Frequently Asked Questions

1 Why is there a $50 application fee?

We want to give each application a good amount of focus and attention, calling suppliers listed when necessary to see if we have any questions and consulting with experts if we are not sure if your practices meet the guidelines. The $50 fee covers this administrative time.

2 The food I make doesn’t fit one of your thirteen categories. Can I still be part of the Guild?

Yes. We look forward to counting granola bakers, ice cream makers and cracker crafters amongst the Good Food Merchants Guild membership, which is open to all craft food producers. Click the “other” box in the application to see the eligibility criteria, and if you meet the criteria, we welcome your application.

3 Is it open to farmers?

We love farmers. The Good Food Merchants Guild is focused on connecting, convening and promoting value-added food producers. Some of them are farmers, such as farmstead cheese producers, cideries and distillers using their own orchard fruit, and homestead picklers and preservers. However, since there are already many great organizations uniting family farmers which share sustainability values, we are focused on bringing together the craft food producers. In the end, if they thrive, so will all the farmers from whom they buy in bulk.

4 Why did you create the Good Food Merchants Guild?

Specialty food is a $76 billion dollar industry. A tiny portion of that industry is producing food with the values of taste, authenticity and responsibility in mind, using their businesses to create good Green Collar jobs, enhance rather than deplete the environment, and build a healthier community. The Good Food Merchants Guild exists to help that less than 1% industry segment who is, to foster, distinguish and unite Good Food producers to become a vibrant economic force in America.

5 Why do you ask so many questions on the entry form?

Our goal is to create a community of businesses that are all passionate about the food they craft and the community that helps them do it, from farmers to the grocers they work with. The questions are designed to let us really understand what you are doing, and ensure each member meets the holistic eligibility criteria.

6 How long does the screening process take?

You will be notified by email with your status within four weeks.

7 Do I get a refund if I am not accepted into the Guild?

Yes, of all but the $50 application fee.

8 When I renew my membership next year, will I have to answer all those questions again?

No, you will just need to tell us if anything has changed in terms of your production processes and supply chain.

9 I am in the Small category and paying that tier price, but want access to one of the benefits listed in the Growing or Big category. Can I have it?

Yes, all benefits are available to all members, regardless of what entry price you pay. They are listed as is, because we believe they are most valuable to that size of company.

10 Are you going to add new categories to the Good Food Awards?

Yes, we add new categories each year. As a Guild member, feel free to let us know what you think they should be.

11 What concrete benefits do you offer members?

All members receive 500 stickers for their product, and a newsprint poster to hang in a shop window or your office (it is that attractive). Members also have the opportunity to access buyers looking for Good Food, as part of the Good Food Merchants Guild catalog on Buyer’s Best Friend (free) and receive a 5% discount on a Premium Plan where BBF will act as your on-the-ground broker. In addition, Guild members will receive exclusive access to participate in the Good Food Mercantile, the un-trade show for tasty, authentic, responsible food. The Mercantiles take place annually in San Francisco and New York, bringing together like-minded food crafters and retailers. A third Mercantile in a rotating location will begin in 2016.

12 Do you plan to offer more benefits in the future?

Yes. We recently launched the Good Food Mercantiles, which takes place annually on the east and west coasts. We're excited to announce our plans for a third Mercantile that will rotate through different cities in other parts of the country. We are eager to hear what you need, so please get in touch with us if you have ideas for additional benefits.

13 What is the Founders Circle?

The Founders Circle is a group of innovating businesses that supported the initial launch of the Good Food Merchants Guild, and offer special services and ongoing support to its members.

14 How did you come up with the entry criteria?

We believe Good Food is made with real ingredients, local wherever possible, and respect amongst the people whose work goes into creating it. The criteria for each category was developed originally for the Good Food Awards, by a diverse committee of leaders in the field who are pushing the envelope towards greater craftsmanship, as well as social and environmental sustainability. They, like us, believe that Good Food is made with good animal husbandry and without the use of artificial ingredients, hormones, synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer or genetically modified ingredients. The Good Food Merchants Guild eligibility criteria reflects these beliefs, yet also acknowledges that each industry is at a different point in the journey towards “perfect” sustainability, both environmental and social.

The names of the committees who developed the criteria can be found on the Good Food Awards website,, on each specific category’s page. We are committed to revising the criteria every year to reflect new developments in each Good Food industry.