Policies + Practices

Our policies and practices demonstrate our commitment to environmental and social issues. Our efforts to promote the highest quality foods ensure that members and shoppers can confidently trust in our products.

How we define 'Local'

At Linden Hills Co-op, we define local as the 5 state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. Linden Hills Co-op takes pride in its partnerships with hundreds of local businesses throughout these states, that allow us to maintain our high, organic and natural product standards and best serve our members and shoppers.

You'll find many local products throughout the store. Currently we support nearly 300 local vendors including over 35 local organic farmers and growers. Local sales account for approximately 38% of our total sales.  

Look for the green shelf tags around the store to find our local products. 

Non-GMO Policy

At Linden Hills Co-op, we believe that food is best when it is as close to its natural state as possible.  Due to the unregulated & untested nature of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), it has become difficult to determine what products are truly free of GMOs.  That is why Linden Hills Co-op is a supporting retailer of the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit organization that is the first third party certifier in the U.S. to verify non-GMO claims.  Additionally, we also work with the Just Label It Campaign and MN Right to Know to advocate for mandatory labeling of all products that contain GMOs.

We recognize that consumers have come to expect natural foods to be free of GMOs.  Until GMO labeling is required, we commit to the following:

  • Whenever possible, Linden Hills Co-op will provide shoppers with a certified organic product choice in food categories that have a high risk of GMO contamination.  Organic certification does not allow the use of genetically modified seeds in the production of organic crops; therefore, certified organic products are the least likely to contain genetically modified ingredients.
  • Linden Hills Co-op will continue to educate our community about genetically engineered organisms through articles and literature in our store. 

The following crops have a high risk of being genetically engineered, because they have been deregulated by the USDA, and genetically modified varieties are grown on a large scale in North America and other parts of the world.

Sugar Beets 

Look for the Non-GMO Project verification tag on the shelf next to products that have been verified to be free of GMOs.

Product Selection Guidelines

Linden Hills Co-op has designed a natural and organic standards guide that is applied to all the foods we currently provide to our members and shoppers. The Linden Hills Co-op natural and organic standard was created with the vision of enhancing the lives of our customers, our employees and the environment by maintaining the highest natural and organic standards using the most current, reliable industry information and scientific research. We evaluate and monitor products in our store to assure consumer confidence, promote environmental sustainability and foster social responsibility.  In this guide, we have compiled a list of food additives that are prohibited or restricted from products sold as organic and natural.  This guide helps us determine if these products meet our natural and organic requirements. This past year we continued to evaluate all the products on our shelves and remove those that no longer meet our standards.  

The FDA is consistently approving over several hundred ingredients or variations each year.  This makes it very difficult to keep the list updated.  We must research new ingredients to determine if it occurs naturally or artificially.  With these concerns in mind, we’ve adopted a product policy committee.  Their primary responsibility is to monitor our list of ingredients and evaluate if we should allow them in the store.

We believe in the products we place on our shelves and utilize meaningful standards in these choices. The following list represents the top 10 factors that influence these decisions:

  • Organic
  • Locally grown organic and conventional foods and goods
  • Conventional without preservatives or artificial additives when an organic is not available or cost prohibitive
  • Minimally packaged with materials manufactured and disposed of in an earth friendly manner
  • Produced and distributed by vendors who meet city and state civil rights policies and operate ethically
  • Produced or distributed by vendors that are cooperatively owned
  • Produced utilizing practices that support sustainable agriculture and farming practices
  • Produced by manufacturers who do not utilize animal testing
  • Allow for competitive pricing