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

News form the Board – Facilities Evolution Update July 2015

June 30th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

Hello, Fellow Member-Owners,

The Food Co-op Board has decided that even though there may not always be fresh news to tell, we should write an Evolution Update each month to let you know how things are going as we explore our facilities options. So here is the first update!*

Last fall, we formed a committee to map out the process for the Co-op’s evolution, comprised of our general manager, Kenna Eaton; our board assistant, Rachel Williams; and four board members, with board member David Wayne Johnson as committee chair. We named ourselves the Evolutionary Road Crew, or ERC—who says boards can’t have a sense of humor?

ERC divided the work on our facilities into several stages:

  • Phase 1: Define our facility needs
  • Phase 2: Identify a short list of options for feasibility study
  • Phase 3: Evaluate options, then board decision on preferred option(s)
  • Phase 4: Preliminary design and budget; ask for member approval
  • Phase 5: Pre-work work: contracts, permits, etc.
  • Phase 6: Remodel or construction or ?

We completed Phase I in the spring, and so we are currently working on Phases 2 and 3. As we’ve noted before, there is no perfect option. We are searching out all the feasible options, so that we can pick the most likely possibilities and study them more thoroughly. Since this process sometimes involves real estate or other organizations, we cannot always go into detail. If you are too open about your ideas and plans, the perfect piece of property might be snatched up before you can agree to purchase it! And sometimes the details are not ours to share.

To help with Phases 2 and 3, we are enlisting community members with expertise in various pertinent areas to be part of a work group to study our options. Summer is a busy time, but we plan to convene this work group as soon as we can.

We are trying to be comprehensive in our exploration of options, and we welcome any ideas a member might have on some new possibility. Maybe you and several of your friends want to start a development cooperative and build the perfect community center to include the Co-op! We love to hear all ideas, especially ideas that benefit everybody.

In addition to this blog and the Commons, you can check the Board’s Board at the front of the store (next to the bathrooms) for updates, information, and events. As a for instance, we are in the process of planning some events next fall where members, staff, and the board can learn about various topics pertinent to our co-op and then talk about them:  Organic: What Is It and Why Is It Important? (And how does it differ from natural?); Financial Literacy: What Do Those Numbers in the Annual Report Mean?; P6: Labeling Local, Small, and Cooperative Products (Is it for us?);  and we also plan to cover food topics this winter, such as Healthy Food Access.

So, until our next blog, we’ll see you at the Coop!

Cooperatively Yours,

Janet, Monica, Henry, David Wayne, Patricia, Peter, and Lisa

Coop Evolution

*To see earlier blogs on Co-op Evolution, including why we are looking to improve our facilities, please follow the links below, or scroll back through the blog and look for the Co-op Evolution image.

News from the Board: We Finished Phase 1 (4/13/2015)

News from the Board: Advisory Poll Responses (2/10/2015)

Your turn – Advisory Poll on Facilities (1/16/2015)

News from the Board – Consciously Choosing Tradeoffs (1/13/2015)

News from the Board – Co-op Facilities Evolution (12/26/2014)

 

Summer 2015 Co-op Commons

June 30th, 2015 by Kathie

COMMONS-Summer-2015-coverIn this issue, we introduce our new Jar Saver program, learn about wild edibles, discuss why B vitamins are important for our health, and give you some alternative refreshing drink recipes.

Annual Meeting May 31: Meet Our Guest Speakers

April 28th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

The Food Co-op Annual Meeting will take place Sunday, May 31, 3-6pm at the Northwest Maritime Center. Please join us!

Meet Our Guest Speakers:

Beth Robinette & Joel Williamson

“When I think about ‘local food system rock-stars,’ I think of Beth.” says Rachel Williams, the Food Co-op’s board assistant, who attended Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) with both Robinette and Williamson.

“Beth is one of the most passionate, intelligent, hard working and inspiring people I know working on building healthy local food systems from the ground up. I’m very excited about what she and Joel are doing with Local Inland Northwest Cooperative (LINC) Foods, and I can’t wait to have them share their successes and vision with our co-op community here in Port Townsend.”

Beth Robinette and Joel Williamson are the co-founder of LINC Foods, a co-op that distributes food from member farmers in the Spokane area to restaurants, school districts, and university food service.

Since launching in the summer of 2014, membership has grown from 13 to 28 farmers and producers. They have provided local food to all of the area school districts, and Gonzaga University Food Service is an enthusiastic customer.

