramid” below]


Our Signage Indicators


More on Our Definitions

What is Local?

The map below shows the location of the local farms that supply the Great Basin Community Food Co-op. [yes, it really needs to be updated, but we think its still a helpful visual]. Local means a lot of different things to different people, but to us it means a direct, personal relationship with farmers that share the same scarce resource of the Great Basin: water. Our “foodshed” is defined by our watershed – any water that flows into the Walker, Carson, or Truckee Rivers covers ground that we consider local. Water is the lifeblood of our community and all farms need to share it and keep it clean for everyone to thrive. In the bottom left you can see Reno surrounded by concentric circles to mark the 50 mile, 100 mile, and 200 mile surroundings of our city. Any farmer growing within that 200 mile radius that we have a direct relationship with is considered Regional Direct – these farms fit into the transparent, small scale, safe growing practices that we expect from our local farms, but are just outside our foodshed. When something is unavailable from our local foodshed, we source the item from as close as possible. We believe that if we are good stewards of our watershed, utilize sustainable growing practices, and produce the goods that are needed to sustain life from within our watershed, we will find ourselves to be living in a healthier ecosystem and that our community will be better nourished. By providing more sustenance at home for ourselves, we simultaneously reduce the tendency to exploit the watersheds of other locales and peoples.



What is Regional?

We define Regional Products as those grown or produced from our neighboring watershed out to a 200mile radius.

What is Sustainable? Previously known as “Natural”

We recognize sustainable as those farms or products that are grown or produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, toxic pesticides, genetically modified seed, or other toxic substances.  We call a farm sustainable when the producer exhibits practices that foster a living soil and provide a spectrum of vitamins and minerals to the food being produced. The producer’s application must be accepted by our local food distribution center, DROPP   We also require yearly site inspections, which must be documented by a staff member of the GBCFC.

What is Organic?

From the USDA website:  Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.  Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.  Consumer Information.

Learn about the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (PDF). This is the Act that established the National Organics Program and its authority to enforce agricultural products sold, labeled, or represented as “organic” within the U.S.  To be called or labeled certified organic, there are several standards that must be complied with. USDA Organic Regulations and certified organic status can be obtained through accredited certifying agents List of accredited certifying agents.  We are lucky to have our statewide certifying agent, the Nevada Department of Agriculture which has created its own Organic Certification Program and is accredited through the USDA National Organic Program .

What is a Food System?

A food system includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food and food-related item.

What is “All Natural”?

All Natural: The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a product “natural” when that product contains no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a way that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).

What is a GMO? (Genetically Modified Organism):  

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Hybrid, Open Pollinated, & Heirloom 

Hybrid:  Varieties created by crossing two separate varieties to achieve desirable characteristics.  A hybrid tomato may have been bred to have excellent disease resistance, produce uniform, prolific fruit, or have superior flavor.  If you sow the seeds from a hybrid, the resulting fruit may revert to the characteristics of one of its parents.  The slicing tomatoes from Lattin Farms are a hybrid variety and they are certified organic.  Pluots, apriums, plumcots, and other fruit crosses are also hybrids.

Open-Pollinated:  Varieties of plants that are pollinated naturally by wind or insects without human intervention.  Saved seed will be true to the original variety

Heirloom:  An open-pollinated variety that has been passed down through the generations for at least 50 years.

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