*see also Member Responsibilities documentation, passed by proposal 12-2016


Welcome to the 4th Street Food Co-op

This packet outlines your responsibilities as a working member and explains how you can become involved in coop management. We are an organization run entirely by members. The coop depends on your dedication and dependability.

You do not receive a discount until working your first shift.


Membership in the 4th Street Food Co-op comes with some excellent benefits, as well as some awesome responsibilities. As you have read, we are a member run and owned store. So, we rely on about 100 working members coming consistently to the store to work their shifts, or being sure that their shifts are covered if they are unable for some reason to come in one week. Here is a brief overview of what are your benefits and responsibilities.


1. You receive your discount as long as you are a member in good standing. (New working members receive their discount when they complete their first shift).

  • Weekly Working Member is responsible for: 2 1/4 hour shift every week for a 20% discount
  • Shared Working Membership Member is responsible for: 2 1/4 hour shift every week, shared with another member, coordinated amongst themselves, for a 15% discount
  • Non-working Member is responsible for: Remembering to pay her/his dues once a year for an 8% discount

2. You can attend Co-op meetings, place an item on the agenda and make your voice heard. Each member carries equal rights of one vote per person. We recommend that you attend meetings in order to become more familiar with how the Co-op is run. You will have a greater say in what gets done when you show up regularly. The meetings are monthly and are announced in the store on the whiteboard behind the register. The general membership is encouraged to attend the Annual Meeting. More information on how to make a proposal and participate in meetings is presented in the Administration Working Group section.

3. You can pay for purchases by check (made payable to Good Harvest Cooperative). Non-members can't pay by check. How about that!

4. Working members are entitled to 2 "vacation shifts" per year. You arrange for someone to cover your shift, but you don't have to make the time up later. Obviously, emergencies come up, and some last more than a week. Extended leave for long vacations or for those who have family to care for can be arranged, too.


1. You are expected to be aware of what's going on in the store and work for the entire length of your shift. Though you may be arriving for your shift after a full day's work somewhere else, there's always work to do, and sitting around or catching up on personal email is discouraged. During your shift, Please:

  • Arrive on time; sign in and out (very important for our scheduling person)
  • Be respectful and aware of customers and Co-op members. If someone is not a member, ask them if they are interested in joining. Answer questions to the best of your ability, help out where necessary. You know, treat this the way you would a paying job.
  • Mind the store (see information below about maintaining the facility, dry goods, produce, etc.)

2. New working members are subject to a three month probation period. We know that everyone has different strengths. Even with training, some people aren't well matched to the requirements of regular shift work, and we have to ask them to become non-working members. We will work with you to the best of our abilities to find the shift that works best, but sometimes shifts are not available that fit your schedule. When we can and when it makes sense, we will find some alternative work that you can do for the Co-op in lieu of a shift in the store.

3. Missing Shifts


1. Contact your shift partner(s) to let them know you won't be in and tell them who will be covering your shift. Do not use your shift partner as a replacement! It's best for the Co-op if we have 2 or more people on a shift; more can get done and shoppers are friendlier.

2. Find a replacement: You are responsible for finding your own replacement when you can't work a shift. Many members organize shift trades:

    • Ask members on the shifts before and after yours.
    • Use the coop directory to contact other members by phone or e-mail. The directory and shift schedule are in the black filing tower to the right of the computer.
    • Join our online list serve (see below). Post shift coverage requests by following instructions in the confirmation email you'll receive when you subscribe.
    • Simply requesting coverage is not enough- you must make sure that someone covers your shift or be there yourself.

If you are unable to make a shift, and you do not work for a week, you will not receive a discount for that week.

4. You are expected to pay your annual dues on time and, of course, pay for all purchases, including food eaten while working.


Sounds serious, and it is. Since 1995, we've only asked a handful of people to leave. Here are the things that warrant Termination:

1. Stealing of goods, cash or equipment.

2. Threatening or violent behavior towards others in the Co-op, either verbal or physical.

3. Excessive missed shifts & failure to make up missed shifts or cover absences.

4. Consistent failure to perform shift duties. (See member responsibilities)

5. Failure to pay dues on time. (Membership will be suspended until dues are paid and reinstated when paid up. Don't worry, we'll remind you!)


Produce Care

Every 30 minutes, spray leafy greens in the produce cooler, such as lettuces, kale, bok choy and collards. No fruit or any other veggies should be sprayed. Please refer to the list inside the left hand side of the cooler for vegetables that should not be sprayed. Broccoli and lettuce should only be misted lightly. Everything else sprayed should be misted until dripping wet. Use filtered water in the spray bottles.

Some greens respond well to a good soak: trim ends of stems and set upright in a couple of inches of filtered water for approx 15 minutes, then place back in basket in fridge.

Check produce for rotting or molding specimens. Foods that are bruised and damaged significantly, but not rotting, can be half-priced. Foods that are molding or completely inedible should be composted immediately, and recorded using the Produce Spoilage form on the store's main page.

Please arrange produce to look as attractive and plentiful as possible. Remove purple trays from boxes when they are showing and there is another layer of produce underneath.

