PT Food Co-op

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

February GM Report

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.

February 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

Store Expansion—While plenty of planning work is taking place, we still don’t have a firm date for breaking ground to begin construction of our new back rooms. In the meantime, we have alerted our local vendors that we probably won’t be able to have an indoor vendor alcove during construction. Vendors will still be able to sign up to use space at our north door during that time. As part of our interior remodel, the vendor alcove will be relocated but it will remain close to the bean jars (per vendors’ request). We are still unsure what date we can expect that part of the project to be finalized.

In January, we offered several special sales: 10% off our own supplement line for three days, 10% off Mountain Spirit “Kick Ass” tincture one week, and 10% off bulk beans and grains for three days.  Sales of our supplement line were up over 70% compared to the previous weekend.

Food System Development

Local eggs and meat—Laura L., our produce manager, was invited to be panelist at the Whidbey Island Growers Association’s monthly meeting in early January. There were about 35 farmers in attendance, and Laura stressed to them that we need more local egg and meat sources, especially meat once we remodel. One avenue to distribute their products could be PT’s own Key City Distributors.

Eat Local First (ELF) is working to develop a robust campaign to promote locally produced goods. ELF will no longer be a Jefferson County Local Food System Council (JCLFSC) committee because it has enough partners now to continue on its own. JCLFSC held a farmer/chef expo that included a short presentation on ELF (what it is and what we hope to accomplish). In summary, farmers are excited to see this kind of support for their work and we are excited to see what this group can accomplish.

In the last month, we brought in four new local products and seven new regional items. We’re particularly excited about Nash’s new Camelina oil, cold-pressed in Sequim from seeds grown organically by Nash.  Camelina sativa is a short-season crop in the Brassica family, well suited to our temperate climate.  The oil is high in Omega-3s and Vitamin E, with a nutty flavor and aroma as well as a high smoke point, so it is suitable for cooking as well as for salad dressings.

Building Internal Capacity

This month we welcome Jacqueline Carpenter as our new Wellness Manager. Jacqui comes to the Co-op after a 20-year career with Town and Country Markets, where her experience included time as the Health and Beauty Manager. You may recognize Jacqui from our vendors’ alcove as she’s most recently been working on her own business “Live Light,” a candle and beeswax company.

And here’s some fun staff-related data from 2017:

  • We promoted nine internal candidates to new roles or positions and hired 20 new staff.
  • We increased the number of full time staff from 66 in December 2016 to 74 in December 2017.
  • This past summer we hit 99 employees in total.
  • Currently, we receive an average of 50 applications every month from people who want to work at the Co-op.

Sustainability

In 2017, National Cooperative Grocers and this co-op added nearly 2,000 acres of old growth Amazon rainforest to lands protected under the Co+op Forest program. In addition, we contributed 1,158 tree seedlings to Finca a la Media, a new community-led project that provides training on regenerative farming methods to area farmers to help improve their soils. Altogether, Co+op Forest is now home to an estimated 1.7 million trees, sequestering over 3,500 metric tons greenhouse gases to offset the gasses associated with our business travel and NCG office utilities. The Food Co-op alone contributed funds to offset a predicted 60 tons of CO2 emissions from propane use even though we emitted only 37 tons, due to improved efficiencies.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

In November 2017, we alerted members who had yet to cash in their 2016 member dividends that they had until the end of the year to use them or we would donate them, per our bylaws.  As a result, we donated $4,787.67 in unclaimed dividends to our Community Fund at the Twin Pines Foundation. Monies generated by that fund are periodically given back to the Food Co-op to donate to a local organization of our choice.

Our customers purchased 1056 5-lb. boxes of satsumas in December, and we donated $1 per box to the Northwest Watershed Institute, which supports the February Plant-a-thon.  The Plant-a-thon protects our watershed while raising funds for five local school programs: OPEPO (an alternative program within PT’s public schools), Jefferson Community School, OCEAN (K-12 alternative program in PT), PI (Chimacum’s alternative program), and Swan School.  For a $5 to $10 donation, a tree is planted in the name of someone special to you. PTHS Students for Sustainability work as student leaders for the tree planting, this year helping to direct 180 volunteers, who planted 4,300 native trees and shrubs along Tarboo Creek.

Food Access—The Food Co-op is partnering in a pilot program designed  to increase accessibility to fresh produce—the Fruit/Veggie Rx program.  Doctors at Jefferson Health Care (JHC) will issue prescriptions to qualifying patients for fresh fruit and veggies at the Jefferson County Farmers Markets (JCFM) in season and at the Co-op during the winter  months. The program is slated to begin this spring, so the Co-op will become the winter alternative in 2019. Redeemed vouchers will be paid for by Jefferson Health Care during the farmers market season, and we will pay for them during the winter.

The Product Research Committee has been reviewing boycotts and boycott policies from several other co-ops.  We are also contacting Olympia for more details about their boycotts and policies.

Update on red dot (possible GMO-containing) products: While we discontinued Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels several months ago, we’ve continued to look for a GF pretzel without questionable ingredients.  We recently found Quinn GF pretzels, which are non-GMO verified, so they’re now on our shelf.  As an added bonus, they taste even better than Snyder’s!

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