PT Food Co-op

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

Strategic Plan Renewal: Market Relevance

March 24th, 2017 by Rachel Williams

by Owen RoweLight bulb graphic

As previously mentioned on this blog and in The Commons, 2017 is time for The Food Co-op to renew its five-year Strategic Plan. The 2018-2022 Strategic Plan will represent small course corrections, not major shifts. We’ll be making these updates at Board meetings and member-owner events over the course of 2017.

Our Strategic Plan has five Goals, also known as Ends in the policy manual which governs Co-op decision-making. We recently completed the review and renewal for our first Goal, or End A1. Here’s what we came up with:

A1:      Market Relevance

We will be the marketplace of choice for our community to access local, organic, and non-GMO products.

Strategies:

  • Distinguish our Co-op as the best place to buy healthy food in our community.
  • Provide exceptional customer service and a welcoming, vibrant atmosphere.
  • Help Co-op members access reasonably priced whole foods and basic goods.
  • Cultivate and promote member benefits to retain and attract new members to our Co-op.
  • Evolve our long-term facilities plan.

Overview:

At its core, The Food Co-op exists to provide access to healthy food for member-owners in our community. To deliver on that promise, we need to establish and secure our position in a competitive marketplace, and ensure our continuing relevance to our membership and the community as a whole. All of the choices we make in running our store support this goal. We choose to carry products which are healthy for people, the environment, and our economy and society. Our staff ensures that everyone is welcome, and we work to make shopping at the Co-op accessible both physically and economically. Our planned expansion addresses immediate facilities needs, and we will continue to develop a long-term facilities plan. Finally, as a Co-op, we offer something no other business can match: the opportunity to become a member-owner of the business and participate in shared governance, profit sharing via patronage dividends, and an economic movement ensuring that business benefits people first.

What’s Next?

A2: Food System Development is up next. Stop by the alcove in the store Tuesday April 18th, between 2:30 and 3:45pm to talk with Board members and share your thoughts on this part of our strategic plan. We’ll discuss revisions at the May Board meeting and, as always, members are welcome to attend. At the end of the year, we’ll revisit all five sections for minor adjustments, then formally adopt our new Strategic Plan—taking The Food Co-op to our 50th Anniversary in 2022!

Keep an eye on this blog and the Board’s board in the store for more opportunities to engage. We hope to see you at a Board meeting—or contact us at coopboard@foodcoop.coop with your input.

 

FAQs: Running for the Board

February 28th, 2017 by Rachel Williams

Board members at the June 2016 Board retreat on Whidbey Island.

The Food Co-op board members at a June 2016 retreat on Whidbey Island.

Have you thought about serving on the Board of Directors of your co-op? As a democratically governed cooperative, The Food Co-op is seeking members to run for the board in our upcoming election. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions that might help you decide if this opportunity is a good fit for you.

Our board works hard, has a lot of fun, and as you might imagine, we eat pretty well! Come to our next board meeting Tuesday March 7th, 5:30pm at The Food Co-op Annex (2110 Lawrence Street) to check out what we do and join us for dinner. You can also email boardassistant@foodcoop.coop or call 360-379-5798 to schedule a coffee date with a current board member. Candidate applications for the 2017 election are due Friday March 10th. See below, or http://foodcoop.coop/about/board-elections/ for details.

And now for those Frequently Asked Questions!

What is the Board of Directors and what does it do?

As the representative of our members, The Food Co-op’s Board of Directors is an important link between the members and the Co-op. The Board’s role is a high-level one: We craft long-range strategies that bring the Co-op into alignment with our stated Mission and Principles. The Board uses a management system called Policy Governance. This system is designed to help the Board focus on the larger policy issues of the organization rather than be involved in day-to-day decisions. We work closely with the General Manager, who implements those strategies in the day-to-day operations of the store. Each month, the GM reports on various aspects of those efforts, keeping the Board informed of how we are moving towards the ends we have established.

What does the Board NOT do?

The Board does not involve itself in operational details. We do not make decisions about what we stock, the specifics of personnel issues, or the layout of the store. The Board governs by declaring, through its policies, the results it wants and the actions it wants the General Manager to avoid while achieving those results.

What are the qualities and abilities that are needed for a Board member?

The Board seeks candidates with constructive and creative leadership skills to contribute sound reasoning and judgment to the Board governance process. A good board has a wide variety of interests and experience.  Key attributes are:

  • Integrity—Zero tolerance for unethical behavior.
  • Collaboration—Recognize the difference between productively participating in discussions and counter-productively dominating deliberations through the volume or length of comments. Able to work with other members to create workable compromises.
  • Participation—Speak out and actively participate in Board and committee deliberations.
  • Focus—Make relevant, informed comments focused on the specific aspect of the issue being considered. Able to stay on topic.
  • Strategic Thinking—Able to see the big picture and be future oriented.
  • Commitment—Committed to the success of the Food Co-op and its Mission and Principles.

How much time must I commit?

