This week I met with Ellen Fox and Heather Belcher at their place Sweet Clover Market, a start up local-organic-natural market in Essex, Vermont. Ellen sent us (Seventh Generation) a letter back in January inquiring about a loan to help get the market off the ground. The idea of working with a local start-up that is focusing on helping build a local economy is really exciting. We are lending them some dough and working with them on how else we can be involved in building this local economy…sustainable and developmental relationships seems to be the wave of the future…
Here is a glance at their thinking:
At Sweet Clover Market we recognize that our economic life grows out of trading relationships. We aim to restore local trading relationships by creating a business where offering local goods are a priority. As a result, we do carry products that are not certified organic, and we go to great lengths to provide as much information as possible about how, where, and when food is grown and processed. We are able to provide extensive information about local producers we know and trust, and so our aim is to carry as many local, natural products as possible.
Our buying priorities put local first. When a product cannot be found locally, we will use regional and national sources until a local source can be found or replenished. We'll also carry the most popular national brands our customers are accustomed to.
1. LOCAL - Organic, Natural and Carefully Managed Conventional Products
2. REGIONAL - Organic and Natural Products
3. NATIONAL - Organic and Natural Products
We evaluate each and every product we sell at Sweet Clover Market. For products that are only available from regional or national sources, many of us read labels to find information about ingredients and processing. The staff at Sweet Clover Market contact food producers periodically to inquire about special claims made on their labels. Essentially, we want to know about what is going on behind the label. For example, we want to know how a gluten-free bakery ensures that their products are not contaminated with wheat. We keep an eye on up-to-date information about sustainable fisheries to offer seafood choices that are healthy to eat and healthy for the oceans. We strive to make this information readily available to you so you can be comfortable and confident with your choice of food products.
Here is a view from the inside...