PT Food Co-op

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

Archive for the ‘Co-op History’ Category

Thank You to Janet Welch

November 3rd, 2016 by Rachel Williams

One Person Can Make A Difference

From Kenna S. Eaton, GM

This October marked a milestone for The Food Co-op: Janet Welch, board member extraordinaire for over 12 years, tendered her resignation.*

Janet and her husband Willi were the first people I met six years ago when I applied for this position. They went out of their way to make me and my husband feel welcome—and when they turned out to be our island neighbors on Marrowstone, we really felt like we had come home at last.

Janet served on the Food Co-op board for longer than any member ever has and she sure worked hard, too. She gave generously of her passion, her knowledge, and her skills. She weathered many interesting times, from potentially divisive boycotts right through strategic planning and researching our facilities options, always striving to remain true to her values and keeping her sense of humor.

Most recently Janet served as board president for three years, making sure that we stayed on course, that we did our homework, and that we could answer those tough questions she posited for us. Our “hats off” to Janet for making a difference!

*For a copy of Janet’s resignation letter, please read the board packet for the November 2016 board meeting.

board-tractor

From Monica le Roux, Board President

Janet was an integral part of the Food Co-op Board for over 12 years, working incredibly hard to make sure that as each wave of new board members was elected, the history of our organization and its mission and principles remained in the forefront of our minds as we took up our new tasks.  She will be missed for her vivid energy, her excellent writing, and the sense of humor she brought when it was most needed.  We know we continue to benefit from her example, and she leaves with our resounding thanks for everything she shared with us.

A Hot Time At The Palindrome – 2016 Annual Meeting Recap

July 19th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

On June 5, the newly reopened Palindrome hosted The Food Co-op’s 2016 annual meeting. The day was unseasonably hot, the audience attentive, and the food scrumptious!

Of Electric Cars and Ceramic Plates

In an effort to lessen our carbon footprint and to provide transportation for members without cars, we contracted with PTeRider, the new electric bus service, to deliver members who had entered our contest to win a ride to the Palindrome. In addition, we were able to use real plates and forks—although not glass cups due to the complications of county rules—thanks to the PT School District and the district’s food service director, Stacey Larsen, who lent us some of the plates that were collected last year in their plate and silverware drive.

Paella House Feeds the Member Masses

Paella servingThe day culminated in members enjoying Paella House veggie paella and manchego salad while young local musicians played old-time music. Square dancing was involved! Find the Paella House at the Saturday Farmers Market and check out their website, http://www.paellahousept.com.

Co-op Had Great Year in 2015!

Board President Janet Welch began with meeting by welcoming member-owners and noting that two members had set up a display on the deck of the Palindrome to inform fellow members of the pervasiveness of plastic packaging. Next, General Manager Kenna Eaton talked about how cooperatives support economic democracy, a prerequisite for political democracy. Then Kenna unveiled the 2015 Annual Report, which details the Co-op’s successful year, with financial statements and fun facts as about our work to fulfill our principles (the annual report is available online and at the Member Services Desk). Then she announced our first member dividend distribution! (You should have received either an email or a mailer about your dividend. If you haven’t, contact Dan Goldstein at dan@foodcoop.coop.)

The Importance of the Cooperative Economy

To open the second portion of the meeting, Board Treasurer David Wayne Johnson explained how the cooperative economic model combines the best of capitalism and socialism, because co-ops compete in the open market yet are democratically governed—plus co-ops are owned by their customers and/or workers, not outside investors. Co-ops also have a higher multiplier effect than other businesses in terms of money put back into the community. Further, the seven principles of cooperatives— voluntary membership, democratic member control, economic participation, autonomy and independence, co-operation among co-ops, education, and concern for the community—mean that co-ops don’t just have a positive economic impact, they have a positive social and quality-of-life impact. David noted that we often don’t realize all the co-ops around us in the community, and he introduced the local cooperatives in attendance at the annual meeting.

Cooperatives Bring Jobs and Stability to Italy

David T holds Commons 2Next on the program, co-op expert David Thompson described the impact of cooperatives around the world. As an example of co-op power, he recounted the story of the Emilia Romagna region in Italy, where cooperatives are a major part of the economy, and employment, living-wage jobs, and disposable income are all higher than in other areas of Italy.

