PT Food Co-op

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

2018 Board Election Results

May 17th, 2018 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Online and paper ballots were counted Tuesday, May 15th, following the close of the election period. 371 valid ballots were cast in the election.

In 2018 two candidates ran for two available seats on the board. The two seats are for full, three-year terms. The following candidates have been elected to The Food Co-op’s Board of Directors.

Dylan Carter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-year term (330 votes)

Juri Jennings  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3-year term (314 votes)

 Congratulations Dylan and Juri!

2018 Candidate Profiles

The candidates were asked to respond to the following questions in their candidate statements: 1) What skills and experience will you bring to the board of The Food Co-op? 2) How would you introduce and explain The Co-op to someone else? 3) What issues and/or opportunities would you like to see The Co-op board address over the next three years?

Dylan Carter

What skills and experience will you bring to the board of The Food Co-op?
I was appointed to the board at the beginning of 2018 and have enjoyed my time immensely so far.  As an employee working for The Co-op as a point of sale technician, I want to bring my experiences from inside the organization to help improve our internal workings and learn more about how to bolster our co-op further in the long term.  I work in a wonderful atmosphere and I would like to share that with as many people as possible while simultaneously molding it to attract new members and visitors.

In my time as an interim board member, I have been serving on the governance committee, which helps the board keep functioning smoothly by writing and revising policies and procedures.  As someone who always tries to find the devil in the details, focusing on refining our principles and finding any sticky wickets in the process has led me to great satisfaction in better shaping our co-op.  With our changing world, it is important that we continue to grow, evolve and adapt to best serve our community.

 How would you introduce and explain The Co-op to someone else?
The Food Co-op has always seemed to exist on its own separate magical plane of existence.  I remember my first time walking inside and being struck by the lively colors, the lush produce and the jovial atmosphere.  People know each other and know where their food comes from (or are even on a first name basis with whoever grows it) and if they don’t and are interested in learning, staff can help to inform them at the drop of a hat.  The Co-op is tightly knit community inside the tightly knit community of Port Townsend, bound together by shared values.  I want to continue to foster these ideals as much as I can within my power.

What issues and/or opportunities would you like to see The Co-op board address over the next three years?
In the coming term, I plan first and foremost to assist in streamlining The Co-op’s biggest project at the moment: the comping expansion.  In my capacity as a board member, a member of the safety committee, and an employee, I want to keep workflow and safety as high priorities through these big changes – the fewer surprises for staff and members, the better.  Additionally, I would like to focus on more outreach to local businesses and organizations – not just to bring in new desirable products, but for outreach partnerships that will benefit both entities.

If elected, I am interested in joining our board cultivation committee.  I am a serial networker by nature and would love nothing more than to spark passion in others.  Bringing everyone to contribute their best qualities to The Co-op, be that as a member, an employee or a future board member is a noble and necessary endeavor.  I truly believe that the more we all contribute, the more community we foster, the more cooperation we undertake the more we will all receive in the long run.

Juri Jennings

What skills and experience will you bring to the board of The Food Co-op?
Organizational skills (design and management of events), biculturalism (extended periods of time in both Japan and USA) and creativity/performance arts, all being my passion.

I am a current member of the sustainability committee at Fort Worden where I work as a Sales Manager, working to implement their first recycling program.  I have humbly been on The Co-op board for a year now and would like to continue to share my passions and representing a voice for all.

How would you introduce and explain The Co-op to someone else?
You cannot not notice the beautiful display of fruits/vegetables that are at the center of The Co-op.  There is an abundance of seasonal goods displayed with care and colors that make you happy. There is a product research committee that works to identify “unacceptable ingredients list” and the “dot list.”  And then there’s all the people who are really indescribable.  There is staff that has been working at The Co-op for 26 years and some of the incorporators from 1972 are still with us!  I think that speaks a lot about The Co-op culture and the passion.

