As some folks know the Harvest Co-op in Jamaica Plain closed its door for good on Oct. 12th at 8 pm. Some folks went over at 7:45 pm to thank the workers who were on the last shift. While it had some flaws (like any other organization) I for one will very much miss the Harvest Co-op's, both in JP and Cambridge. And I want to send a big thank to all employees and board members for all your dedication and hard work.
After several years of financial struggles, the Harvest Co-op is closing its two remaining stores -- one in Jamaica Plain and the other in Cambridge -- in seven to 14 days. In July, the Harvest Co-op's board of directors sent out an email detailing the possibility of the National Co+op Grocers (NCG) purchasing Harvest's assets. But that plan didn't work out. "It was our hope that National Co+op Grocers (NCG) could provide a financially sustainable solution that continued Harvest’s operations with as little disruption as possible. We learned a few days ago that NCG determined that they would not be submitting a proposal for us to consider," said an email from the Harvest Co-op Markets Board of Directors on Wednesday afternoon. "In light of this fact, and the reality that we have no other viable options to rescue the Co-op, the Board has determined that the most responsible act is to close the stores in order to get the most value out of our assets to address as much of our financial obligations as possible."
The Harvest Co-op's board is continuing to search for ways the market can stay open amid financial troubles. On Tuesday morning, Harvest's board of directors sent out an email detailing the latest possibility of the National Co+op Grocers (NCG) purchasing Harvest's assets. In May, the Harvest Co-op board sent a letter stating that $300,000 needed to be raised by August or the co-ops two locations, Jamaica Plain and Cambridge, would close. With this recent explorative relationship with NCG, Harvest has accepted a small loan while Harvest and NCG evaluate if it's in the best interest for NCG to take over Harvest's assets. On August 6, Harvest Co-op will have a community town hall to hear from its board and NCG about the proposal and for questions.
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.