Category Archives: Blog

win $75 of free groceries and have $75 donated in your name to the food bank!!

To participate, ask a cashier or customer service to sign up – all we need is the best way to contact you if your name is drawn.

On December 13th, staff at each store will draw the winner!

Here’s more info on the giveaway…

Did you know the Olympia Food Co-op is part of a larger cooperative of other food co-ops? This group is called the National Co+op Grocers who, “helps to unify natural food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere.” It is with this group that we are able to offer such great sales deals, free fruit for kids, and fun activities such as … this December’s Goodness Giveaway – a chance to receive $75 worth of groceries and a matching $75 donation to the local food bank in your name!

The items in the giveaway are all part of the Co+op Basics program. Have you seen the purple sales signs around the store? Been wondering why they don’t go off of sale in the usual bi-weekly period? These purple signs indicate products that are in the Co+op Basics program, that is supported through our partnership the National Co+op Grocers. This program helps to further support our mission statement to “make good food accessible to more people”, as it specifically aims to bring pricing down for products that are used daily – such as milk and coffee and beans and pasta. The items are selected from regular high sales (thus indicating basic needs) and marked down for a longer period of time – some lasting several months. We do not have a sales flyer for these, as they appear randomly for an undetermined amount of time.


a short film on the history of Thanksgiving

Our Anti Oppression Coordinators have recommended the book, 500 Nations: An Illustrated History of North American Indians, by Alvin M. Josephy Jr., for staff to learn more about the history of Thanksgiving.

Starting on page 206, a beautiful story is woven of native homes, abundant food resources, spirituality, and a brief overview of the political structure of the many villages in the New England area. As the story continues, we learn the history of the beginnings of our Thanksgiving holiday.

Here is a short film including excerpts from this portion of the book (8:20 minutes)

election results for your board of directors! 2017

Thank you for voting for your Board of Directors!

In order of most votes, here are the selections for the three year term of
January 2018 – December 2020

Joanne McCaughan

Peter Brown

Benjamin (Ben) Witten

To read their original statements, scroll below

Thank you for your participation!



election held October 15 – November 15, 2017

candidates PDF … or scroll below for the info

ballot boxes are set up at both stores!
westside’s box is at the front door
eastside’s box is next to the customer service desk

Board of Director Elections 2017

Your vote is your voice: use it to help shape the future of the Co-op. These elections have been decided by 1–30 votes in the recent past. One vote — YOUR vote — can make a difference! Voting changes the future, from budgets to boycotts to the overall trajectory of the organization. Who you choose influences your Co-op! By casting a vote, you participate in 40 years of tradition, and help us to continue to drive our mission and values by selecting members of our community to serve the Co-op on your behalf.

The Board of Directors is the elected body that represents the membership by establishing policies, overseeing the operating and capital budgets, approving plans and recommendations, and setting general guidelines for the staff collective and working members. The Board holds ultimate legal responsibility for the operations and actions of the Co-op.

Use your vote to make sure our Directors represent your vision for the future of our cooperative! Every year we have three positions open for a 3-year term.

Vote for 3 candidates

Candidates were asked the following questions:

  • Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
  • What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
  • What vision do you have for the Co-op?
  • What else would you like to share?

Joanne McCaughan

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
My offer/desire to serve on the Co-op Board is based on my prior experience as a Board member; I believe the Co-op is an important asset to our community, and appreciate the critical con­tributions made by staff and members every day. I was honored to serve on the Board from 2003 to 2006 and worked on several committees, including the hiring committee and the newsletter committee, while also working full-time in other employment. Over the last ten years I continued working and found some time for volunteer work, including serving as a community representative to the Lincoln Options Board, and as a mediator at the Dispute Resolution Center. I was an active union member with WFSE Local 443 throughout my state career, and recently retired from state employment. I now have the time and energy to offer to serve on the Co-op Board once again. I am currently a volunteer cashier at the Eastside store/loca­tion.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I would bring to the Board: a sense of workplace justice; an understanding of volunteer needs and commitments; prior Board and Committee experience; clear communication and media­tion skills; a sense of irony and humor, along with a strong desire to work with other members to create and maintain the best Olympia Food Co-op yet. I am very interested in continuing the discussions around expansion and envision new opportunities for our communi­ty in this regard.

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
My basic vision for the Co-op is to continue follow the mission statement, which provides the core values we maintain as an organization and a community. I am happy to note that the Co-op has continued to evolve into a more inclusive and diverse community, reflective of the membership we welcome and support, and I believe we will continue to grow and create an inviting space for amazing food and community resources. In my expanded vision, I imagine a future Olympia Food Co-op store with more space for food preparation and service (in addition to the eastside deli bar/sandwiches/soup, etc), where community members can gather to eat, drink and be merry (or not), to hold gatherings, committee meetings, and/or small events/classes. I envision this in collaboration with other community partners, especially those working for food justice issues, and truly believe that it can be achieved.