What issues and/or opportunities would you like to see The Co-op board address over the next three years?
Traditions and inclusivity.  Driving our community so that healthy food is accessible to everyone and especially the children who steer our future.  I’m also inspired by our GM Kenna’s phrase “we want to be small but mighty.”  One of my teachers in Japan once told me that you want to be like a willow tree, so agile in the wind that no storm can take it down.  But first things first, I would like to see through the expansion and make sure The Co-op remains sustainable and thriving with all of the moving parts.

 

2018 Annual General Meeting

May 16th, 2018 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Think Local, Eat Local, Love Local!

Join us for our Annual Meeting and learn the latest news about our updated Strategic Plan, expansion, and annual report.

There will be presentations by local food superstars; stellar vendor booths; enjoyment of seasonal food; and good times guarantied.  Be sure to come on time because there will be prizes!

DATE: Sunday, June 10th

TIME: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

LOCATION: JFK Building at Fort Worden, 200 Battery Way, Port Townsend

GUEST SPEAKERS:

  • Judy Alexander, Jefferson County Local Food Systems Council
  • Alison Hero, Farmers/Restaurants
  • Stacey Larsen, Port Townsend School District
  • Dave Seabrook, Jefferson County Food Banks
  • Amanda Milholland, Eat Local First

PARTICIPATING VENDORS:

  • Midori Farm
  • Red Dog Farm
  • Alpenfire Cider
  • Mountain Spirit Herbal Co.
  • Cape Cleare Fishery
  • Short’s Family Farm
  • Bunny’s Bath
  • Lamb Farm Kitchen

General Manager’s Blog -April

April 20th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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).

General Manager’s Blog – March 2018

April 3rd, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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.

March 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

Staff have been hard at work thinking about how we will get our work done during the coming

construction. There are three main issues at the heart of this process: 1) How we will receive, stock, and store goods as they come into the store; 2) How we will mitigate the effect all this work will have on the parking lot; and 3) how we will communicate all of this information to staff and shoppers in a timely fashion. We’ve put together several teams to develop plans that we can put in effect as needed. While everyone knows having a plan is critical, we’re also preparing our team to be flexible and adapt as those plans inevitably change.

We will soon be changing credit card processors. One of the advantages of the new processor is that we will be able to take chip cards, AmEx, Apple Pay, and potentially, the upcoming e-WIC cards (possibly in 2019) at the register.

In the meantime, we’ve had several great demos, such as the Citrus Fest, sponsored by Organically Grown Company. Brendon O’Shea (once our Local Cultivator) was in the store for four hours sampling out all the great citrus available in winter and early spring. And in an ongoing effort to mitigate the loss of the MADay this year (due to expansion), we held a special 3-day, 10% off bulk confectionary sale prior to Valentine’s day.

Food System Development

During the last month, we gained seven new local items and 21 new regional items. We now have individually wrapped gluten-free cookies from Better Living Thru Coffee and a new vendor from Bellingham, Sea Witch Botanicals—our first order included incense and lip balms in tins.

Crop Calendars for 2018 have been finalized and sent out to our local farmers. These calendars organize who is our primary and secondary grower for all the local fruits and veggies. These calendars are the result of many meetings between our produce team and our local growers. The calendars tell us what crops to expect when and from whom, and help farmers plan their season.

In early February, we attended (and cohosted) a restaurateur/farmer meet up organized by the Jefferson County Local Food System Council. About 65 people attended this event designed to enable local restaurants and farmers to meet and discuss the whys and wherefores of using local food in their restaurants, as well as identifying first steps towards increasing farm-direct food use in Jefferson and neighboring county restaurants. There is a distinct possibility that the Co-op will be sharing versions of our crop calendars with the local restaurants to assist in their own ordering plans.

Land Works Collaborative met in December to review plans for 2018. The group will continue to have WSU as its fiscal sponsor and will meet quarterly for partner updates and to hear from potential clients. The Jefferson County Farmers Market has decided not to be a part of Land Works this year due to a lack staff time and a lack of interest from any Famers Market board member.

Building Internal Capacity

This winter we have had seven staff and two board members attend the “lean thinking” trainings held in PT and Chimacum. We are truly excited to have more staff attend these trainings, as they come back ready to help their teams find new, efficient, and effective ways to get our work done. We are also looking for different ways for these staff members to share not just their new knowledge but also the Lean-inspired projects they took on. Stay tuned!