Joel & Beth of LINC Foods

Beth is a fourth-generation rancher managing Lazy R Ranch where her family uses holistic management practices to raise grass-fed beef. Joel is also an area native with roots in agriculture. They met while earning master’s degrees from Bainbridge Graduate Institute at Pinchot and decided to work together to launch LINC Foods. They recently won a $25,000 award through a business accelerator program at the University of Washington called the Jones Foster Business Accelerator for their great work with LINC.

Annual Meeting Agenda:

3-4 pm: Review of The Food Co-op in 2014 by Board President Janet Welch and General Manager Kenna Eaton, plus questions and member discussion.

4-5 pm: Keynote by guest speakers Beth Robinette and Joel Williamson, founders of LINC Foods, a new cooperative food hub in Spokane, WA, followed by an overview of our local food system by Food Co-op board member David Wayne Johnson, summarizing The State of Our Local Food System Report, prepared by The Food Co-op’s Food System Development Committee. (View PDFs here: Report Draft 5.31.15, Appendices 5.31.15).

5-6 pm: Mingle while snacking on bites of local foods, explore an online interactive map our local food system, and play “People Bingo” (perhaps win a prize!)

Clean Green & Save

April 21st, 2015 by Mindy

cleaning green flowersYou can save money this week on cleaning products in the store. We have several clean, green products to choose from.

To make your own and save even more, see the recipes below made with household ingredients. A nice touch is to add essential oils for fragrance.

 

All-purpose Cleaner

• 1/4 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 1/2 gallon water

Floor Cleaner

To clean linoleum or vinyl, combine:
• 1 cup vinegar
• 3 drops of baby oil
• 1 gallon of warm water

Apply using a mop or sponge.

To clean wooden floors, combine:

• 3 cups vinegar
• 3 cups vegetable oil

Natural Disinfectant

• 4 tablespoons vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap
• 3 cups hot water

Pour into a mist bottle and apply as needed.

Bathroom Cleaners

• To clean a toilet, add 10 drops tea tree oil and 3 cups white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

• To clean a shower, fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar. Add liquid detergent for extra strength. Leave the spray for 30 minutes before rinsing off. (Vinegar is an excellent ingredient for homemade cleaners used in bathtubs and showers because unlike soap, vinegar does not leave a residue.)

• A spray bottle filled with club soda makes a perfectly efficient glass cleaner.
• Remove rust stains with a paste made from water and cream of tartar.

Kitchen Cleaners

For a natural, borax-free dishwasher soap, you will need:
• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/4 c. citric acid
• 1/4 c. coarse salt
• 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (optional)

Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil. Mix again.
• To hand wash dishes, use a liquid soap and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the soapy water.

Oven Cleaner

To make a natural oven cleaner, you will need:
• 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
• 1/4 organic white vinegar
• 1.5 cups baking soda
• water, as needed to make a thick, but spreadable, paste
• 2-4 drops essential oil (optional)

Remove the racks from your oven. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Paint the paste over the entire surface of the oven (using an actual paint brush works well). Let the paste sit for 6-8 hours, or overnight. The paste should foam slightly. Fill a bowl with clean water and, using a sponge or scrubber, wipe away the paste. Repeat until there is no white residue and all the grime is wiped away.

CHEMICALS TO AVOID (from National Geographic’s Green Guide):

Ammonia: cuts grease Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum and known to cause asthma Green Alternative: vinegar

Chlorine: disinfects

Why Avoid It: lung and skin irritant, lethal if ingested, releases mercury
Green Alternative: vinegar, lemon juice, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil

Monoethanolamine: helps cleaners penetrate grime

Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum, irritates respiratory system
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

Glycol Ethers: dissolve soil

Why Avoid It: causes nerve damage and infertility, air contaminant
Green Alternative: eucalyptus oil

Alkylphenol Ethoxylates: helps cleaners penetrate grime

Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

Phthalates: synthetic fragrances

Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: essential oils, baking soda deodorizers

Triclosan: disinfectant in antibacterial cleaners

Why Avoid It: forms possible carcinogen, builds up in soil and fish
Green Alternative: hot soapy water, vinegar

 

Spring 2015 Co-op Commons

April 14th, 2015 by Kathie

COMMONS Spring 2015 coverIn this issue, we introduce one of our cashiers, Sierra; talk about the Co-op’s next direction; and tell you how the Co-op makes a difference out in our community. Also, as is usual in the spring issue, we introduce candidates for the Board of Directors.

