Category Archives: Blog

equal exchange bananas!!

We now have bananas through Equal Exchange, and will carry them as long as they are available!

With some great pictures, lots of info, and personal experience blogs, we will point you to Equal Exchange’s website for more info about this great thing that is happening at our Co-op!

Equal Exchange bananas and the farmers

Blog post from March 2018…”The Equal Exchange delegation watches their bananas being​ packed into a container at AsoGuabo cooperative’s centro de acopio (warehouse) at ​El Guabo, Ecuador last June. The cooperative’s farmer members collectively made the decision to invest their Fairtrade premium dollars to build the warehouse, which means 125 small scale farmers co-own the warehouse.”


NFC reader now at Eastside

We have recently installed the NFC reader at the Eastside on Lane #2 for folks who would like to pay with their phone. This unit will read Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and others.

This payment option is an experiment to see if customers use it, and if so, how well it works. If there is excitement and good function, likely we will purchase more. For feedback, we encourage you to connect with us

Here are some basic questions and answers…

What is a NFC reader?
They work in conjunction with NFC phone apps, which replaces using a credit card by holding your phone to the reader for processing payment.

What is NFC?
It stands for “near field communication”, and basically is technology that allows two devices to talk with each other when close.

Is NFC secure?
They are dynamically encrypted, making them one of the most secure ways to pay.

So, how does it work?
Here is an excerpt from Square, a payment services company…

“As an example, let’s take Apple Pay, which uses a technology called tokenization to safeguard bank details. Here’s how it works: After you take a picture of your credit card and load it into your iPhone (you can read our detailed guide about how to set up Apple Pay here), Apple sends the details to your card’s issuing bank or network. The banks and networks then replace your bank details with a series of randomly generated numbers (the token). That random number is sent back to Apple, which then programs it into your phone. This means that the account details on your phone can’t be cloned into anything valuable to fraudsters.”

garden starts are here!

The first vegetable starts of the year are now in!

Peas, lettuces, kales, so many to choose from waiting for you …

and more lovely culinary and medicinal herbs, of course!

There are also blueberries, strawberries, plenty of seed potatoes, some onion sets, and spring/summer cover crops.

Westside Garden Center
open daily 10am – 6pm,
located across the Westside parking lot to the south.

Here you will find tools, soils, starts, seeds, books, and so much more!

Eastside Garden Center
open during store hours, daily 8am – 9pm,
located at the entrance of the Eastside store.

A new seed display has been built inside the store, next to produce,
with vegetable and culinary herbs!

buy backs for bottle deposits ending soon! Rawkstar Creations and Rainbow Cloud

Rawkstar Creations no longer has an additional $1.50 bottle deposit for their products. If you have any of those old style deposit bottles, bring them back before February 28, 2018 for a refund. They looked like this….


Also, of note, the Rainbow Cloud growlers will no longer carry the $3.00 bottle deposit. This buy back window will end after March 15th, 2018.

Thank you all for participating in these programs!

Cascadian Farms donating 3% of sales for a good cause!!

In partnership with the National Co-op Grocers,
the Olympia Food Co-op will be participating in a fundraising effort
by Cascadian Farms to donate funds to the Land Institute.

For two weeks, starting February 14th, Cascadian Farms will give a percentage of their sales, and the National Co-op Grocers will match the total, up to $25,000!


Here are some words from Cascadian Farms:

We believe in organic farming to build healthy soils and in supporting healthy soil research that can positively impact our plant’s climate.

Due to agricultural processes including higher volume tillage and the use of pesticides and fertilizers—the health of our soil is decreasing at an alarming rate, and without healthy soil, we face more pollution and less cultivation.

The Land Institute is focused on introducing perennial grains to ecological communities, transforming agriculture globally with a regenerative, more sustainable agricultural production. Through perennial grains and intercropping systems including Kernza, Sorghum, Silphium, Perennial Wheat, Legumes, the Global Inventory Project, and ecological succession—The Land Institute is providing ecosystem services to food production systems similar to those of native landscapes.

At Cascadian Farm, we’re all in too. From 2/14 to 2/27 of 2018, we’ll be donating 3% of all Cascadian Farm sales at participating co-op retailers located in the United States to The Land Institute. Together, we can make an impact on healthy soil, and a healthier planet.

garden news! westside open every day! new eastside seed display!

Westside Garden Center
open daily 10am – 6pm,
located across the Westside parking lot to the south.

Here you will find tools, soils, starts, seeds, books, and so much more!

Eastside Garden Center
open during store hours, daily 8am – 9pm,
located at the entrance of the Eastside store.

A new seed display has been built inside the store, next to produce,
with vegetable and culinary herbs!

2 vacancies on the Board of Directors! here’s how to apply

Join the Board of Directors! Take this opportunity to be an active participant in your Co-op’s future and the future of our community!

There are two seats to fill in the Board of Directors, due to vacancies. One position is through December 2018, and the other, through December 2019.


