What does P6 mean?
P6 products meet at least two of the three criteria: small, local, and cooperative. When you see the P6 label in the store, you know that product has been approved by Ozark Natural Foods Staff and meets our highest values for a resilient food economy. At Ozark Natural Foods, local is defined as a product grown or produced within 100 miles of the store. A co-op is a member-owned, member-controlled business that operates for the mutual benefit of all members and according to common principles established for cooperatives. For us, a small producer is defined as independently owned and operated. They may sell directly to a store or through a local distributor with a regional distribution area. For international producers, products must be sourced through small farmer co-ops.
What happened to ‘Local’?
All the local products you love are still on the shelves! Local products that are also small and/or cooperatively produced now have the P6 label instead of the local label. We are phasing out the local label in favor of the P6 label because Local is only one of the values that we think are important to our co-op. The P6 program reinforces the unique range of values that we want to help flourish.
Why is it called P6?
The name “P6” refers to the sixth of the seven international cooperative principles; “cooperation among co-ops.” This principle of cooperation is the cornerstone of the P6 movement.
The full principle is:
Principle Six: Cooperation among Cooperatives. Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
What’s the point of P6?
The Principle Six Cooperative Trade Movement, which is itself a co-op owned by and designed for grocery co-ops, exemplifies just and equitable trade relationships between farmers, producers, retailers, and consumers rooted in cooperative principles and values. P6 is a symbol of a growing consumer-supported food economy recognizing product grown or produced locally, or internationally, by small farmers/producers, and cooperatives.
Members of the Principle Six Cooperative Trade Movement envision a food system in which farmers, workers, and producers are valued and compensated fairly at each step of the supply chain. We view consumers as powerful participants in global and local economies: engaged, educated, and empowered to use their purchasing dollars as a tool for social change. By creating a values-based economy we contribute to healthy, just, and sustainable communities locally and globally.
Why is P6 right for our co-op?
The development of the natural foods industry in the United States has taken place almost exclusively in co-ops and mom-and-pop stores. In the 90s corporations recognized that organics and natural food were becoming a growing share of the overall food industry and they wanted to expand into the market. Since that time, very large corporations have all but taken over the “health food” industry. While debating the choice between buying clean food and buying from very large corporations, our owners have expressed frustration about the complexity of the choice to buy or not to buy.
On the other hand, every product that is sold in a coop is participating in the cooperative trade movement. We do care about the quality of food at our co-op, but that’s not all that we want. We also want to shop our values. The organic standard will always be determined and monitored by the Federal Government, so the quality of food will stay consistent with those standards. But, when our owners want to make decisions relating to the companies that they would like to support with their purchases, the P6 logo will let them know that the product comes from a producer who is Local, Small Farm, or Cooperative. With P6, we can shop our values!
Why is A la Carte P6?
A la Cart is small, local, and a co-op! We make all of our food in our kitchen with organic, natural, and local ingredients.
A la Carte Standards of Quality:
No high fructose corn syrup
No added canola oil (Canola is in our Spectrum Mayonnaise only)
No artificial colors
No artificial flavors
No added MSG
No chemical additives
No hydrogenated oils
We make as much from scratch, in house as possible. We pride ourselves on delicious food that allows you to shop your values as an alternative to the fast food culture.
Are P6 products organic?
Many P6 products are also organic, but being organic is not a qualifying criterion for getting a P6 label. The government maintains strict standards for what food can be labeled organic and P6 does not seek to duplicate that work.
Who are the other members of P6?
Just like you own the Co-op, our store is an owner of P6. The P6 program will only be found at cooperatives, which exist to benefit you, our owners and our communities, rather than just increase our bottom line.
Other P6 members are:
Seward Community Co-op, Minneapolis MN
Eastside Food Co-op, Minneapolis MN
Viroqua Food Co-op, Viroqua WI
Three Rivers Market, Knoxville TN
Bloomingfoods, Bloomington IN
Equal Exchange, Bridgeport MA
Maple Valley, Cashton WI
This video by James Beard Award-winning producers of Perennial Plate, Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, is an excellent introduction to some of the farmers, co-ops, and other participants of the P6 program nationally.