Summary of David Thompson’s Talk on Emilia Romagna

There are a billion members of co-ops world wide, providing employment for 100 million people, more jobs than with all corporations together. With co-ops, capital is a servant rather than a master. The region of Emilia Romagna in Italy shows what the future might look like if we work together.

An Economy Built on Co-ops

For the most part, Emilia Romagna is an agriculture state, with some little villages and towns. What they have done with co-ops in amazing. Cooperatives are a way to stay small while accomplishing great things. In Emilia Romagna, parmesan cheese is made by a cooperative of 10,000 village dairies. Averaging 12 cows each, they provide a third of Italy’s milk as well as supply milk to cheese co-ops. Farmers make a decent living, so they dont leave looking for better work. And the cooperative economy is strongly interconnected—for instance, the warehouses for storing cheese in each villages (worth millions of dollars) are financed by co-operative banks.

In Italy, A Co-op is the Largest Retail Business

In Italy, consumer co-ops have much more market share than capitalistic chains. Co-op Italia, for instance, has 53,000 employees and $15 billion in sales, making Italy the only country where a co-op is the largest retailer. Co-ops build solidarity, promoting each others’ products and sharing retail developments, etc. Members also support their co-ops; as an example, Co-op Italia needs to borrow very little money from banks because members lend money through a mechanism at the cash register.

In addition, Italy collects 3% of the profit from every co-op in the country into a cooperative development fund. As of 2010, the fund had 404 million euros, and a group elected by the members chooses what to do with that money. This fund was the inspiration for the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation (David Thompson is the president of this foundation, which supports the development of all kinds of cooperatives in the US).

Cooperative Emilia Romagna Has Higher Standard of Living

How does this affect the economy of Emilia Romagna? About 30% of the total economy is from the co-ops. Emilia Romagna has the highest percentage of family firms, the highest disposable income, and the highest employment rate of women in Italy. Reciprocity is a critical part of the co-operative economy, helping create livable wages that enable people to buy homes, live well, and save money.

The story of Emilia Romagna is important because sometimes we dont know what the future might look like because we havent seen it. Emilia Romagna shows what happens when people come together even in small villages. In Port Townsend, we have the opportunity to build an economy that houses us, feeds us, farms for us, and provides living wage jobs. We have a responsibility to continue to build on what has been bequeathed to us.

Download David Thompson’s slides here: I ER Co-ops in Emilia Romagna 2014 stats

Note: David Thompson also participated in two other events—a mixer with representatives from local cooperatives at Finnriver on Saturday night and a Sunday morning coffee meeting at the Co-op dining room to discuss cooperative housing possibilities in PT. The coffee meeting drew about six member-owners, plus three board members, Kenna, and David. Participants were concerned about affordable housing and David provided good information on the way cooperative housing can be part of the solution, although it is still hard to reduce costs. He told the group ways to seek information and support, including government grants. The attendees decided to continue the discussion at a later date and have since met again, although they’ve morphed more into an affordable housing group than one about cooperative housing. If anyone is interested in joining these efforts, please contact Mark Cooper at mark.cooper@thomsonreuters.com.

2016 Annual Meeting June 5

May 13th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

Hello Fellow Cooperators!

The Food Co-op Board of Directors would like to invite you to our Annual Meeting June 5, 3:00-7:00pm at the Palindrome.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Co-ops in our Community” and we are fortunate to have cooperative expert—and Cooperative Hall of Fame inductee—David Thompson as our guest speaker. Representatives from many local cooperatives will also be attending, so you can find out all about what they do, not to mention play Co-op Bingo for a chance to win a Food Co-op gift card.

First you’ll learn how The Food Co-op prospered in 2015. Next board member David Wayne Johnson will give us an overview of our local co-ops and then introduce David Thompson, who will speak about the history of cooperatives and our exciting future. After his talk, we’ll have food, Co-op Bingo, and music! The Paella House will serve veggie paella and salad (with arugula, spinach, Manchego cheese, etc.); Eaglemount wine and cider will be available for purchase; and local musicians will play old-time music.

RSVP before May 30, and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 Food Co-op gift card! (You must be present at the annual meeting to win). Click here to RSVP.

