PT Food Co-op

Port Townsend Food Co-op, 414 Kearney St., Port Townsend, WA, 98368
Open Every Day 8am-9pm
Phone: (360) 385-2883


October 22nd, 2014 by Mindy

COMMONS Autumn 2014 cover

COMMONS Autumn 2014 coverCoopCommons Autumn Issue 2014 web

Food Co-op Supplements

October 22nd, 2014 by Mindy

NEW Vitamer Food Coop labels

NEW Vitamer Food Coop labelsOur own in-house line of supplements is made by Vitamer, a fourth-generation family-owned company. After many years, we updated our old golden labels with a fresh green color and new design featuring our heron.

Look for the new green labels – and, until October 31, you can buy two of any sized bottles of Vitamin D and save $5.
New Look – Same High Quality
• Amber colored recyclable glass bottles preserve freshness
• Labels list all ingredients to avoid consumer allergic reactions to unnamed ingredients
• Best By dates guarantee freshness
• Full body, tamper-evident sleeves ensure consumer safety

News from the Board Oct 2014

October 20th, 2014 by Cindy





The Board is proposing to implement a patronage dividend system for The Coop. The system would allow us to re-allocate some of our end of year profits—money that otherwise would be paid as taxes! This option is a benefit open only to cooperatives, as a way of redistributing profits back to the membership. Though the amount any member owner might receive is small, the cumulative effect of bringing thousands of dollars back into our community is significant. In order to make this change, a quorum of the membership must vote whether to amend our Articles of Incorporation to include provisions governing how the system would be implemented. And because our original articles were actually filed under the wrong statute 42 years ago, this also gives us the opportunity to resolve that old history.

A 25 day voting period will begin October 25, 2014. Members should look for an email with instructions for voting online. Alternatively, members may vote by paper ballot in the store during the voting period.


Download and read the full text of the proposed and existing Articles of Incorporation.



Find answers to frequently asked questions about Patronage Dividends:


Attend a Special General Meeting on October 25, 2:15pm-4pm at the Senior Center/Rec Center in uptown Port Townsend. All members are invited to come and learn more about the proposal.

Talk with members of the Board and/or the GM in the Store Alcove during the following days/times: Friday Oct 24, 11am-2pm, Monday Oct 27 2:30-5:30pm, Saturday Nov 8 2:30-5:30pm, Monday Nov 10 2:30-5:30pm & Monday Nov 17 2:30-5:30pm.

Review an article on Patronage Dividends from Board Secretary Lisa Barclay (originally published in the Spring 2014 Commons):

A Patronage Dividend System: Keeping Our Money in Our Community

Read an “opposing view” submitted by a concerned co-op member:

An Opposing View


At the Board Meeting Tuesday October 7, 2014 the board voted to adopt an amendment to Article II Membership and Article VII Capital of the By-Laws. The amendment updates and clarifies the definition of “Active Member” status, which determines eligibility to vote in co-op elections. These changes will be in effect for the upcoming Patronage Dividend vote beginning October 25th.

  • Voter eligibility will be determined at the end of the day before voting begins. This is the biggest change from our previous policy.  Members will no longer be able to pay CI during the voting period to become eligible.
  • Members will need to have shopped at The Food Co-op at least one time during the previous 12 months in order to be eligible to vote.

Summary: Active Member By-law Change

Active Member Bylaws change approved 10.7.14

Thank you for taking the time to be an informed and engaged member of the Food Co-op!

Members may contact the board at

Spring 2014 Co-op Commons

April 16th, 2014 by Kathie

COMMONS Spring 2014_Page_01Spring is here! Are you ready to garden? Check out our garden planting guide inside!

Beans for Bags – Dec. 2013 to Jan. 2014

February 5th, 2014 by Kathie

Thank you for supporting this program!BeansBagsFlyerDec.2013GraphicSummary13CompleteBeansBagsFlyerJan.2014


Winter 2014 Co-op Commons

January 20th, 2014 by Kathie

Commons cover 2014JanFebMarIn this issue we make gluten-free sourdough crepes with Sidonie, meet our Grocery Team Leader Rodney, check out our citrus producers, and give you the low-down on chocolate just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Click on the cover at the left to read the whole issue online.

Beans for Bags – Nov. 2013

December 3rd, 2013 by Kathie

We thank our customers for supporting this program which serves the needs of so many in our community.


