PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

General Manager’s Blog

General Manager’s Blog

by Kenna S. Eaton

Each month, I report to the board on how we are progressing on our long-term goals, which we call our Ends. These Ends reflect our aspirations—what we hope to accomplish—and they are what makes us different from a regular grocery store. We publish these reports as a blog to keep our member-owners up to date on what we are doing.

The reports are organized by our five Ends, although not all are discussed in every report. Our Ends say that, as a result of all we do—

  • We will be the market of choice for our community to access local, organic, and non-GMO products.
  • A vibrant local and regional food system will provide our community with a year-round supply of food sold at prices that are fair to both consumers and producers.
  • We will have an engaged staff and board that use their expanding knowledge and skills to create a thriving workplace.
  • Our operations will be environmentally sustainable for the benefit of our members, community, and the planet.
  • Our members will be knowledgeable about the products they consume, the connection between food choices and personal health, and environmentally sustainable practices.

 

January 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

In mid-December, we featured bulk nuts, seeds, and savory snacks with a three-day sale. We had a 30% sales increase on those items, and bulk department sales in general were up as well.

National Cooperative Grocer assisted us in creating a Goodness Giveaway, featuring Field Day Co+op Basics. On December 23, we gave the winning customer a selection of Co+op Basics worth over $100. In addition, on behalf of the winner, we donated $75 to our local Food Bank. Thanks to Marcia, Andrea, and Deb for putting together the display and selecting the winner.

Food System Development

The “Eat Local First “campaign is still in the beginning stages. Laura Llewelyn, our produce manager, will be on the steering committee as they work towards defining the vision and goals. To help kick off the campaign, the Food Co-op is sponsoring those efforts with a $1,000 investment, which will be used to write a grant, which in turn will be used to pay for the work needed to launch a successful campaign.

The produce team has been meeting with area farms to set up crop calendars for 2018. This work sets out agreements of what we intend to buy, from whom, when, and at what price. This helps farmers better understand the needs of the Co-op, plus it addresses some of the seasonal ebbs and flows that arise as the year progresses. This work helps the farmers plan their year and the Co-op provide more local produce during the shoulder seasons.

In the past month, we brought in four new local items, including Alpenfire’s Discovery Trail Cider (some proceeds are donated to the Discovery Trail). Plus, we brought in 20 new regional items, including 4Legz, a line of dog treats from Chehalis (check out their website at http://www.4legz.com), and Moon Valley Organics beeswax lip balms (https://www.moonvalleyorganics.com)—some proceeds go towards the “Save the Bee” campaign.

Building Internal Capacity

The Human Resources team has been hard at work ensuring that our staff get enrolled in our health benefits program. HR has also revised our pay ranges to reflect the new minimum wage laws going into effect in the new year. Although all our staff are already above the $11/hr wage, we reviewed our scales and revised them upward. We are still working with our staff to share the results of the employee engagement survey we conducted in the fall, due to increased workloads in other areas. Each team is scheduled to review their own departmental results and then work together to create plans to help us improve our workplace.

Sustainability

Covilli, one of our favorite nonlocal produce companies, has become the first company to be both 100% organic and 100% fairtrade. Their stated purpose is to bring change and empowerment to their farmworker population, who are mostly migrant workers from the states of Guerrero and Chiapas; the majority are part of indigenous groups that have been generationally marginalized. We often buy Covilli green beans, hot and sweet peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and some tomatoes through the winter, when such produce is unavailable locally. Our produce manager, Laura, visited the company in Mexico last year and was very impressed with their operations. Part of the price we pay goes directly to a co-op of migrant farm workers, who use it for schools, hospitals, and housing.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

The next issue of the Commons was published on January 3, 2018. This was truly a collaborative effort, as it began with Mark and me, and ended with Mindy and Andrea getting it to the printers. Many other staff helped guide this issue through its many stages, and I am so pleased we were able to make our deadlines and do it in style!

 

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