Please carpool, if possible. You can look for a ride or offer a ride at the ride share board at the front of the store. In addition, the Co-op has contracted with the PTeRider, the new electric shuttle service in town, to carry 14 member-owners from the Co-op to the Palindrome and back. For a chance to be one of the 14, please submit the form under Board’s board in the store by May 23.

See you at the Palindrome,We are stronger together

Janet Welch, Board President
Monica le Roux, Vice President
Lisa Barclay, Secretary
David Wayne Johnson, Treasurer
Peter Bonyun, Board Member
Catherine Durkin, Board Member
Patricia Smith, Board Member

The Food Co-op Annual Meeting

June 5th, 3-7pm
The Palindrome, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road, Port Townsend, WA

Schedule
3:00 -3:45            General Meeting and Member Questions
3:45-4:00             David Wayne Johnson talks Co-ops in Our Community
4:00-5:00             David Thompson Talks Cooperative History and Future
5:00-7:00             Co-op Bingo, Mingling, Paella, and Old-Time Music

The Eaglemount Tasting Room will be open during the meeting.

Meet Our Guest Speaker David J. Thompson

David Thompson lives and breathes co-ops. He grew up near Rochdale, England, the home of the Society of Equitable Pioneers, usually considered the birthplace of the consumer co-op. After emigrating to the U.S. in the 1960s, he became immersed in the civil rights and anti-war movements. Seeing the immense numbers of people gathered in marches and rallies, David realized that if they worked together in cooperatives, they could change the world. Since then, he’s been involved in many kinds of cooperatives in many countries—from helping found a cooperative bank in the U.S. to working to get blacks into cooperatives in apartheid South Africa to helping cooperatives behind the Iron Curtain to building cooperative housing. Maybe he could give Port Townsend some tips on cooperative housing!

Today David is president of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, which collects and distributes grants to cooperatives all over the United States. One of its most interesting campaigns—Give Where You Live—creates individual co-op funds, enabling co-op members and shoppers to make donations to an endowment that in turn donates to local nonprofits.

David is also a prolific writer on co-ops, including Weavers of Dreams about the founding of the modern cooperative movement as well as innumerable articles. And he even makes time to write short fiction. At the annual meeting, he will tell us about the history of cooperatives as well as the wealth of opportunities for cooperatives in the future.

Fall 2015 Co-op Commons

October 15th, 2015 by Kathie

COMMONS Fall 2015 coverIn this issue, we introduce you to our new produce manager, Laura Llewellyn, give you the low-down on the best herbs for relaxation, tell you about our Bicycle Benefits program, and much more!

Co-op Wins EPA Emissions Award

October 13th, 2015 by Kathie

Scott and Rene Food Co-op Roof 2015

Food Co-op staff Scott Marble (left) and René Tanner sit atop the co-op’s roof next to the low-temperature compressor with an iced-over visible accumulator. Marble and Tanner’s attention to the co-op’s refrigeration systems earned them an award for best emissions rate from the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership.

The Port Townsend Food Co-op has earned the GreenChill 2014 Achievement Award for Best Emissions Rate from the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership. This award goes to the partner with the lowest corporate-wide refrigerant emissions rate of all the 11,000 partners which includes well-known retailers such as Target, Whole Foods Market, Hanover Co-op stores and many others.

Refrigerants used by supermarkets are harmful to the environment when emitted into the atmosphere; some harm the ozone layer, and most are very potent greenhouse gases. Refrigerants that are commonly used in supermarket refrigeration systems are anywhere from 1,800 to 4,000 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide.

“For comparison, our emissions rate for 2014 was 2.6 percent or 12 pounds of refrigerant, said René Tanner, Facilities and Maintenance Manager for The Food Co-op. “A typical supermarket leaks 1,000 pounds into the atmosphere annually. That is because we do in-house preventative maintenance on our refrigeration equipment and catch things early before they become a large problem. We also work with a responsive refrigeration contractor, Mayda Mechanical LLC.”

The EPA’s GreenChill Partnership works with supermarkets to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change. The Partnership helps supermarkets transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants; reduce harmful refrigerant emissions; and adopt greener refrigeration technologies and environmental best practices.

For more information on the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/greenchill. Anyone may use the EPA’s climate change calculator for references to put the climate impact of refrigerants into context. It calculates equivalency results for passenger vehicles, gallons of gasoline, forests, etc. Find it at http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html.

