Harvest food co-op no longer reaping what it sowed

Organic food has grown from a niche business that once appealed mostly to “health nuts” into a booming mainstream industry with $40 billion in annual sales nationwide. But one of the original purveyors of natural groceries in the Boston area isn’t reaping any of the profits.

In fact, sales at Harvest Co-op Markets, with stores in Jamaica Plain and Cambridge, are down nearly 40 percent from 2011 — to about $11 million — and the co-op is losing $30,000 a month. The situation is so dire that Harvest sent a plea to its 3,600 members, urging them to spend more on groceries.

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