In 2017, the Co-op board, interested member-owners, staff, and I spent a good portion of the year reviewing our existing strategic plan, measuring it against our progress over the past five years and evaluating its efficacy for the next five to seven—or even ten—years. With draft in hand, the board and the Co-op management team met in February to review our new plan, testing it against our assumptions and our reality. The three-hour meeting was filled with great conversation, great food, great work, and great results—not to mention fun!

Sustainability

The Co-op’s “green team,” SURF, conducted another audit of our dumpsters (trash) in early February. While we are still compiling and analyzing the data, anecdotal evidence (i.e., my

observations) indicates that our staff does a great job of recycling whatever can be recycled, and I am super impressed. Still, a big problem for us is what we call “contaminated paper.” These used, dirty, and/or wet paper products cannot be recycled, but they could be composted in a commercial composter, if one were available in our region. We are still pursuing this possibility with the county, but we’ve had no traction so far. If you think recycling and composting are important, you can write the county to ask them to get a commercial composter.

On Tuesday, February 20, the “grab & go” case was running a few degrees too warm. Staff noticed quickly, double checked temps, and pulled product so that there was no product loss. Adjustments were made so that the case could be reloaded the following morning. Turns out, the combination of low temperatures and low Freon due to a small leak resulted in the case not getting enough cooling. Repairs were soon made.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

The Product Research Committee completed their annual update to The Acceptable and Unacceptable Food Ingredients List (TAUFIL). The updated list will be available in the store and posted on our website.

New this month is the “Cooking with the Coop” club at the middle school. Sponsored by the Co-op, six local chefs are volunteering to plan and run a weekly after-school cooking program for the students at Blue Heron. We’re excited to help Stacey Larsen, Director of Food Service for the PT School District, make this dream a reality, and we’re excited to help kids learn to cook. This will be a pilot program added to the existing after-school arts and tutoring schedule. The Co-op will be covering the cost of the food and any related expenses, such as advertising and marketing.

We have also kicked off our own 2018 cooking classes (for all ages), featuring Sidonie Wilson, local chef and food arts teacher. The first class, learning to cook gluten free, was sold out with 15 attendees. In fact, we now think 15 is too many students and so will be setting the limit at 12 in future.

February GM Report

March 1st, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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!

General Manager’s Blog

January 22nd, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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.

 

January 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

In mid-December, we featured bulk nuts, seeds, and savory snacks with a three-day sale. We had a 30% sales increase on those items, and bulk department sales in general were up as well.

National Cooperative Grocer assisted us in creating a Goodness Giveaway, featuring Field Day Co+op Basics. On December 23, we gave the winning customer a selection of Co+op Basics worth over $100. In addition, on behalf of the winner, we donated $75 to our local Food Bank. Thanks to Marcia, Andrea, and Deb for putting together the display and selecting the winner.

Food System Development

The “Eat Local First “campaign is still in the beginning stages. Laura Llewelyn, our produce manager, will be on the steering committee as they work towards defining the vision and goals. To help kick off the campaign, the Food Co-op is sponsoring those efforts with a $1,000 investment, which will be used to write a grant, which in turn will be used to pay for the work needed to launch a successful campaign.

The produce team has been meeting with area farms to set up crop calendars for 2018. This work sets out agreements of what we intend to buy, from whom, when, and at what price. This helps farmers better understand the needs of the Co-op, plus it addresses some of the seasonal ebbs and flows that arise as the year progresses. This work helps the farmers plan their year and the Co-op provide more local produce during the shoulder seasons.

In the past month, we brought in four new local items, including Alpenfire’s Discovery Trail Cider (some proceeds are donated to the Discovery Trail). Plus, we brought in 20 new regional items, including 4Legz, a line of dog treats from Chehalis (check out their website at http://www.4legz.com), and Moon Valley Organics beeswax lip balms (https://www.moonvalleyorganics.com)—some proceeds go towards the “Save the Bee” campaign.