What else would you like to share?
I believe it is in our power to work together as a community partner to ensure that future generations benefit from the work of our Co-op, i.e., to support healthy choices for ourselves, our community, and our planet, and to follow our mission statement for another 40 years and beyond.

Casey Hook

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I basically grew up in the Co-op and value its impact on the community a great deal. Having already served one year on the Board, I want to use my experience to help the Co-op continue to grow and flourish.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I have strong communication skills and am good at collaborating. I am good with and enjoy math. I have a lot of energy and passion for the Co-op. After serving a year on the Board already I have a good understanding of the work environment.

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I would like to see the Co-op someday grow to compete meaningfully with the big box grocery stores in Olympia. Realizing our goal of providing good food to more people is going to require us to expand. I intend to continue my work with the expansion committee to help realized this goal.

Peter Brown

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I have been a member of the Co-op, since I moved to Olympia. Remembering the days as a co-op member in Vermont when we would all gather once a month in a local grange hall and divide up the 50 and 100 pound bags of grains and various fruits and vegetables was a simple means of gaining access to healthy food inexpensively and communally. Fast forwarding to the present and entering a store that offers a diverse selection of foods, goods and services with the same philosophy of the members arriving and helping to make the food available in an affordable manner is still important as ever. The Olympia Food Co-op has grown into a community of workers, members and suppliers. The possibilities to expand and deepen these relationships while reflecting a model for being engaging, encom­passing and compassionate is exciting.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I have worked in the not for profit world for many years as a staff person, fund-raiser, executive director and board member. I am familiar with the legal and financial aspects of running a co-op, having been a founding member of a co-op, and the dynamics of supporting a service business where the bottom line is not the dollar, but the people serving and being served. My most recent involvement locally was as a Board Member of TULIP Community Credit Union which arose and lived in the eastside store from its beginning more than 10 years ago until it grew to a point of needing a larger office to combine its two locations in downtown Olympia to better serve TULIP’s low-income members.

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
The Food Co-op has become an integral part of the greater Olym­pia community through providing accessible healthy food, support of local growers, artisans and business people and as a model for business and personal interaction. My vision is to continue these goals and objectives and insuring the financial viability of the east and westside stores. Part of this goal is to help with an understanding of how well we are reaching and making ourselves accessible to not only the low-income population through awareness and accessibility but other segments of our community who have never walked through our door.

What else would you like to share?
I have been a volunteer for many years at the eastside store through offering classes and other projects. I have an active sense of the feeling and support coming forth from the volunteer members and shoppers. This combined with the dynamic going on in our world and our local community that is different than most of us have ever seen before. We are being presented with an us and them perspective. This way of looking and being in the world is hurting everyone. The model and relationship that the Co-op has are important living examples. I am very interested in deepening this along with propagating the co-op way in our region.

Benjamin (Ben) Witten

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
The Olympia Food Co-op has offered me a welcoming resource to acquire healthy, deli­cious, and responsible food for my family. There are many people who help make this happen, and I would like to contribute to the organization by rep­resenting the members and mission of the Co-op by serving on the board of directors.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
For 19 years, I have worked collaboratively with nonprofit and professional organizations to help achieve their goals while embracing the principles of responsibility and democracy. I previously served as a trustee at the Olympia Masonic Building Associa­tion for five years, and I served for four years on the board of directors for a cemetery. In 2016, I facilitat­ed equitable meetings supporting the principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth as Worshipful (meaning respectful) Master of Olympia Lodge #1 Free and Accepted Masons, and I remain the co-chairman of the Lodge’s scholarship program. I have attended several Olympia Food Co-op board meetings over the last year, and I agree with the values of the mission statement and admire the board’s decision-making processes. Professionally, I am a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in downtown Olympia.

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I would like to see the Co-op continue achieving the goals outlined in the mission statement and to expand or relocate the eastside location if and when it is financially responsible to do so.

What else would you like to share?
The Olympia Food Co-op is a treasure to its members and helps define our city. If elected, I would act in good faith to assist the organization fulfill its goals. Having attended some of the Co-op board meetings over the last year and relating to its culture, I feel I would be a good addition to the board. I usually shop at the eastside store and enjoy the salad bar and trying out staff picks. Thank you for your consideration.

40 year annual meeting & celebration… save the date!