The Board holds one regular meeting for three to four hours on the first Tuesday of each month. In addition, every board member must join at least one Board committee, which usually meet monthly. Board members are expected to attend occasional retreats and member meetings and are highly encouraged to attend various board leadership and training opportunities. In all, you can expect to devote at least 15 to 20 hours a month to Board service.

Board members are expected to commit for the full term to which they are elected or appointed.

Where are Board meetings held?

The regular Board meeting is held at the Co-op Annex, located at 2110 Lawrence Street, next door to Crossroads Music. Meetings start promptly at 5:30 pm. Committee meetings and retreats may be at other Port Townsend locations. We strongly encourage all candidates to attend at least two of our Board meetings prior to the election.

What compensation is there for serving?

  • Board members receive a $49 food credit every month of Board service. The president receives a monthly $200 cash stipend, and the other officers (Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer) receive a monthly $150 cash stipend. If your compensation exceeds $600 in the year, you will receive an IRS form 1099 to report your compensation.
  • Board members are entitled to special order/bulk order discounts. Currently the discount is “cost +10%” for food, non-food items, and supplements, except for single-order items from UNFI.
  • In addition, you will receive the good feeling of contributing to the success of our democratically run food co-op and you will experience the satisfaction of working with a Board of passionate, skilled leaders.

Why is it important that I attend at least two Board meetings before the Election?

Observing our meetings will clarify and demonstrate the Board’s governance role and will give you a good idea of what you can expect should you serve. You can also dig deeper and read our bylaws, mission and principles, policy register, and strategic plan at http://foodcoop.coop/board-of-directors/.

When will elections be held and how many seats are open?

The annual election is from May 1st through May 14th, 2017. For this election, there are three (3) Board positions available. Two of those positions are for a three-year term. One is for a one year term. Of the three candidates elected, the one with the lowest number of votes will be appointed to the one-year term.

Can I run for the Board if I work for The Food Co-op?

Our bylaws allow for up to one employee of The Food Co-op to serve on the board at any given time. Because there is currently an employee of The Food Co-op serving on the board for a term lasting until 2019, there is not an opportunity for another employee to run for the Board in this election cycle.

OK, I’ve decided to run – now what?

It’s time to complete the candidate application process. You will submit a brief personal statement that addresses a list of questions, and provide a photograph. Download the application form from our website http://foodcoop.coop/about/board-elections/. Email the completed form, along with a current photo of yourself, to boardassistant@foodcoop.coop by 9:00pm Friday March 10th 2017.

Time to Renew Our Strategic Plan

January 31st, 2017 by Rachel Williams

Light bulb graphicOver the coming year, we will be doing some exciting work. Our five-year Strategic Plan wraps up in 2017. The plan has been very useful to both the board and the general manager in focusing our efforts, and while we’ve agreed that we don’t need a whole new strategic plan, we do want to revisit and re-engage with it. So over the next year, we will be reviewing and revising, and we welcome member-owner input.

Keep an eye on the Board’s board and The Food Co-op website for more information as it becomes available.  You’ll be able to visit with us in the alcove (dates and times to be determined) or you can attend the relevant board meetings.  The first discussion on the Strategic Plan is scheduled for the February 7th board meeting, held at 5:30pm at The Food Co-op Annex, 2110 Lawrence Street.  The section we’ll be working on will be Market Position (please see the current language below).  Please contact us at coopboard@foodcoop.coop with your input, or we’ll hope to see and hear from you at the February 7th meeting!

  1. Market Position

We will be the market of choice for our community to access local, organic, and non-GMO products.

Strategies:

  • Distinguish our Co-op as the best place to buy healthy food in our community, with exceptional customer service and a welcoming, vibrant, fun atmosphere.
  • Improve and promote programs and systems that help Co-op members access reasonably priced whole foods and other basic goods.
  • Cultivate and promote member benefits to create greater value for our members and foster loyalty.
  • Develop and implement our long term facilities plan.

Local Food, Democracy, and You!

January 24th, 2017 by Rachel Williams

Part of Our BunchThe Food Co-op is recruiting members to run for the Board of Directors in 2017

We asked Board Treasurer David Wayne Johnson—who enjoys being on the board so much he ran for a second term in May!—to write a few words about why he chose to be on the board:

“When I was asked to run for a position on the Co-op’s Board of Directors in 2013, I had to ask myself some questions. Would I have the time for it? Would I benefit from it? Would I be making a difference in the community? I felt good enough to answer those questions “yes,” and I’m glad I did, because I’ve had a tremendously positive experience serving on the board these past 3 ½ years, for the following reasons: The time commitment is manageable, due in large part to the great support staff who keep us organized and using our time as productively as possible. The work is fun, engaging, challenging, and rewarding, both personally and collectively. We do get some compensation through a stipend, but the real benefit is knowing that we are making a positive difference in our Co-op and community while developing our skills at collaborative governance. Election season will soon be upon us, so pick up a candidate packet at the Member Services Desk after February 10 and come to a board meeting to see what we do!”

Want to learn more about what it means to serve on the Board?

