PT Food Co-op

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

Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Untangling the Seafood Industry

April 5th, 2016 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Tuna-Albacore-cropby Kenna Eaton, General Manager

Seafood industry increasingly hard to untangle

Do you know where your seafood comes from? All seafood—fresh, frozen, and canned—is part of a massive global fishing industry, and the mechanics of fishing as well as the demand for inexpensive seafood have created conditions that make it cheaper to process the seafood in Thailand than in the various places where seafood is caught. All of which makes it increasingly difficult to identify who caught your fish where and under what conditions.

Some Thai tuna linked to human rights abuses

Recent media stories about human rights abuses in Thailand related to the fishing industry have caught the attention of some of our members, so The Food Co-op invited Andréa Linton of Crown Prince Producers to come discuss both the larger industry and what her company does differently from typical producers. It turns out that most of the cases of forced labor—that is, modern-day slavery—are found on the massive vessels that go out to sea for months at a time, fishing in open waters for the larger tuna. Those ships freeze the tuna they catch before coming back to Thailand to process the fish into “fresh” or canned tuna. Some producers, concerned about social justice, have opted to follow a different path, using smaller vessels that go out on short trips and return to process their catch, usually daily.

Crown Prince pursues fair work practices

Having worked in the seafood industry for 17 years, Andréa has seen many changes, and she described how Crown Prince has often been at the forefront of positive change. Crown Prince chooses to work with small producers with whom they have built personal relationships. They can trace the fish from the boat to the packer; they know which batches of fish come from which vessel. In addition, they regularly inspect the operations of their suppliers. In Thailand, Crown Prince makes lengthy visits (several days at a time) to their packer—and cannery—with whom they’ve worked for 30 years. This packer is also audited every year for compliance with the USDA on a range of questions, including working conditions.

Our shopping choices matter  

Seafood is a commonly held resource but no one is managing it, which means it is everyone’s responsibility to ask questions about where our seafood comes from. And if we want ethically produced seafood, we’ll have to pay the true cost. As always, if something is too cheap, someone somewhere is paying for it. In the meantime, The Food Co-op will continue to research the complicated issues around sustainability and fair labor, and in the next few months, we’ll post information in our store helping you to make informed choices.


Did You Know? Cool Co-op Facts from Your Co-op Board

December 1st, 2015 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Board icon cool coop factsLocal Sales Increase

At our November meeting, the board was very excited to learn that the Co-op’s purchases from local farms increased by 21% in the last year!
We added new local products, plus some of our farmers were able to extend the season for a few fruits and veggies—for instance, raspberries. Plus, we now have more local egg producers (Finnriver and Lamb Farm), so now you don’t have to rush to the Co-op on Monday to get local eggs before they are all gone. (Although, of course, egg production slows down in the winter, so we still might run out.)

Our efforts in organic sales have also been paying off, as we saw a 5% increase in organic sales.

Thank you, Member-Owners, for supporting your local farmers, producers, and food co-op!

Centsibles Helps with Our Food Budgets

The board also learned that the new Centsibles program—which makes a whole range of products as affordable as possible—has been a success. Sales of Centsibles products have increased 14% since the program began early this year—black beans and coconut milk increased 100%!—which means a lot of us are taking advantage of these prices.
The Co-op recently added another program to help us stretch our food dollar—Co-op Basics—which will result in lower prices on the Field Day brand. This opportunity comes to us through the efforts of the National Cooperative Grocers, which is a co-op of around 150 food co-ops, including ours. By standing together, we get better prices.

Centsibles Goes Local and Organic

We are now able to offer local Yukon Gold potatoes, Delicata squash, and carrots, as well as Washington onions, as part of the Centsibles program! How cool is that?

EPA Award

You can read about this award in full here, but I just have to mention this amazing statistic: The typical grocery store leaks about 1000 pounds of refrigerant gases into the atmosphere per year, but the Co-op only leaks 12 pounds.
Yes, just twelve.

Great New Distributor for Bulk—Hummingbird Wholesale

Hummingbird is a smallish distributor from Eugene, Oregon, that focuses on organic foods sourced with integrity. They consider the sustainability of the farming practices along with the nutritional value of the foods. Among other new bulk items, look for organic pumpkin seeds grown in Canby, Oregon.

Cooperatively Yours,

Lisa Barclay

Board Secretary

Co-op Wins EPA Emissions Award

October 13th, 2015 by

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 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

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