Applications Due
March 12th, 2018, by 9pm

Board of Directors Meeting
March 15th, 2018, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Applicants are invited, and will have opportunity to speak to their interest and qualifications

After the meeting, applicants will be selected by consensus of the Board. The newly appointed Board members will receive an in-depth training on consensus decision making, finance, and an organizational overview.

For more information contact Laura and Fern at

The selection process is a bit different from the usual votes, as these are vacancies. Here is the section of our Bylaws that addresses our process:

From our Bylaws
III. 5. VACANCIES In the event of a vacancy on the Board of Directors, the remaining Board members may appoint a new Director. The appointed Director shall serve for the remainder of the term that was vacated. Any Board appointed Director is eligible to run for an elected term at the next election.

The Olympia Food Co-op 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 staff and working members. The Board holds ultimate legal responsibility for the operations and actions of the Co-op.

The Board meets once a month on the third Thursday of the month from 6:30-9:30p.m.

Each Board member is required to join 2-3 committees which also meet 1-2 times per month (though this will vary from committee to committee.)  Board committees establish plans and policies that are then passed on to the Board or membership for approval. The standing committees include Finance, Expansion, Co-Sound, Ecological Planning, Standing Hiring, Local Products, and Member Relations. Board members volunteer 10+ hours each month.

Board of Directors Application*

Please answer the following questions and email them, along with a current digital photograph of yourself, to


There is a strict, combined 500-word limit to your responses below:

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

*Applications will only be accepted by email unless a reasonable accommodation is needed and requested.Board of Directors Application

win tickets to pizza klatch’s gayla feature performer!!

Pizza Klatch, a local organization who provide support for our LGBTQ+Youth, is getting ready for their annual fundraiser, the Slice of the Good Life Gayla, on February 3rd. This year, Grammy nominee Mary Lambert, will be the featured performer and we want to give away two tickets!

The reception begins at 5:30 pm in the Black Box at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, including fabulous appetizers, wine, beer, and a Pizza Klatch Signature Cocktail. Mary Lambert will share a few words before the charity auction, and then you’ll enjoy the main show from the best seats in the house.

For your chance to win, simply leave a comment on our pinned Facebook post showing support for our local LGBTQ+ Youth.  Winner will be notified January 20th.Pizza Klatch

Slice of the Good Life Gayla

win two tickets

community sustaining fund’s fall 2017 grant awards go to…

Congratulations to these groups (scroll for more about their grant awards)

The Bridge Music Project
Edible Forest Gardens
Strengthening Sanctuary
Common Cause Property Alliance
Women of Color Leadership Movement

The Community Sustaining Fund has been a Co-op Round Up for many years, providing opportunity for shoppers to directly participate in funding progressive and community groups. The award selections are based on a bi-annual granting process, and awards are given to support a variety of needs, some for specific projects, basic start-up funds, or to stock a group’s office to further their outreach efforts. Some the groups have grown from volunteer organizations to providing employment, and many have provided social justice influence in our town and beyond.

Often recipients are in need for more than is available, and the funds available are heavily dependent upon our Co-op shoppers. One of their Leadership Group members, Desdra Dawning, writes, “As you can see, very community, heart and environmentally-oriented groups come to the Community Sustaining Fund for help with their projects. And every time, as you stand at the Co-op register ready to pay for your purchases, you say “Round Up for the Community Sustaining Fund,” you are adding to the possibility of their requests being met in full. Thank you for your help in bringing their dreams to reality!”

Below are the Fall 2017 awards and where the funds will allocated

The Bridge Music Project Granted $600
Beginning with an idea to help adolescents in foster care learn how to communicate through music, the Bridge Music Project started working with Community Youth Services. Soon they expanded, became a nonprofit, and are now involving at-risk professionals, homeless case monitors, juvenile court, and other youth supporting organizations. Their workshops begin with creating a community contract of behavior expectations for safety and security, then move into team building, accountability activities, and music education. As they develop these concepts, they work in collaboration to write music together. Next is a recording at a professional studio and then a concert, free for the community. The grant of $600 will pay for their performances in their final concert.

Edible Forest Gardens Granted $500
Working in accordance with the concepts of regenerative organic agriculture, Edible Forest Gardens aims to restore soil and help reduce carbon in the atmosphere through climate smart farming techniques, such as perennial permaculture gardening, or terracing to make the most of rainfall. Working with neighborhood gardens, GRuB, The Evergreen State College interns, and other community groups, Edible Forest Gardens hopes to bring more of this kind of agriculture to our area. To provide opportunity to expand services to more local community gardens, they are in need of a laser level, a tool for laying out swales for contouring gardens using water conservation techniques. The grant of $500 will go toward purchase of a laser level.

Strengthening Sanctuary. Granted $500
Following the December 2016 Olympia City Council’s resolution to declare Olympia a sanctuary city (here is an article by a local newsletter Works In Progress, September 2017) Strengthening Sanctuary, was formed. Funded by local faith groups to “…come together to advocate for and support the need of the vibrant immigrant communities of Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties.” To support immigrants with information of how to navigate difficult situations, Know Your Rights seminars were created, and printouts were designed, including cards to be used as a legal document. The grant of $500 will go toward office supplies and printing of materials.

