PT Food Co-op

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

Meet Board Candidate Julie Brown

April 27th, 2017 by Rachel Williams

We asked board candidates to respond to the following questions in their candidate statements: 1) Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors? 2) What experiences have you had contributing to other successful group efforts? 3) Of the current standing committees, which are Governance, Board Cultivation, Cooperative Connections, and Elections, which are you most interested in serving on, and what skills and experience do you bring to that work? 

Julie B 1

I would like to serve on the Board of Directors because I very much enjoy shopping at the Co-op and being in the homey atmosphere that it provides. I’m passionate about the strong mission to uphold the health of our community and our greater world. Being an important gathering place with loads of good food and vibrant energy from the local farms and artisans, the Co-op helps foster ties that strengthen the community and sustainable land practices. And I believe this can do wonders in the way of fighting climate change and creating ripples that will influence the way people think about our socio-economic system. Therefore, I would like to play a part in finding creative ways to further strengthen these community bonds, and nourishing our future generation with good quality, accessible food.

My main interest lies in collaborating with local community members to bring more informative and fun activities to the Co-op in order to expand our impact. I also am very passionate about children and education, and would love to bring in more events/ programs that are geared toward youth and their parents, whom are the most influential teachers of our next generation. I currently work at Fort Worden as a Wedding Coordinator and also part-time at Better Living Through Coffee as a manager/barista. Previously, I have worked as an office director in Japan for an English school and have taught classes with mothers and children from the age of 1.5 years old. Through these experiences, I have come to develop teamwork, event planning skills, unique perspectives, and organizational skills. For example, I could picture coordinating something like a small, informal class that is offered for children during a time of the day when it is most convenient for parents to shop. We would base our classes and times off of a survey conducted with our members. And through a program like this, kids could learn about pertinent Co-op topics and parents could shop in peace.

In this way, I am most attracted to the Cooperative Connections committee, and finding new ways to tell the Food Co-op’s story. I am most familiar with Japanese style cuisines, being primarily raised in Japan, and I am intrigued by the ancient ways that pertain to each culture’s cuisine. I would love to organize more events that celebrate food and wisdom of different cultures. My favorite saying in Japanese is “Onko chi shin” which means something like, “keep the traditions simmering in the pan, but also start slicing up some new traditions with your own knowledge.” I try to abide by this rule, and I am excited to learn about new philosophies surrounding food, its power to gather a crowd around the table!

Voting in The Food Co-op’s 2017 Board Election will be open from 12:00 noon on Monday May 1st through 9:00pm on Sunday May 14th. For complete election information, including all of the candidate profiles, visit

Meet Board Candidate Lia Karoura

April 27th, 2017 by Rachel Williams

We asked board candidates to respond to the following questions in their candidate statements: 1) Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors? 2) What experiences have you had contributing to other successful group efforts? 3) Of the current standing committees, which are Governance, Board Cultivation, Cooperative Connections, and Elections, which are you most interested in serving on, and what skills and experience do you bring to that work? 

Luisa 12_2016I was appointed as an interim Board Member in October. I have enjoyed serving on The Food Co-op Board and working with the Governance Committee and would like to continue on in this capacity. I would also be interested in working with the Cooperative Connections Committee to further member engagement. I believe that the cooperative business structure is a vital social safety net, a great way to practice democratic decision-making, and a necessary bridge between capitalism and equitable socioeconomic systems. As a cooperative, we have the opportunity to redefine the concept of ownership to include shared accountability for a common resource, instead of continuing to shape our lives around acquiring private goods only attainable through personal wealth. Since I am part of a generation in which many of us will likely never be able to purchase a home, I am very excited about the co-op movement. As an elected Board Member, I would work to expand the influence of co-ops in our community, advocating for cooperative housing and more worker co-ops.

Most of my day-to-day life involves some group effort. I share a house, a car, an office space, a fitness center, and most of my meals with other people who are not directly related to me. This has allowed me access to a much higher quality of life than I would have had otherwise. In order to manage these relationships, I’ve worked hard to build my communication skills and learn to listen with empathy. As a part of The Port Townsend CoLab catalyst team I have experience with collaboratively managing and operating a co-working office space as a shared resource. I understand the necessity of building an inclusive culture, developing community norms, and balancing equality with expediency. I first became interested in governance as an elections monitor in Afghanistan, where I had to enforce and evaluate certain aspects of elections law. This experience has proven very beneficial during my interim appointment to The Food Co-op Board.

