PT Food Co-op

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

General Manager’s Blog -April

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.

April 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

It’s a GO!! We’re breaking ground to grow our store! Communications with our stakeholders (staff, board, members, and community) began rolling out March 28, announcing our plan to break ground Monday, April 16. We expect to be under construction for approximately four months while the addition is built. After that is completed, we will roll into refreshing the store interior for the next 6-9 months, depending on how it all falls into place. Updates can be found on our website (www.foodcoop.coop/expansion), on social media, and in the alcove at the store. Everyone, thanks for your patience as we negotiated all the pesky details, permitting, and financing hurdles. We aren’t done yet—but I am so glad to have your support!

Thanks to an arrangement with OGC (Organic Grown Company), we are now able to offer produce as a regular part of Co+op Basics. Co+op Basics is a group of staple products we offer at a low price every day. The National Cooperative Grocer (NCG) has negotiated special pricing for us and other co-ops in grocery, bulk coffee, non-food, personal care, chill, frozen, and meat categories. Plus we have added some of our own Basics items in most categories, including bulk and supplements (we’re up to over 200 items). Previously, we have sometimes been able to include produce items, but now we will consistently be able to offer a variety, changing them seasonally.

As we knew we would be entering into a construction project this year, we decided to switch up our Member Appreciation Days into smaller, more manageable chunks by holding short (3 day) 10% off sales in select areas of the store. The last weekend in February, we had one of these short sales on 93 of our bulk seeds and spices back in the spice corner of the Wellness Department.

Food System Development

Using micro loans from the Co-op, two of our local farms—Midori and Dharma—were able to add new greenhouses this winter, and we are super excited to see and sell the results of these investments. An in-depth story and photos are planned for the summer issue of the Commons.

In March, we brought in three new local items and four new regional items. We did not have any new local or regional vendors.

We are updating our “Local Farmer & Producer” brochure to highlight our 2017 vendors.

Building Internal Capacity

This month we hired a new manager, Jacob Genaw, the first for our growing meat and seafood department. Jacob was hired by the Co-op last year as a meat and seafood preparer. Prior to that, he worked at Key City Fish, where he learnt a lot about seafood and seafood providers. Jacob also has supervisory experience as both store and shift manager with other area businesses. We are very fortunate to have someone with Jacob’s experience and dedication to the Food Co-op joining our management team, and we look forward to using his expertise as we plan and prepare for the up-coming expansion of our meat/seafood department.

Sustainability

The Food Coop and The Port Townsend Marine Science Center are partnering on a series of workshops in May, focused on building knowledge about the sources of toxic chemicals in the home, how such chemicals are regulated, and how these toxics get into the Puget Sound, plus how to avoid exposure in your home. Attendees will create their own toxic-free personal care products and cleaning agents.

In late March, we installed a “make-up air” unit in our kitchen, which replaces any air pulled out of the kitchen through our stove hoods with fresh heated or cooled air. We had to strengthen the roof to take the weight of the new unit.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

The Food Co-op was a proud sponsor of the recent series, Menu for the Future, a Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) discussion course. You could buy or borrow a copy of the workbook from us, and several Co-op members were excited to participate in this recently refreshed course on how to grow the local food economy. Over the last century, the way we grow, harvest, transport, and consume food has changed significantly, and it’s easy to overlook the impact this has on our environment. Together, participants considered food choices that are good both for them and our environment. We are also exploring the possibility of sponsoring a Jefferson County version of the NWEI’s “Drawdown EcoChallenge.” You can learn more at www.EcoChallenge.org.

Additional outreach in April will focus on sponsoring Earth Day related events, such as the annual beach clean-up, the kitchen tour, and fundraising for the cost of locally-grown meat for the PT school lunch program. We’ll give new attention to some of our current programs like Jar Savers (a way for shoppers to reuse clean jars instead of taking a new plastic container), Beans 4 Bags, and Bike Benefits (encouraging more bicycling in our community).

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