Come celebrate with us! Save the Date!

Saturday, October 28, 2017
3pm – 8pm
Olympia Community Center
222 Columbia Street NW

The party will include lots of food, music, and helpful information (of course!), and we are also preparing a visual celebration!

40 Years of Co-op Local! It’s more than a grocery store. It’s community! Who do you recognize? Who do you remember? What are your favorite Co-op memories? We are still gathering your stories!

Annual Meeting & Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, October 28, 2017
3pm – 8pm
Olympia Community Center
222 Columbia Street NW

round up at the register! three to choose from… pocket change makes real change!

Rounding up at the register has been an tradition here at the Olympia Food Co-op for a long time. It can be an incredible way for our community to come together to help organizations, small business, and individuals in time of need.

We currently have three round-ups:

CECOSESOLA is a huge cooperative network in Venezuela. They operate three food markets, serving thousands of people every weekend, as well as a large health center, funeral home service, health clinics, small farms, and food production co-ops across the country. Increasing political and economic instability in Venezuela presents challenges to our friends to continue the life-changing work they do in the community. Your donation today goes directly to CECOSESOLA to offer emergency support to their workers and cooperatives. Here is a film that the Olympia Food Co-op staff produced after our first exchange with CECOSESOLA in 2012.


Community Sustaining Fund is an Olympia non-profit organization offering seed and sustaining funds for various local organizations. The grant cycle is open twice a year. Here is an article in the Table, Spring 2016 issue, written by an Olympia Food Co-op Board Member.


Thompson/Chaplin Family – in response to an incident on May 21, 2015 when Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin were shot by an Olympia Police Officer. Here is an article from our staff in the Table magazine (pdf) page 12. Here are a few more links related to this round up… Black Lives MatterShowing Up for Racial JusticeProject Implicit (an online test to examine your own biases).


we are celebrating! do you have materials for our documentary?


This year, in celebration of our 40 years, we are combining our Annual Membership Meeting with a party*!

This means lots of delicious food, fun music, helpful information, and we are preparing a visual celebration! We would love to document the wild, beautiful world of all the years we have been a part of this community, from 1977 through 2017! We are seeking material from all of these years…

do you happen to have any pictures?

maybe a short video from an event you attended?

perhaps a story you want to share?

Anything may be useful to add some spice to our document… we would love to hear from you! Contact us at this email:

here is a start from us – our newsletter from 1978 –
fourteen ounce Okie doke

*party details

Annual Membership Meeting & Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, October 28th, 2017
3pm – 8pm
Olympia Community Center
222 Columbia Street

working member appreciation party

Barbecue at the Park

Sunday, July 23rd

noon – 4pm

Priest Point Park, Shelter #3

Join us for food & fun times…
it’s a summer shindig to celebrate YOU!

For more information,
or to make sure there will be food you can eat
(for food requests, email by July 15)

To our wonderful working members!

Thank you for all your hard work, day after day, keeping the stores running with ringing up groceries, stocking shelves, making produce fresh and available, creating and maintaining the Eastside butterfly garden, serving as Board Members, packaging cheese, opening and closing the stores, and all the various administrative jobs with policy development, filing, member relations! The list goes on and on… and…

We are very grateful!

Without you, the Co-op would not be what it is!!!

Become a Working Member! here’s more info…

do you have a senior or disability membership? changes are coming july 3rd


Beginning July 3, the Senior and Disability Memberships will no longer include an additional 10% discount off of membership prices.

If you are finding the additional discount is needed, we encourage you to consider changing your membership to the Cooperative Access Program where this additional discount will remain.

When determining if your income is below self-sufficiency for Washington State, a qualifier for the Cooperative Access Program, here is an excellent tool

To change your membership, here is the form to give to a cashier or the Customer Service desk. Let us know if you need assistance  Membership Form PDF

For information about the process of arriving at this decision and how we implemented it in stages, here is an article in our Table magazine

We welcome you to contact us by phone, or email

Here are some charts with interesting data

westside garden center sale and clearance event! this weekend june 23 & 24

The Westside Garden Center
will be hosting a big
Summer Sale and Clearance Event!

This weekend!
Saturday and Sunday
June 23rd and 24th

10am – 7pm

Spend $20 and receive a
free 4″ herb start from
Rising River Farm!*

*Westside Garden Center only

Check out our wide selection of specially priced garden supplies!

Here is our latest Thurston Talks article,
Garden Goodies at the Olympia Food Co-op!

If there is something you are looking for, and it’s not here, let us know, maybe we can get it for you!

Looking forward to seeing you!

Saturday June 23
Sunday June 24

10am – 7pm