South Dakota Local Foods Cooperative Rules and Regulations
The core values of the South Dakota Local Foods Cooperative are to be an integral part of a healthy, sustainable, and more self-sufficient community through stewardship of natural resources and people. It is dedicated to connecting consumers to healthy, nutritious food produced by their local farmers. The goal is to use fewer natural resources by focusing on food produced locally instead of being trucked in from further away.
Acting as the agent of producer members, the South Dakota Local Food Cooperative posts and publicizes the products that South Dakota producers have for sale, receive orders, provides a way for products to be delivered to other members of the cooperative, collects from the customers and forwards the payments to the 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 or processed. We receive their orders and notify the appropriate producers, arrange for the food to be delivered, receive and process their payments. For both producer 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.
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 can not be found by the affected producer and customer members, the cooperative's arbitration procedure can be invoked.
Membership Information (for Consumers and Producers):
All members are responsible for reading and complying with all rules and regulations.
Membership cost, co-op fees, etc:
- The cost of a South Dakota Local Foods Co-op membership is $50.00 plus $3.00 for tax. This is a one time fee and allows a member to be a consumer, producer, or both. All members must be approved by the co-op board. A membership can be sold back to the co-op if desired. A membership cannot be sold to a third party.
- The co-op will collect and pay the tax on all sales. However, producers must still hold their own tax license and abide by all applicable state and federal laws.
- The co-op will keep 10% of the producer’s sales (producers should adjust their prices accordingly to accommodate this).
- The co-op will charge the consumer a handling fee of 10% on their purchases.
- Sales tax will be added to all sales.
- Only members of the cooperative may buy or sell through our cooperative marketplace. Only residents of the state of South Dakota are eligible to be selling/producer members.
- Rights in the co-op are based on your ownership of a membership share. You cannot sell your membership share to someone else. You can sell it back to the co-op if you want to leave, but you can't sell it to a third party.
- To log onto our system, go to www.sdlocalfoodcoop.org. You should BOOKMARK this address so you can easily find it when you need it. Sign in with your USER NAME and PASSWORD. If you don’t have that info handy, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for your info again.
- The most efficient way for us to communicate is by the internet. While members without internet access will be able to sell and order through the co-op, those with access are encouraged to conduct all co-op business through our member website. When you join the cooperative, you will be assigned a user name and password so you can access the members only pages of our web sites. You will also be assigned a member number. All members will need to keep track of their member number. Internet users will need to keep track of their user name and password.
- From time to time we will have events to highlight the great tastes of South Dakota grown and processed foods. Producer participation is not mandatory, but it will be to your advantage to participate. This will give you a chance to meet your potential customers and showcase your foods and products.
- Any customer complaints regarding product quality, requests for refunds or return of merchandise will be referred initially taken up with the parties involved. Each producer will provide us a written statement of their policies for returns. This policy must be listed on the producer's information pages at the co-op's website. In the event that a dispute cannot be solved by the parties involved, the matter shall be referred to an arbitration committee. One member shall be appointed by the customer, one by the producer, and one by the South Dakota Local Foods Cooperative. In the event the dispute is between the producer or the customer and the South Dakota Local Foods Cooperative, a similar procedure shall be used. The producer or customer will appoint a member, the Cooperative will appoint a member, and the two chosen arbitrators will then together choose a third person.
- These procedures are established to benefit the common good of the cooperative's members. The more members we have, the more critical it is that we achieve near 100% compliance with these procedures. This is necessary for the long-term sustainability of this business enterprise.
- The co-op works on monthly cycles. The cycle goes as follows:
The cycle opens the first day of the month. The cycle closes the Friday of the second FULL week of the month. Producers must enter the actual weight of any random weight items by the following Wednesday (5 days after the close of the cycle). Producers will then drop their goods off at either drop location on the Friday of the third FULL week of the month between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm OR the Saturday of the third FULL week of the month between 6:30 am and 8:30 am. Volunteers will then sort the goods according to consumer pick-up site. Consumers will then be able to pick up their goods on the Saturday of the third FULL week of the month between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Producers must edit, update, add, etc. all listings by 5:00 pm on the second to last day of the month.
Please Note: The co-op reserves the right to change and/or adjust the monthly cycles. All co-op members will be notified in advance of any changes in the cycle.
Producer Procedures and Standards:
All producer members are responsible for reading and complying with the operating procedures of the cooperative. Producer members are welcome to make suggestions to make these procedures more efficient and understandable.
- SD producers only.
- Each producer will provide us a written statement of their policies for returns. This policy must be listed on the producer's information pages at the co-op's website.
- Producers set their own prices.
- We reserve the right to refuse sub-standard food. We reserve the right to refuse any producer.
- The Co-op collects sales tax.
- Producers are required by the state to have their sales tax license ("peddler’s license.")
- Producers will note the type of food storage required for the product (frozen, refrigerated, etc.)
- To protect the integrity of our marketing system, the cooperative reserves the right to verify the production of claims and geographic production location of everything sold through our marketplace.
- The co-op will not own the goods being sold at any time. The producer is responsible for making sure the goods being sold arrives in a safe and acceptable condition.
- The cooperative will advance payment to the Producers for their products at the time they are delivered on Delivery Day, unless there are missing item tickets or an unresolved discrepancy in the amount you should be paid, as long as the cooperative has the working capital to do this. If the cooperative does not have sufficient working capital to advance payment, then payment to producers will be made on receipt of payment from the customer members. Producers will only be paid for products ordered by customers. The South Dakota Local Foods Cooperative reserves the right to refuse to accept delivery for products that are not what customers ordered, or which are spoiled or contaminated or otherwise not acceptable. The South Dakota Local Foods Cooperative does not maintain any inventory of goods to be sold.