Building Internal Capacity

The Human Resources team has been hard at work ensuring that our staff get enrolled in our health benefits program. HR has also revised our pay ranges to reflect the new minimum wage laws going into effect in the new year. Although all our staff are already above the $11/hr wage, we reviewed our scales and revised them upward. We are still working with our staff to share the results of the employee engagement survey we conducted in the fall, due to increased workloads in other areas. Each team is scheduled to review their own departmental results and then work together to create plans to help us improve our workplace.

Sustainability

Covilli, one of our favorite nonlocal produce companies, has become the first company to be both 100% organic and 100% fairtrade. Their stated purpose is to bring change and empowerment to their farmworker population, who are mostly migrant workers from the states of Guerrero and Chiapas; the majority are part of indigenous groups that have been generationally marginalized. We often buy Covilli green beans, hot and sweet peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and some tomatoes through the winter, when such produce is unavailable locally. Our produce manager, Laura, visited the company in Mexico last year and was very impressed with their operations. Part of the price we pay goes directly to a co-op of migrant farm workers, who use it for schools, hospitals, and housing.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

The next issue of the Commons was published on January 3, 2018. This was truly a collaborative effort, as it began with Mark and me, and ended with Mindy and Andrea getting it to the printers. Many other staff helped guide this issue through its many stages, and I am so pleased we were able to make our deadlines and do it in style!

 

Developing Our Local Food System

January 15th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

Picture of Dharma Ridge Farm – http://dharmaridgefarm.com

by Laura Llewellyn, Produce Manager

A lot of the work I do is focused on developing our local food system, which comes in a complex array of shapes and sizes. It’s not just about the farmers or our local producers of value-added products. It’s also about the schools, the restaurants, the farmer’s markets, all the grocery stores and various institutions. It’s about the gleaners and the food bank, the policy workers and the leaders of our community, the home gardeners and CSA members. It’s about each and every one of you. Naturally, eating is the one thing we all share in common.

Currently, I am The Food Co-op’s representative on the Jefferson County Local Food System Council (JCLFSC). Our mission: Working together to create, expand, and strengthen a local food system that is accessible, healthy, sustainable, and economically vibrant.
The JCLFSC was founded in 2015 and is comprised of about 20 volunteers who meet once a month. Each member represents a different sector of our food system. Much of the last three years has been spent on dialoging, networking and mapping. The result of this work is just starting to ripple out into the community.

The Food Council has two main committees in addition to the Executive Committee. The Policy Committee has spent considerable time drafting input to the Comprehensive Plan for both Port Townsend and Jefferson County. The Education and Outreach Committee is currently working with the Eat Local Campaign on two main fronts (more on this campaign to come). First is a farmer meetup on January 5 to plan how to increase local food use by restaurants.

The goal of this meeting is to strengthen relationships and thus purchasing power between farmers and chefs county-wide. Second is an initiative to start a number of Menu for the Future discussion courses. In the winter, groups will be meeting for six weeks all over the county to discuss food-related topics. Anyone can participate in this grassroots educational opportunity. For more information on the JCLFSC or if interested in signing up for a Menu for the Future group, email Judy Alexander at jclocalfoodsystemcouncil@gmail.com.

Through the workings of The Food Co-op and the Food Council, an Eat Local First campaign has been born. More accurately, the campaign is still in its inception stage. After three meetings, a group has surfaced that shares the common goal of turning up the dial on local food consumption. We are taking inspiration from the work Sustainable Connections is doing in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. The steering committee is working to identify our vision and mission, create structure for the campaign and find funding. If you are interested in learning more as the details unfold, joining our efforts or contributing any resources to the campaign, you can email me at laura@foodcoop.coop.

I have found that many of the conversations I have personally and professionally about eating local comes back to the topic of education. It might be information about certain products or vendors, actually getting people to taste the food, info about general nutrition, the economics of local businesses, or simply a story that paints a picture in one’s mind. Bottom line, our food system is comprised of the choices we make three or more times per day. These decisions are made for many reasons, ranging from budget, to diet, to access, or to what we simply crave. All I ask is, next time you have a choice to make, think about eating local. Every dollar spent in our community multiplies within our community. Since we are what we eat, it serves every one of us to learn more about where our food comes from.