Clean Up a Beach to Celebrate Earth Day

April 14th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

Beach CleanSaturday, April 25th, from 1-5pm

The Food Co-op invites you to celebrate Earth Day by collecting garbage from local beaches on Saturday, April 25th. You’ll receive a $5 Co-op coupon/voucher, as our way of saying ‘thank you.’

To participate, meet outside the Co-op sometime between 1 and 4 pm, where volunteers from the Marine Science Center will give you instructions and the supplies you need. Then head out to any local beach to pick up trash.

Be sure to sign in by 4:00pm at the latest, so you will have time to collect trash before the event ends at 5:00pm. After you’ve collected a nice bag of trash, return to the Co-op at 5:00pm, where volunteers will help you sort your trash for recycling and give you your voucher.

Vouchers are good toward anything at the Co-op. Get a snack at the deli after your hard work, or a refreshing beverage, or just take $5 off your purchases. (NOTE:  Vouchers are good for a one time purchase. No change will be given if you don’t use the entire amount. They expire at the end of April.)

In addition, at 5:00pm we’ll have a drawing and give away two $25 Cooper Cards, good for Co-op purchases. (Must be present to win.)

This event is sponsored by the Marine Science Center and the Food Co-op. The Food Co-op’s participation is a joint effort of S.U.R.F. (the staff Sustainability Resource Fellowship) and MEC (the board Member Engagement Committee). See you there!

News from the Board: We Finished Phase 1

April 13th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

Coop Evolutionby Janet Welch, Board President

Background: In the process we’ve laid out for the “evolution” of The Food Co-op’s facilities, Phase 1 culminates with a prioritized list of essential facilities qualities. Phase 2 will involve brainstorming as many options as we can and then whittling them down to create a short list of options that will best address our short and long-term needs while providing as many of the essential qualities as possible. This will be a very creative time, since we’ve found that no obvious option could possibly give everyone everything that we want.  Phase 3 and beyond will be the action stage of the process as we decide on our path forward and begin moving in that direction.

At a full day retreat on March 21, the Board and General Manager finished Phase 1 of the Facilities Evolution Roadmap. The retreat resulted in a list of ‘essential qualities,’ which was compiled primarily from the comments received in an on-line poll as well as member and staff meetings, letters to the Board, and the Strategic Plan.

There were no surprises, although we did wrestle with whether and how a continued emphasis on ‘local’ fit with facilities planning. That was when we realized that the Strategic Plan, which places a high emphasis on local, needed to sit as the bedrock of our facilities solutions. After all, buildings are simply a tool to accomplish what we want to do, not an end in themselves.

This is what the Board adopted at the April 7th Board meeting:

Agreed Upon List of Essential Qualities

Note that these are not ranked by priority, but rather comprise the “A List” of qualities our facilities should ideally provide.  Facilities options which provide these qualities will then be further evaluated for feasibility.

The goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan provide the overarching direction for our organization and the facilities that support it.  As an example, all facilities qualities shall adhere to the Strategic Plan, which emphasizes the goal of maximizing organic, local, and Non-GMO products.

  • More space for receiving, food storage, processing, waste management, etcMore staff bathroom facilities
  • Dedicated flex space for demos and other purposes
  • Ample space for bulk and produce
  • Solution to parking issues
  • Non-automobile access (bike, bus, walking)
  • Central location
  • Administrative and meeting support in efficient location
  • Energy efficiency
  • Reliable utilities
  • Site constraints are mitigable
  • Aesthetically pleasing, unique, providing a feeling of intimacy
  • Modest space for community activities and interactions
  • Able to serve a changing membership

We completed Phase 1…TA DAAAA! Stay tuned for more news on the start of Phase 2.

Your Co-op Needs You – Run for the Board

March 3rd, 2015 by Rachel Williams

Your Co-op Needs You!

Run For The Food Co-op Board

A healthy co-op requires dedicated people, and this spring we need cooperatively minded people who care about community and local food to run for The Food Co-op Board.

Does that sound like you? Then pick up a Candidate Packet from the Member Services Desk at the front of the store or download the packet here: Board Candidate Application Packet. The packet is chock full of information about how the board works and how to run for the board.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Board Assistant Rachel Williams at boardassistant@foodcoop.coop or 379-5798 for more information. You can also contact the board directly at coopboard@foodcoop.coop.