To learn more about The Food Co-op’s environmental efforts, please read the store’s recently published 2014 Sustainability Report.

News from the Board Nov 2014

November 21st, 2014 by Rachel Williams

PATRONAGE DIVIDEND VOTE graphic

PATRONAGE DIVIDEND VOTE graphicMembers Approve Patronage Dividends

The results are in from the member vote on adopting a Patronage Dividend System. Members had the opportunity to vote, during a 25 day period beginning October 25 and ending November 19th, whether or not to adopt changes to The Food Co-op’s Articles of Incorporation that would allow for Patronage Dividends. We are pleased to announce that the initiative passed with 94% in favor. A total of 973 votes were recorded, with 915 Yes votes and 58 No votes.

Board Vote December 2 on By-Law Amendment

The next step in the process of establishing a Patronage Dividend system is for the board to approve changes to The Food Co-op’s bylaws. These changes will bring the bylaws into alignment with the new Articles of Incorporation, and further specify how Patronage Dividends will be implemented. The Board will vote on adopting these By-Law changes at the December 2nd 2014 regular meeting. The By-Law Amendment can be downloaded below and is also posted on the Board’s Board in the store.

By-Law Amendment 12.2.14

Thanks for taking the time to be an engaged member of The Food Co-op!

Annual Report 2012

May 28th, 2013 by Kathie

AR2013_coverIn 2012, we experienced growth, gave back to the community, and celebrated our 40th anniversary. Click the image on the left to read the full report. Thank you for shopping at the Food Co-op and contributing to our success!

Annual Meeting 2013

April 15th, 2013 by Kathie

AM

Co-op Bean Program Wins National Award

January 22nd, 2013 by Kathie

Bean Jar smallWe are pleased to announce that the Port Townsend Food Co-op won the small store retailer, Neighborhood Health Improvement category in the 2012 Food Marketing Institute Community Outreach Awards for our Beans for Bags Program. For this, we will receive a plaque as well as $1,000. The money will be used for more outreach into our community.

It just goes to show that something as small as a bean or a nickel can make a big difference.

“Every bean is equal to one and two-thirds pounds of food from Food Life Line, where we order our food from,” said Shirley Moss, the Jefferson County Food Bank manager. “If we didn’t have the contribution from the Food Co-op it would be very difficult to provide for all of these people. We served 325 families [on the] Wednesday after Thanksgiving. That’s a massive amount for us on a normal day.”

Every year, our food co-op gives over $27,000 to Jefferson County organizations in charitable contributions which includes Beans for Bags donations. In 2012, the Bean donation total topped $8,000 – a new record! In the last five years, the Food Co-op has given back a total of $37,845.19 to the community through this program.

The Food Co-op has never given out plastic bags and has always encouraged member/owners to bring their own bags as well as their own containers for produce and bulk food. In 2008, we began the Beans for Bags Program in which we gave our member/owners the choice of receiving either a nickel refund for each container or bag they bring for their groceries, or a bean worth five cents which they can drop in their choice of glass gallon jars designated for three local non-profit organizations. One of those three non-profit organizations is always the county food bank. The other two choices come from nominations made by the member/owners themselves. Those organizations typically serve local schools including Head Start, the local NAMI chapter, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, the homeless shelter, the animal shelter, the public library, the local hospice, a free clinic, United Good Neighbors, local farmer support, Habitat for Humanity, and an abused women’s shelter, among others.

We thank our Co-op shoppers for their generosity and strong support of the Beans for Bags Program.

 

Strategic Plan for 2013-2017

January 10th, 2013 by Kathie

Strategic Plan double truck new endsAt the December 2012 board meeting, a five-year strategic plan was unanimously adopted to set the direction for the Food Co-op’s future.

“A strategic plan is an opportunity to look towards the future that you want to create and then assess where you are currently, then look to align efforts and resources,” said Sam Gibboney, board president. “It’s that budgeting of effort and resources that the strategic plan helps an organization to make the daily choices that we have. Any organization, any person, particularly in this day and age, is faced with a multitude of decisions every day where they can put their attention, put their time, put their money, and the Co-op is no different.”

The full document is now available online at: Food Co-op Five-Year Strategic Plan: 2013-2017.

»