At the end of closing shift, please completely cover the fridge produce with large Bio bags (except non-sprayables); cover the non-cooled root produce with cardboard (purple apple trays).

Bulk Foods Care

Bulk foods are contained in gravity bins (atop middle shelving unit) and regular bulk bins (lining both aisles).

Re-stock most bulk bins that are at least half empty. Dried fruits and bulk foods in non-gravity bins that don't sell as fast can run down further than half way because of the labor involved in rotating the contents.

Dried mangos are stored in a smaller bin. Filling this bin with only one package of mangos at a time will ensure that fresh, soft mangos are available.

Some high-oil content nuts are only partially stocked. Please pay attention to the fill line on these bins.

Macadamia Nuts: The gravity bin should never be more than 1/3 full. The overstock nuts are kept in the refridgerator.

Bulk herbs/spices: someone may attempt to buy the entire jar of spice off the shelf--please be careful not to ring this up. We continually refill those labeled jars, so anyone buying herbs/spices needs to dispense into a separate container. The price stickers on the jars reflect the price per lb.

Bulk foods are stored on high shelves towards the middle and rear of the store. Because of health regulations, do not store any foods on the floor; floor space is designated for non-food items as much as humanly possible. When restocking scoop bins, remove the contents before restocking, restock and then place the old contents on top. In order to do this (i.e. temporarily contain bulk items in order to place new stock at the bottom of the bin), either use new clear plastic bags (on rolls at end of bulk aisle) or use a clean empty non-gravity bin.

Check periodically to see that all items are "fronted" and note any items that are running low. Write this information on the list with dry goods ordering information. This list is on a clipboard located by the chalkboard behind the register.

If you find moths or another invader - rare, but it happens - please tape up the bag, set it aside and leave a clear note for Helen to replace.

Do not handle the bulk food with your bare hands.

Do not nosh on the bulk food without weighing and paying for it.

Refrigerator/Freezer Care

Please keep items faced front and attractively displayed.

Check expiration dates and box or bag up those that have expired. Label the bag or box "For Dry Goods" and record using Dry Goods Waste & Spoilage form on the main page of the store wiki. Do not sell expired foods.

Change the tofu water (water in which bulk tofu is stored - on bottom shelf of fridge) at least once a day - pour old water into sink and refill using filtered water (filter water is dispensed from a spout on the right hand side of the sink).

Receiving Shipments and Deliveries ( needs work)

  • The most important thing is that shipments and deliveries be priced and stocked, and not just signed for and then left for other members to find. If there are any questions, either contact the member named on the package, or post a notice to the mailing list.
  • When unpacking items from a shipment, mark off products on the invoice as you work. Suppliers frequently make mistakes, delivering more or less items than we pay for, or the wrong items. This also allows others to finish the work if you are interrupted, and cannot finish.
  • Some shipments and deliveries only need to be signed for, some require payment on delivery.
  • Some shipments and deliveries are opportunities for us to get rid of empty containers. (Plastic totes, glass bottles, various plastic containers)
  • Some shipments will be perishable or temperature sensitive items, even though this may not be obvious by looking at the box or labels.

Regional Access receiving shifts

  • Regional access orders are paid as cash on delivery.
  • We receive a 1% discount from the invoiced price for paying cash on delivery.
  • The Regional Access delivery person needs to count the money paid, and sign the invoice as paid.
  • Instructions for stocking and pricing of particular items can be found under "store notes", located on the front page of the wiki.

Cash Register

There are several laminated pages at the cash register that describe various functions. These make a guide for using the machine, whether you are giving orientation to a new member, or just learning the ropes on the register. When you are giving an orientation, please be sure to teach the following:

  • Determining membership status of customer and clerking in customer
  • How to categorize purchases (bulk, packaged, produce, etc.)
  • EBT, including registering EBT payments as such with the EBT button on the register. (this is the equivalent of pushing the CASH button for cash sales, it finalizes the sale and allows the next person to begin at zero) Likewise, register checks with the CHECKS; button. Checks can only be written by members. Credit and debit purchases are finalized with the DEBIT/CREDIT button.
  • How to register misc. tares and other tares
  • How to remove finished register paper and replace.
  • How to record dues payments and cash Payouts using receipt book and membership form, as needed.

For further instructions see the register How To pages.


Care of the Facility

Floor needs to be swept at least once per shift.

Mopping can be done as needed; must be done once at the end of each day.

Keep surface of scales and counter clean.

Bathroom - Check to make sure toilet is clean and sink is empty. If you have extra time and there are enough people on your shift, dedicate some time to tidying up the bathroom overall. Keep food sponges separate!

Food Coop Email Alerts List and General Email Lists

To join, send (an) email(s), from the address(es) from which you'd like to post messages, to 4-owner@lists.[the domain of our Web site, that does not have "panix" in it], with your name and what shift you work, asking to be subscribed to the alert list and/or the general list. After you have received a welcome message for the list you want to post to, you may post to the posting address you'll receive in that message.

Working Groups - A Brief Overview

--Was empty, need summaries from WG mission statements, when finished--

Topic revision: r57 - 18 Apr 2017 - 14:27:05 - ColinP

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