Join our hard-working and fun-loving crew!

BOD Tractor Photo

 

Announcing the “Centsibles” Program

February 23rd, 2015 by Kathie

Shopping at The Food Co-op now makes more sense than ever. To help you stretch your food dollars further, we have lowered our prices on 60 of our bestsellers — items that fit everyone’s pantry. Our new price program, “Centsibles,” is a sensible list of whole food and other goods at a good price:

peanut butter
milk
cheese
eggs
beans
rice
ground beef
millet
toothpaste
pasta
shampoo
bath tissue
laundry soap
flour
bread
oats
tofu
diced tomatoes
jelly
sugar
macaroni
granola
chicken
carrots
tortillas
vitamins
EmergenC
tuna
coconut milk
yogurt
almond milk
sunflower oil
dish soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

This program is an expansion of the former Co-op Staples and “Every Day Great Price” price programs, two programs which are now discontinued. Look for the Centsibles logo throughout the store because it makes “cents” to save.

IMG_5632

News from the Board: Advisory Poll Responses

February 10th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

Coop EvolutionAdvisory Poll Responses Are In!

By Janet Welch, Board President

The miracles of electronic communications allowed 622 members to weigh in, repeatedly as the rankings changed, on what qualities they valued most in a Food Coop facility.

Many members also took the opportunity to include comments, either in the comment box or by sending a letter to Coopboard@foodcoop.coop.  Those comments will provide the Board with further insight in the creative ways that members are thinking about our facility.  Keep those letters coming; we love hearing what you are thinking.   We hear that a few members believe that we’re just “going through the motions” of getting input and that our minds are made up about what we want to do.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  We love our location, but it has problems with drainage and no space to expand.  Everything is on the table as far as our evolution; we are actively looking for ways to retain what we value most, while planning for the long term as more members shop in the store.

Here are the results:

Report date: Monday 02 February 2015 10:07 PST

The Food Co-op Facility Advisory Poll

Rank Choice Votes %
1 Ample space for produce, local and bulk 519 83.44
2 Efficient workspace (backroom and receiving) 356 57.23
3 Accessible by bus, bike or walking 335 53.86
4 Energy efficient 309 49.68
5 Modest scale with country store feel (not “trendy”) 279 44.86
6 Adequate parking for a growing membership 246 39.55
7 Visible location, central to community 223 35.85
8 More storage to keep backstock of product( for food security, etc.) on site or off 159 25.56
9 Sized for growing membership (larger, more spacious facility) 133 21.38
10 Adaptable, expandable facility (possibly through modular design) 124 19.94
11 Sized for full service (one stop shopping) 96 15.43
12 Some functions or departments off site 54 8.68
13 Space for recycling, including #5 plastics write-in 44 7.07
14 Delivery service (bike or otherwise) to offset need for additional parking 38 6.11
15 Engaging transitional entryways with room for produce, starts, etc. 31 4.98
16 Space for seated dining write-in 30 4.82
17 Site on higher ground, to avoid water damage write-in 16 2.57
18 Off site warehouse write-in 12 1.93

 

One advantage to inviting the entire membership to participate in the poll was to test for similarities and the differences between the responses gathered at the member meeting and through the poll.  The similarities were notable.  So were the differences.

One of the striking similarities was the importance that both groups placed on three qualities: an efficient workspace; ample space for produce, local, and bulk; and a capacity for food storage.  “Energy efficiency” and “accessibility by bus, bike, or walking” both rose decisively in the poll as members continued to rank their preferences.  I thought it was interesting that, among meeting participants, one of the most important qualities was “retain central location” while on the poll this dropped to #7.  Perhaps the importance of location was heightened at the meeting because of the discussion we had about the implications of moving.

What is next?

In the process we’ve laid out for the “evolution” of our facilities, Phase 1 culminates with a prioritized list of essential facilities qualities. We are hoping to sift through the poll results and the comments to create that list by late March.  Phase 2 will involve brainstorming as many options as we can and then whittling them down to create a short list of options that will best address our short and long-term needs while providing as many of the essential qualities as possible.  Then we’ll bring those options back to the membership for more input.  This will be a very creative time, since we’ve found that no obvious option could possibly give everyone everything that they want.  Stay tuned!

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