Harvest Co-op May Close by August Unless $300,000 is Raised

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The Harvest Co-op may close this summer unless members and patrons help raise $300,000 by following seven ways the market can be saved, according to board president Lydia Peabody.

In an open letter to members and the community, Peabody said that 50 member-owners met in April and came up with a short-term plan to keep the Co-op going. That plan included increasing local, natural and organic foods, as well as hiring a new community and membership organizer.

Peabody also provided seven ways that members can help: buying more bulk items, prepared foods, supplements and body care items; shop more at the Co-op; buy a $200 Harvest gift card, but not use it for 18-24 months; scan a members' card; and buy in cash.

The financial struggles of the Harvest Co-op became public last year and recommendations were suggested on ways to make the market sustainable.

Peabody's letter doesn't address the Jamaica Plain specifically, or Harvest Co-op's Cambridge location. But it appears that both locations are in danger of closing, as Cambridge Day is reporting their location is also in danger, citing an identical letter sent by Peabody.

Below is Peabody's letter:

Dear Harvest Community,
In case you missed General Manager Brian Peat’s email earlier this month, Harvest has been losing money for the past few years. We are at a critical juncture--our financials indicate that Co-op will close by August if we cannot bring in $300,000 in a blend of increased profits, member equity, and contributions.
Our 90-day Plan
Over 50 member-owners came together in April for an event that led the Board to approve a short-term plan to buy us the time we need to become the thriving Co-op our community deserves. Our plan focuses on increasing our emphasis on local, natural, and organic foods; devoting more resources to marketing and community organizing (including hiring a new community & membership organizer); and raising the capital we need to strengthen our Co-op.
Although we want the Co-op to succeed, we recognize that bringing in a quarter of a million dollars in a couple of months is an ambitious task. Unless you step forward.Each person who steps forward and commits to the Co-op's success will significantly increase the likelihood that we will survive this and become a wonderful, sustainable, diverse, nourishing Co-op.
So we are asking you to make a decision. Decide whether you are willing to work hard, now, to keep a food Co-op in your city. Decide whether you are willing to commit financially to keeping Harvest going. If you decide yes, we can work together and have the opportunity to make the Co-op successful. If you and other members decide no, then we need to say goodbye to Harvest Co-op, for it will not survive the summer.
How You Can Help
Change your shopping to help Your Co-op
  1. Pay off your equity payment early.
  2. Buy more bulk items, prepared foods, supplements, and body care items.
  3. Shift more of your shopping to the Co-op (especially the items listed in #2).
  4. Buy a $200 Harvest gift card and pledge not to use it for the next 18-24 months.
  5. Scan your member card each time you shop.
  6. Make your purchases with cash.
  7. Introduce members of your community to shopping at Harvest.
Commit your time and energy to our effort
  1. Apply to be (or help us find) our new community & membership organizer!
  2. Contact Adam Frost, Board Outreach Coordinator, to find out how you can make a difference now, and so we will know we can count on you as our community organizer gets going. Email Adam with your name, member number, and phone number.
We’re looking forward to working on this together. Thank you in advance for your willingness to commit to our Co-op.
Lydia Peabody, Board President
on behalf of the Harvest Co-op Board of Directors
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