Attend a board meeting, held at The Food Co-op Annex, 2110 Lawrence Street:

Tuesday February 7th 5:30pm – Study Topic: Strategic Plan Revision
Tuesday March 7th, 5:30pm – Study Topic: Meaning of Ownership

Talk to board members in the Alcove:

Tuesday January 17th 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Tuesday February 21st 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Contact Rachel at 379-5798 or boardassistant@foodcoop.coop  with questions, or to schedule a coffee date with a current board member!

Application deadline for the 2017 Board Election is March 10, 2017. Watch for application packets on our website or at the Member Services Desk after February 10th.

 

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.

Recipe for Injera from Sidonie Wilson

September 19th, 2016 by myrya

HOW TO MAKE INJERA

Recipe by Sidonie Wilson
Makes a little more than a quart of injera or
about 12-14 flat breads using ⅓ cup batter each

Special Equipment:
crepe spreader, crepe pan
These are nice to have if you make injera often but you can also use a cast iron griddle and the back of a big spoon.

Day Before Ingredients
1 cup teff flour
½ cup barley flakes
⅔ cup sorghum flour
⅓ cup potato starch
2 tablespoons flaxseed measured and then ground
½ cup firm levain (sourdough starter)
2 cups filtered water

Next Day Ingredients
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
Extra water and ¼ teaspoon increments of baking soda if you make injera in more than one session.

In The Evening
In a food processor:
Grind barley flakes into a fine meal
Add other flours and ground flaxseed
Spin until combined
Crumble ½ cup firm levain into Food Processor with flours  (Or ½ cup regular sourdough starter)
Spin for 1 minute
Pour into a mixing bowl
Add water and stir
Cover and set in at room temperature until fermented about 12 hours.

Next Day
The batter should taste pleasantly sour and look puffed
Mix salt and baking soda with 1 cup water and mix into batter
The batter should be the consistency of thick cream.
You can always add  more water a little at a time as needed until right pourability is attained.

Cooking
Heat cast iron crepe pan on low for 10 minutes
Move up to medium heat
Set oven to warm and a dish to hold injeras
Every time you cook an injera you will lightly butter the griddle
I use Nit’r Qibe Ethiopian Spiced butter
Measure out ⅓ cup of batter
Pour the batter into the center of the buttered crepe pan
Holding the crepe spreader upright turn in a circle spreading the injera thinner with each turn. You can also make batter thinner and turn the pan itself.
Cover the crepe pan with a large lid and set timer for 1 minute.
After one minute the injera will have lots of bubbly holes, and be spongy on top
Put it in the oven, no need to turn it over.
Repeat for next bread
You only need to make as many as you will eat in a meal because the batter will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.
If you use more batter later, and like lots of bubbly holes, add ¼ teaspoon baking soda in water to the batter and stir. After the batter has sat a while,
it might need a little more water to retain the thick cream consistency.

Your Opportunity to “Taste” Board Membership

July 19th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

From Your Food Co-op BoardSilly Board June 2016

Sometimes owner-members approach us about serving on the Co-op Board but express reservations about making a 3-year commitment or running in a competitive election. Here’s an opportunity for one or more of you!

Our by-laws allow for the direct appointment of one or more members to serve until the following election (subject to a board vote). Last year, we appointed two interim board members because one of our members was leaving the board early. This worked so well—we obtained two hard working board members for seven months and one of them chose to run in the board election this spring—that we decided to do it again. So, if you wish to get a “taste” of what it’s like to be shaping the exciting future of the Co-op, this is a chance for you to do that without making a long-term commitment up front!

If you are interested:

• Come to our August 2 and/or September 6 Board meetings at the Co-op Annex at 2110 Lawrence Street.

• Pick up an application and information packet from the Member Services Desk (MSD) or download one here: 2016 interim candidate application. Fill out the application form and either submit it to Rachel at boardassistant@foodcoop.coop or drop it off at the Member Services Desk by September 13. And please note, you need to attend at least one Board meeting as part of the application process.

If you have any questions, contact Rachel Williams at boardassistant@foodcoop.coop or Lisa Barclay at boardsecretary@foodcoop.coop.

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.

Farm Fresh Recipes from Our Local Farmers

July 12th, 2016 by Ian

Save this special pull-out section from THE CO-OP COMMONS 2016 Summer Issue! Meet local farmers and learn what they love they cook.

FARM FRESH RECIPES-1

Marinade Made Simple

June 28th, 2016 by Ian

grilled_vegetablesGET YOUR GRILL ON

Treat your veggies like meat and toss them on the grill!

Asparagus, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, even cabbage are great! Small vegetables (cherry tomatoes) work better as kabobs.

Vegetables are less likely to stick if they’re marinated. Try sprinkling grilled vegetables with fresh herbs.

Marinade Made Simple: Remember this rule of four to make your own marinade.

  1. Sweet – honey, fruit, sugar
  2. Heat – hot sauce, red pepper flakes, chili
  3. Flavor – add flavor to meats with dry rub seasoning, veggies can use a bit of oil – experiment with different flavors
  4. Tangy – Citrus, vinegars
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