My primary career is in business development, sales and marketing and I have worked closely with several farms in Jefferson and Kitsap Counties, including Red Dog Farm, Finnriver Farm and Cidery, and Bainbridge Vineyards. I am also interested in the social justice issues surrounding food. I have lived in many places with limited food access; I have been homeless; I have been unable to purchase food, and I have been on food stamps. These experiences have made me very aware of the importance of food access. In Port Townsend we have access to healthy food through many channels, one of them our small farmers. I am very proud to be part of a cooperative that considers food access an important issue and that supports small farms and other organizations working to expand access to healthy food. I am interested in continuing to learn and participate in cooperative governance while working to improve accessibility at our co-op.

Voting in The Food Co-op’s 2017 Board Election will be open from 12:00 noon on Monday May 1st through 9:00pm on Sunday May 14th. For complete election information, including all of the candidate profiles, visit

General Manager’s Blog

April 19th, 2017 by

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 and what we want to accomplish. They are one way in which we are different from a regular grocery store. We thought we would start publishing 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.
  • We will create a vibrant local and regional food system by providing 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 2017 GM Report

Market of Choice

MADay—This year, staff decided to expand our spring Member Appreciation Day to two weeks in order to alleviate overcrowding in the store and parking lot, and the response from members was overwhelmingly positive. Many members appreciated the extra time to plan how to use their 10% discount.

Sales were strong for the entire two weeks, exceeding projections, as were the discount totals. At this time, we do not expect to run another two-week MAD this fall; instead, we plan to try different types of “one day only” deals to help strengthen sales and/or reduce inventory during construction.

Nonmember Surcharge—As of January 1, shoppers are no longer required to be a member to avoid a 10% surcharge when they shop at The Co-op. Interestingly, both new memberships and payments of Capital Investments by existing members have not changed much compared to last year. We appreciate that our community really does understand the value of investing in their locally-owned grocery store to foster wider economic change.

Local Food System

Six years ago, one of my first tasks as a new GM was to work with the board, staff, and members to craft our strategic plan. One item we all easily agreed upon was the need to strengthen the local food system. In fact, it was so important to us we even titled one of our Ends after it, and today it remains key—because we believe that by strengthening the local food shed, we are in turn strengthening the local economy.

To help make progress in that direction, we created a new position—“local cultivator”—responsible for sourcing new products with an emphasis on local and regional products. Brendon O’Shea filled that role for years, and we couldn’t have come as far as we have in growing our local product selection without his invaluable help.

Brendon left his position at the Co-op in mid-March, and he will be missed. However, we’ve decided to leave the position vacant for now in order to try something different. Store managers, buyers, and I are deeply committed to sourcing and selling locally-produced product, so instead of relying on just one person to increase the amount of local and regional products, each department will be involved. To support this work, staff who work directly with local vendors will be meeting with me in the next few weeks to discuss the opportunities and challenges that lay before us as we all work towards being better local cultivators—each sharing in that responsibility to strengthen the local food system and the local economy can prosper. As just one step in this new direction, the entire produce department recently went to tour Midori Farm.

Outreach & Education

This spring we are once again sponsoring the culinary program at Dove House Advocacy Services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and general crime. The classes focus on growing skills in cooking with whole foods, such as The Co-op sells.

We are also again sponsoring the “Fresh Bucks” and “Gimme 5” programs at the Jefferson County Farmers Markets, where qualifying customers can increase their buying power for certain food items purchased at the weekly markets.

In March, we hosted a Girl Scout troop for a “Cooking with Sidonie” class. The scouts learned to make KuKu, a dish for the Persian New Year. Recipe and instructions for preparing KuKu are included in the spring issue of The Commons.

The Food Co-op will be, for the third year, sponsoring the spring Washington Coast Cleanup Day—scheduled this year for Saturday April 29, from noon to 4 pm. Community members who volunteer to clean up a section of our local beaches may come to The Co-op on that day to sign in and pick up trash bags and gloves. After cleaning, they return to the Coop to have their trash and treasure weighed and measured. These volunteers will receive a $5 coupon good for a treat at The Co-op. Happy Earth day and month to all of us!

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 govern 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.


  • 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.


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. Here is what this section currently says:

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.


  • Increase diversity and quality of local and regionally produced food available through the Co-op.
  • Support local farmers and producers with information and assistance to meet the growing demand for local products.
  • Collaborate with local partners to:
    • Strategically address gaps in food production, storage, and distribution.
    • Contribute to the development of local and regional food security plans.
    • Raise community awareness and support for local food production.
    • Explore ways to support local wholesale buyers to more easily purchase regional and local products.
  • Expand and strengthen relationships with independent and/or cooperatively owned producers and distributors.

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 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 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 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

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 Email the completed form, along with a current photo of yourself, to 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 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.


  • 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  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.


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


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.

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 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 or Lisa Barclay at