Now is the time of year when many of us are looking at abundance all around us in our gardens. It's a great time to be considering whether you'd like to become a Micro Producer for the Harbour Co-op...
The purpose of the Co-op’s Micro Producer Program is to promote local food production and consumption in the Harbour Basin and outlying areas.
What is a Micro producer?
The term refers to the broad spectrum of growers who are somewhere in between the backyard gardener and the full scale commercial farmer. There is no minimum size of land or variety of produce. A grower can specialise in one or two crops or have a full range. Micro Producers can even be a group of neighbours pitching together and growing on a shared plot.
Do I have to grow organically?
Although our preference is to have all of our produce grown using organic principles, we do not require external certification; we will evaluate every case individually, making exceptions for spray-free items that we have no other local organically grown source for. Our key focus is transparency and giving our customers the information they need to make informed choices about the food that they purchase while promoting local production.
How do I register?
First, get in contact with Brian at email@example.com or on (021) 2011279. You’ll need to fill out a Micro Producer Registration Form and arrange a site visit and interview with our auditor. A soil test may be required for your property
How Does the System Work?
Once you are registered and in the database you can start selling to the Co-op. Although the shop manager may contact you occasionally to estimate long term availability, it is your responsibility to contact the Co-op at firstname.lastname@example.org (preferably) or on (03) 3288 544 by the end of day on Thursday if you will have any produce available in the coming week. Confirmation of what the Co-op intends to purchase and the purchase price will be made by 5pm on Friday. Monday is when all produce should be delivered to the shop complete with invoice and crates (more below). Pickups in the Harbour Basin may be arranged when available.
What is expected from me?
We expect our growers to be open and transparent about their growing methods and inputs. We expect a high quality of produce that has retail marketability – the Co-op reserves the right to refuse any produce of inferior quality. We expect a completed invoice to accompany all deliveries (including name, date, contact info, quantity and agreed price) – invoice books are available on request. For those who are GST registered, your invoice must include the words "tax invoice", your company's GST number, and a statement that GST is included. We expect that any crates or containers borrowed from the Co-op will be returned in the same condition as received.
What payment options do I have?
When you register, you can select your preferred payment option. The Co-op pays with in-store vouchers, which will allow us to pay a premium rate for produce, or if cash payment is required then the price paid for goods will be reduced. Accounts will be settled monthly based on weekly invoices. Deliveries of less than $30 in value will be paid in voucher at the time of drop off. Direct credits will be sent to you via internet banking at the end of every month. Please note: cash and cheques will not be available as a payment method.
How can the Co-op help me?
We aim to assist growers overcome some of the obstacles that small scale producers face. We can help source and purchase bulk materials, tools, and seeds. We can organise extra labour at busy times of the season. Transport of goods may be available in some areas. We can also connect you with other growers for information and inspiration. Finally, we promise to pay a fair market price for all goods.