Beans for Bags – Oct. 2013

November 6th, 2013 by Kathie

Thank you for donating! Those nickels add up!


Fall 2013 Co-op Commons

October 2nd, 2013 by Mindy

FALL COMMONS 2013 coverIn this issue, we write about balance, crock up some slow-cooked beans, celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Organic Seed Alliance, get ready for holiday cooking, remember our old friend Scow Chow and an update on I-522 with the gutsy grandma!

Join our book group, play games in our dining room, talk to your Board over coffee, and have a wonderful fall!

Click on the cover to read more…

GMOs: The Trust Issue

July 5th, 2013 by Kathie

By Kathie Meyer, Outreach/Education/Marketing Manager522buttons

By now, you have perhaps heard about the wheat plants found in an Oregon field that tested positive as genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat. More testing confirmed the wheat is the variety known as MON71800 developed by Monsanto. Because genetically engineered wheat has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is illegal to grow it.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) began an investigation on May 3 when an Oregon State University scientist notified USDA officials that plant samples they had tested positive for a protein that made them resistant to glyphosate. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide also known as Roundup, developed by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.

Genetically modified wheat is like GMO corn and soy beans in that if it is sprayed with Roundup, it will not die like the weeds that surround it. From 1998 to 2005, Roundup-resistant wheat was field-tested; in Oregon, the trials lasted from 1999 to 2001. In the end, Monsanto chose not to seek government approval of the seeds citing farmer concerns about the global market for GMO wheat.

Those farmers were right to be concerned. After the discovery of the illegal GMO wheat in Oregon in May, Japan, the second biggest importer of U.S. wheat after Mexico, cancelled part of a contract to buy western white wheat, and has suspended imports of both that variety and of feed wheat, according to Reuters. South Korea, which last year imported 1.2 million tons of U.S. wheat for food, and 1.2 million tons for feed, has also suspended some shipments. Japan and South Korea both have banned GMO products. Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru all have either banned or placed some restrictions on GMOs, too.

So where did this rogue Oregonian wheat come from?

It may be that seeds from the former test fields were carried by wind and have been growing in fields undetected until now. It may also be that GMO wheat seeds have been mixed with conventional seeds purposely or by human error.

“This is the third time that Oregon has had unregulated GMOs ‘escape’, in four years,” said Matt Dillon, director of Seed Matters and former director of Organic Seed Alliance of Port Townsend. Dillon is also an adviser to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on the National Genetic Resource Advisory Council.

“First was RoundUp Ready GMO sugar beet stecklings (immature living roots) that got into garden center compost in May of 2009,” Dillon said. “Then Roundup Ready Bentgrass in 2010.

“Regardless of conspiracies, potential threats of GMO crops to human health or the environment, there are two scientifically/objectively irrefutable facts: 1) there is no way to control ‘gene flow,’ and 2) the USDA-APHIS regulatory system is vastly inadequate,” said Dillon.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, Monsanto has explained the Oregon GMO wheat by raising the possibility that GMO detractors may have planted the wheat on purpose to raise sympathy for their cause. Several news sources quoted Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, as having said, “It’s fair to say there are folks who don’t like biotechnology and would use this to create problems.”

Okay. Let’s just say, for the moment, that Fraley’s statement is fair. Why would anyone not like Monsanto’s biotechnology? After all, when defending itself against accusations that farmer suicide in India has increased because of being forced to grow Monsanto’s Bollgard® or Bt cotton, the corporation said this on its web site: “The reality is that that the tragic phenomena of farmer suicides in India began long before the introduction of Bollgard in 2002. Farmer suicide has numerous causes with most experts agreeing that indebtedness is one of the main factors. Farmers unable to repay loans and facing spiraling interest often see suicide as the only solution.”

Whatever has caused these suicides, the fact is, according to the India Tribune, it is estimated that an Indian farmer kills himself every 12 hours. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), between 1995 and 2009, more than a quarter-million Indian farmers committed suicide.

In spite of those numbers, Monsanto’s web site remains steadfast in its influence on Indian agriculture: “In fact, a 2004 survey of cotton farmers in India by the IMRB International showed a 118 percent increase in profit for farmers planting Bollgard over traditional cotton. The same survey showed a 64 percent increase in yield and a 25 percent reduction in pesticide costs.”

Another Monsanto web page said this: “India’s Bt cotton revolution is a partnership between 6 million farmers and the agriculture industry. This year, Indian farmers celebrate the 10th anniversary of Bollgard® cotton in India.”

