History, Mission & Purpose

Our Co-op Keeps Growing Since 1979

Natural Harvest Food Co-op started out as a small buying club in June of 1976. A small group of people united because they wanted access to a larger variety of nutritious whole foods at more reasonable prices. Eventually, this buying club grew to a point where their method of purchasing and distributing products became difficult to manage, so they decided to further co-operate by starting a retail store. Natural Harvest Food Co-op opened for business in December of 1979.

Our original storefront, located at 119 Chestnut Street, had a mere 600 square feet of retail space. It started with just a few bulk bins, some spices, and an upright freezer…then grew into a thriving little food Co-op. By 1991 it became apparent that expansion was in order; ten consecutive years of double-digit sales growth and the need for a better operating space fueled a big dream. Business and architectural plans were developed and through creative financing, the construction of our log building on Bailey Lake started in 1995. With many staff and volunteer hours, lots of hard work, in-kind donations from vendors, and a “buy-a-log program”, the dream became a reality.

We have been growing in sales and Ownership every year since! Sales approached $2 million at the end of 2013 and in 2014, we were granted membership into the National Co+op Grocers (NCG). NCG is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops that represents 148+ food co-ops operating over 200 stores in the US. NCG helps unify natural food Co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food Co-op Owners and shoppers everywhere.

Since then, our sales have kept improving! With support from our amazing Owners and staff, our Co-op went through its second expansion and moved into a brand new store on the shores of Silver Lake in April of 2017. The new eco-friendly building has allowed us to serve our customers and community better than ever! We now have a deli with a hot bar and salad bar, a community room to offer educational classes and host community groups, as well as more retail space to offer a wider variety of products.

We look forward to more growth in Ownership and sales to be able to support our Mission and Ends Policies for many years to come.

Ends Policies of Natural Harvest Food Co-op

  1. A greater sense of community.
  2. Community members are better informed about cooperative principles and personal and environmental health.
  3. People in our area have access to healthy foods.
  4. A vibrant local food economy.

Mission Statement

At Natural Harvest Food Co-op, we are committed to a sustainable future through communication, cooperation, and education.

We provide quality food, products, and services for the health and well-being of our families, our community, and our planet.

(Adopted by the Board of Directors 2/26/2014)

Find Us

732 N. 4th St.
Virginia, MN 55792


M-F: 8AM-8PM | Weekends: 9AM-7PM | Thu Nov 23 (Thanksgiving): Closed

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