What we did in 2017:

❀ Held a thank you dinner/workshop with local farmers

❀ Bought from 122 different local farmers and makers

❀ Purchased over $1.2 million in goods from local producers

❀Added the amount of local dollars you spent at the Co-op to your register receipt

❀ Gave microloans totaling $10,000 to 2 local farms.

A4: Environmental Sustainability

January 9th, 2018 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Strategic Plan Renewal

This year the board is reviewing and revising our strategic plan to update it for another five years. The plan has five goals, also known as Ends, and these Ends are what help make The Food Co-op different from your usual store. At the September board meeting, we worked on the fourth End, Environmental Sustainability. Here’s what we came up with:

End A4:  Environmental Sustainability

by David Wayne Johnson

Title: Environmental Sustainability

End: Our operations will be sustainable, while working to reduce our environmental impact.

Strategies:

Strategies:

  • Continue to improve our energy efficiency and reduce our waste.
  • Measure and report on progress towards environmental sustainability.
  • Consider environmental impacts when choosing products, or making equipment and facility improvements
  • We will model an active culture of environmental sustainability.

Overview:

This End places major emphasis on reducing our operational impact on the environment. We discussed the possibility of dropping the word “environmental,” recognizing that we must be sustainable as a business as well fiscally, product, and staff-wise, with a member-base that will allow us to sustain our operations over the long term; but, we decided to place most of the focus on reducing waste and lowering our environmental impacts since these other areas are covered under the other four Ends of the Strategic Plan.

As such, we wanted to be sure that we consider what impact we may have on the environment whenever we make choices that affect operations. We also wanted to be clear that we intend to model this kind of behavior as leaders in sustainability for our members and the community at large.

For the most part, the strategies written five years ago have worked well, so we did not change them drastically. Operating under the idea that changes should only be made if there was a compelling reason to make them, we left the first two strategies as they were. We did, however, modify the third and fourth strategies to better consolidate and state our intent to consider our impacts in all areas of operations. We also discussed whether we needed an additional strategy regarding education on environmental sustainability, but decided that was more appropriate for the next End, A5 (Education, Outreach, and Advocacy), and simply stated we would be a cultural model for the environmental sustainability.

General Manager’s Blog

January 5th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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.

December 2017 GM Report 

Market of Choice

We are super excited and honored to have our produce department named #1 in the Reader’s Choice awards given by the Leader. We are so proud of our team and love the fact that others recognize their work as well.

In late November, we began offering our customers the option of buying Boiler Room tokens to give to people in need. The Boiler Room offers a safe space to youth as well as a free meal (plus access to services) to anyone. Coffee is not free, though. Now you will be able to buy a coffee token at the Co-op for $1.50 to give to anyone in need and you’ll know that person will be also be fed. All funds raised go to The Boiler Room to help them fulfill their mission.

In October, we had $1 off coupons available for several manufacturers who were supporting a “Plant the Seed” promotion.  For every coupon used, $1 was donated to a fund to be used to educate beginning organic farmers. Shoppers redeemed 187 coupons.

In mid-November, we ran a three day 10% discount sale on bulk baking supplies for the holiday baking season.

Food System Development

In November, we brought in three new local items, plus we switched our bulk kombucha to Iggy’s from Bainbridge Island. This new on-tap kombucha system has the added benefit of using refillable kegs. Our previous provider had switched to plastic kegs that could not be refilled or reused (at least on the Olympic Peninsula) and were being sent to the landfill. Additionally, we brought in twelve new regional items and one new vendor, Acme Farms cheese from Bellingham. Acme Farms purchases its milk from Coldstream Dairy, located directly across the road from the cheese plant, so the milk is super fresh, and they don’t use rBST. We are selling two of their small batch, artisan cheeses, Camembert and Petit Brie.

Building Internal Capacity

We are pleased to announce that a new marketing manager joined our team in December. Andrea Stafford has experience in natural foods and retail grocery, including six years at Whole Foods in various marketing roles. Her education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Advertising as well as graphic design/animation certificates. Andrea also has wide experience in designing successful events and community outreach.