But does Monsanto report on its web site that in August 2012, India’s state of Maharashtra cancelled Mahyco Monsanto Biotech’s license to sell its genetically modified Bt cotton seeds? It does not. The question then begs itself: If Bt cotton was such a huge success in India, why is it now illegal to sell those seeds in this farm region?

Trust issues with Monsanto are a large motivator for Washington State’s Initiative 522. Advocates for the initiative want food created with GMO ingredients labeled as such. Why? Because they are not convinced that GMO food is safe to eat just because the FDA has approved its consumption. Why? Because in the past few decades, at least seven high-ranking employees in the FDA have an employment history with Monsanto. Other policy-making parts of government, including the United States Supreme Court with Clarence Thomas, are stocked with former Monsanto employees.

As the I-522 campaign heats up, it is important to watch where the anti-labeling messages come from. In recent articles in the Capital Press, a newspaper covering agriculture in the West, Heather Hansen is the chief spokesperson for the No on 522 campaign. She is also named as the executive director for the Washington Friends of Farms and Forests.

If you delve into the Internet though, you will find that Heather Hansen lists herself on her own LinkedIn profile as having left that director position in 2009. Hansen lists herself as the “’go to’ lobbyist on agricultural issues” and president of her own company which includes the Friends group as a client from 1998 to the present. But to confuse Hansen’s role with this group even further, she is still listed as the Friends’ executive director on their 2011 tax return. According to the tax return, she does not receive a salary as the executive director.

When asked about her LinkedIn profile, Hansen said, “That is not accurate. For the life of me, if you can tell me how to change it, I’d love you for it.”

Hansen explained her position with the Friends group by saying, “I am not an employee, I am contracted, which is pretty common. It’s always been that way.”

As for being a lobbyist, she said, “I do represent some other ag organizations. They are not relevant to this.”

The Washington Friends of Farms and Forests has just over 200 members, she said, many of which are other organizations.

Is Monsanto a member? “They are a member,” she said.

“Our farmers are very concerned about the red tape [and] the legal liability,” said Hansen. “Even if you’re not growing any GE crop, you still have to provide an affidavit with every crop.”

Regardless of Hansen’s exact role with the Washington Friends of Farms and Forests, the group itself should not be confused as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. This group is a 501 (c) 6 tax-exempt organization, which is defined as “business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, or board of trade which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.”

The mission of the this group, according to their web site, states that the Friends “actively engages in a variety of activities to increase awareness and understanding of the critical roles that pesticide and fertilizer products play in the economy, the environment and everyday life.” Past and present board members include representatives from Wilbur Ellis, Dow Agrosciences, and, yes, you guessed it, Monsanto.

Here at the Co-op, we have had an incident of anti-labeling literature being left anonymously on our free brochure rack between the public restrooms. One Saturday, I noticed color photocopies of a Forbes commentary written by Nina Easton, a panelist on “Fox News Sunday” and other Fox News shows. In this column, she wrote, “Poor farmers have in India, China, and West Africa have been pulled out of poverty because of their ability to grow pest-resistent GM cotton.” She calls the fight against GM crops “an elitist war on the world’s poor.”

I removed the photocopies mainly because, to leave literature in our store, it must be approved by store personnel (me). It isn’t that I mind having both sides of the issue presented, but what I do mind are cowards who sneak something in somewhere without letting anyone know what that it’s there.

I guess you could call it a labeling issue. Just like I-522.


Starting June 1, the Food Co-op will not stock any new non-organic products that include GMO high-risk items in their ingredient list unless they are enrolled in The Non-GMO Project or can provide us a detailed description of measures taken to avoid GMO contamination.

The following crops carry the risk of being genetically engineered because engineered varieties are grown on a large scale in North American and certain other parts of the world: alfalfa, canola (aka rapeseed), corn, cotton, soy, and sugar beets.

“We felt this is an important time to take a position on GMOs and labeling,” said General Manager Kenna Eaton. “We will continue evaluation existing products on a case-by-case basis, but to go back through all of the products already in the door prior to this new policy is a huge undertaking. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.”


The Food Co-op supports the passage of Initiative 522. We have “Yes on 522″ buttons in our store at the Member Services Desk for $2 and stickers for free. All proceeds go back to the I-522 campaign. To donate directly to the Yes on I-522 Committee, visit