- You can sell your business, but because you can't sell your membership share, you can't sell your producer-rights in the South Dakota Local Foods Co-op to a third party. The new owner of your business can join the co-op, apply to become a new producer, and go through the orientation and approval process and then -- and only then -- can they sell through the co-op. They will conduct their co-op business at a new producer page that will be activated when they are approved by the Board. They can have the same products that you did, but they have to re-enter them so that they have new product codes. In the meantime, if you notify us that you have sold your business to someone else as of a certain date, on that date we will remove your producer page and products from our website. The new producer cannot continue to operate your existing web page and products while they go through the approval process.
- All items must be listed, entered, edited, updated, etc. no later than 5:00 pm on the second to last day of the month to prepare for the next order cycle. For example, in a month with 31 days, items must be updated by 5:00 pm on the 30th. This includes updating the number of available items, when applicable.
- All listings that have an availability of zero for two or more consecutive order cycles should be switched from active to inactive or archived. (Use the 'inactive' status if the item will be made available again in the future. Use the 'archived' status if the item will not be made available again.) This will remove clutter from the page and increase visibility of available products.
- No middle-men/selling agents. Value added products must be produced and/or significantly altered by the seller in South Dakota. Whole foods (items not value added) must be grown and/or raised and produced in South Dakota by the seller. (Please refer to the product guidelines for information about use of store bought items.)
Farming Practices will be disclosed:
- Producers will highlight if practices are considered certified organic or non-certified organic. We will utilize an abbreviation system to make this easy to identify.
- Producers will disclose if they use antibiotics or hormones.
- Producers will disclose if they are using a CAFO.
- Producers will highlight if products are non-GMO, grass-finished, or other good practices.
Ingredients will be disclosed:
- Producers will highlight locally-grown/regional ingredients, organic ingredients, and will estimate content percentage of each of these.
- Producers will use an asterisk to identify "store-bought" ingredients. Consumers will have the option of contacting the producer for further information on store-bought ingredients.
- We will develop abbreviations to help identify foods that are: vegetarian, vegan, grass-fed, free-range, gluten-free, etc.
- Producers will clearly identify any possible allergens in the product (we think there is a list of these ingredients online).
- Producers are responsible for knowing and abiding by all state and federal food safety regulations.
By joining the co-op, you agree to follow these Terms of Service:
- Each order is a legally enforceable contract to pick up and pay for the items ordered. You are obligated to pay for the items you order that we deliver to the pick-up site, even if you do not pick them up, unless they are delivered to you damaged, spoiled, or broken. Everything in your online shopping basket when the monthly order closes is an order for those products. The co-op's software does not have a "check-out" page. When you place something in your shopping cart, it stays there until you remove it. You can remove or add items up to the close of the monthly order, which is always the Friday of the second FULL week of the month at midnight, unless you are notified otherwise.
- When you order, pick up your items during the time specified for your pickup site. This is part of our contract. It is your responsibility to know where to pick up your food and the hours the pick-up site is open. This information is on your invoice.
- Members must pay before the drop day via the online PayPal option. Please bring a copy of the PayPal receipt with you to the pickup site.
- We understand that emergencies happen on delivery day. If this happens to you, please call the co-op at 605-697-5204 as soon as possible. The earlier we know about a situation, the better we will be able to deal with it. You can also contact the co-op before the monthly order closes about making alternative delivery arrangements. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to arrange something other than the specified hours for a particular site, but this must be arranged before you turn in your order.
- When you pick up your order, make sure you get all the items you order. Take the time to check your invoice thoroughly to make sure you get everything. If an item isn't there, report it at the information table when you check out and make sure it is written on the missing item log so your account can be properly credited. All claims for missing/damaged items must be made at the pick-up site. Errors in the accounting on invoices (including credits or debits that you believe are errors) must be reported within 5 days of delivery day. Report those errors to email@example.com.
- If an order is not picked up then the cooperative will make one attempt to contact you about picking up your items that will include the phone number and name of the person who has your order or missing items. The items will probably not be at the regular pick-up site, but at someone's home. It is the member's responsibility to contact the volunteer who has the items to arrange for a pick-up. The cooperative will not make multiple attempts to contact you. You should contact us sooner rather than later about picking up. If an item spoils or loses quality because you did not pick it up promptly, you will still be expected to pay for it. If you do not pick up your items then the goods will be taken to the local food pantry. Repeatedly not picking up items or missing the pick up date may warrant membership revocation.
- Treat the co-op volunteers well. We have volunteers who invest their time and effort as sweat equity in growing the future of this cooperative. There can never be a question of an "employee-customer" relationship in your interactions with the volunteer workers of the South Dakota Local Foods Cooperative. Do not complain to delivery day volunteers or berate or blame them for something that may have gone wrong with your order. Volunteers have no control over what the producers do. If you have an issue with the producer, bring it to the attention of the producer. If you have an issue with the cooperative, bring it to the attention please email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Mistreatment of volunteers is a serious breech of cooperative ethics that could lead to the revocation of membership.)
- Please keep your contact information current on our cooperative records. We encourage you to list cell phone numbers on your membership, so we can contact you directly on delivery day if there is a problem. If you change your email address, notify us. Email changes or updates to email@example.com .
- For members approved as producers, these Terms of Service include the cooperative's Producer Procedures and Standards.