Food services has continued their work with LEAN to organize their supplies and work flow. For example, based upon a suggestion from a team member, they recently purchased clear storage bins, which make stocking and ordering more efficient. We also installed a new double steamer to replace a single unit that failed.

Environment

In December, we continued our work begun earlier this year to clean and open up the parklet located on the right of way between the Co-op and Penny Saver. This additional work included removing the blackberries that have been choking out the fruit trees growing there, work that will have the added benefit of further improving the security of everyone who uses that space.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

Co-op shoppers donated $661.20 to the Cooperative Development Foundation in October. These funds were sent to Puerto Rico to help that island’s cooperatives recover from the devastation caused by the hurricanes.

The Product Research Committee completed their review of a draft humane meat policy, which is now being reviewed by staff, to implemented by the end of 2017.

Starting in February, we will offer another range of cooking classes taught by Sidonie Wilson. Sidonie will also continue to write feature articles for our newsletter, the Commons.

Finally, we are exploring the possibility of sponsoring a Worker Co-op Academy, to be held here in Port Townsend in the spring. In a 10-12 week course, the Northwest Cooperative Development Center staff would take three to five groups committed to forming worker or housing co-ops through the start-up phases, such as a feasibility study, by-laws, and a business plan. At the end of the academy, the groups will ideally be prepared to start their membership and capital drives. Before we can schedule an academy, we’ll need three to five groups of four to five people who have a strong commitment to starting a worker-owned coop or a housing coop. Please contact me if you are interested; gm@foodcoop.coop.

 

January 3rd, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

Nourishing Our Community

by Kenna S Eaton

I’ve been living in Port Townsend for almost 7 years now—and have really grown to love the generous nature of our community. Citizens are always giving—of their time through volunteering (quite honestly we must be the most volunteering town in the country!) and through financial donations to a wide array of organizations from protecting farm lands to feeding those in need. It is truly amazing to live in such a place that wants to make sure everyone has a roof over their heads and to feed everyone good food.

And that generosity has also led to an increase of people wanting to live in Port Townsend, or at least be here for a while. In those past 7 years I have seen a significant increase in the number of people moving to town—sometimes those people don’t find an affordable place to live or do, but can’t make ends meet when they get here. There has also been an increase in folks with no intent to live here but who are drawn by our generosity regardless. This community has become increasingly noticeable as the season and years progress, and one symbol of that is the increase in the number of panhandlers all over town, including at The Food Co-op. The Co-op has become especially attractive to panhandlers as we have such compassionate staff and members; people who really care and want to feed those in need. Our shoppers are unique in that they want to nourish others even when they themselves may not have a lot of money. Unfortunately one of side effects we see with that type of giving is that it can feed addictions, rather than filing bellies.

To help change this dynamic The Food Co-op is partnering with The Boiler Room to offer an alternative for those in need. The Boiler Room offers a safe space to youth and a free meal (plus access to services) to anyone in need. They also sell a cup of coffee for $1.50. Coffee is not free, but a free meal is offered. Now, our members will be able to buy one of The Boiler Room tokens at the Co-op for $1.50 to give to anyone in need and know that person will be also be fed. It’s called ‘paying it forward’ and all funds raised go back to The Boiler Room to help them fulfill their mission.

Please consider helping those in need by purchasing a token, or five, next time you shop at the Co-op and giving tokens, instead of cash, to panhandlers. Also think about how can we as a community work together to find other ways of fulfilling those needs, and to embark on those difficult conversations that can ultimately result in change. Thank you.

Our notes:

The Boiler Room is dedicated to building community by providing a safe space for the growth and improvement of individuals. Services at The Boiler Room are provided with the least possible number of barriers; no proof of need is required. The only must is that everyone must be respectful.

From January to November 2017, The Boiler Room served 23,013 meals to our community and provided over 3,000 free hygiene supplies. Also offered are free art lessons, music, job training, and a safe, clean, dry space to be in all weather. Programs at The Boiler Room are made possible by volunteers. For more information, please see www.ptbr.org. Thank you!

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