Common Cause Property Alliance Granted $450
Downtown Olympia has many buildings that are empty. Are global investors watching, considering to bring corporate development to our town? A new organization of local businesses has formed to create a crowd sourced equity platform, where community members and residents of Washington state can collectively invest in the purchase of buildings to be rented, or sold, at reasonable prices to local businesses. This will promote sustainability by keeping downtown locally owned. To obtain funds in this way, a request for a crowd sourcing exemption must be filed. The grant of $450 will go toward their filing fees.

Women of Color in Leadership Movement Granted $200
Recently receiving their 501c3 nonprofit status, the Women of Color in Leadership Movement creates a safe space and support for women of color with groups, workshops, training sessions, festivals, and guest speaker engagements. A few years ago, they were part of a student group at The Evergreen State College, where they brought in Joy De Gruy, a dynamic speaker on the subject of historical trauma. She also authored Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Wanting to bring Joy back for a speaking event in Olympia (including workshops, panel discussions, surveys, and other outreach), they have requested funds to support the event, and will also be partnering with GRuB, Power, and the LGBTQ community.  The Community Sustaining Fund grant of $200 will go toward the event.

Thank you to our Co-op shoppers who have participated in keeping the Community Sustaining Fund alive in Olympia!

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

and the winners are…

… Thurston County Food Bank received $150 worth of produce (wholesale!)

… eastside winner – Juaquin

… westside winner – Maya

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, 2016, 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

win a woodstock wagon! one more week to join the raffle!

want this wagon?

hurry in to enter your name!! There is only one week left!
raffles are held at both stores
– and, yes –
there is a wagon for each store!!
no purchase necessary!!

one more week left to enter your name for the drawing!
open until 9pm Tuesday, May 30th

Here is a word from the sponsor – National Co+op Grocers – of this great give-a-way….

This May, WOODSTOCK wants you to get Hooked on Organic. This month there are sales, coupons, and a chance to enter to win a coveted WOODSTOCK wagon!

WOODSTOCK celebrates foods that make you feel great about what you buy, eat, and serve your family. They believe in options that are simple, pure, and good for our world. Give your barbeque the perfect finish with WOODSTOCK’s organic condiments and pickles. Because Organic is always Non-GMO and so much more, WOODSTOCK invites you to get Hooked on Organic this summer!

join us for a co-op conversation on the changes to the senior and disability memberships

We welcome you to Join us for a mini
Co-op Conversation on the implementation of our
new Cooperative Access Program!

Wednesday, June 7
6pm – 8pm
Olympia Community Center, Room 100
222 Columbia St NW (click for Google map)

There will be a brief presentation outlining the history of our discount program, from the fruition of the Discount Task Force to the approved implementation plan for our new discount program by our Board of Directors. Light snacks, treats and beverages will be provided. This event will by hosted by the Member Relations Committee, comprised of staff members, board members, and members-at-large.

Here is an article from the spring Table magazine…

Membership Form PDF

westside garden center fun! open 10am – 7pm daily!

Today – our first taste of summer with sunny skies and 75 degrees – we got a chance to peek into the Garden Center at the Westside Co-op to see what was up … and … wow!

Folks finding the perfect starts to their gardens

Danielle and Sylvan, Staff Collective Members, are often here at the Garden Center, ready to help you with your gardening ideas

And, what is in the big package? Today Sylvan will be unpacking it – getting ready for the big two week sale of clay pots that starts tomorrow, May 4th!

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

closed for international workers’ day on may 1st

The Olympia Food Co-op will be closed on
Monday May 1st
in solidarity with workers everywhere
honoring International Workers’ Day

In the past, for a very long time, both stores were closed seven days of the year, including May 1st.  Over the years, in consideration to better serve the membership and staff, and in acknowledgment that it is unrealistic to close for all holidays celebrated by everyone, we settled on being closed one day a year, January 1st, for inventory.  Now that our inventory procedures have changed, we have decided to return to closing on May 1st, and to be open on January 1st.

Why May 1st? International Workers’ Day has a long history in this country and others, originating with the United States labor movement in the late 19th Century. On May 1, 1886, unions across the United States went on strike, demanding that the standard workday be shortened to eight hours. This was an important step in workers right to organize and to seek fair treatment from employers. While that particular day had a bloody ending and successes were slow, we look back on May 1st as a day that changed things for workers here and around the world.

Our mission, which includes to “support efforts to increase democratic process” and to “support efforts to foster a socially and economically egalitarian society”, drives our decisions in how to be a cooperative progressive business every day. We believe our position, as a collective with an egalitarian labor structure, makes it appropriate to choose International Workers’ Day as a day off in solidarity with others.

Our collective would like to acknowledge that other workers have to go on STRIKE to take this day of observance off, while we here at the Olympia Food Co-op have privilege to discuss the issues and come to a unified decision together, ultimately deciding to close in solidarity with the movement.

In recent years, May Day celebrations and rallies have focused on the struggles of oppressed communities and immigrant rights. This year is bound to be no exception, as many unions and groups allied with supporting immigrants and low wage workers are planning a day of action.

As this day is celebrated in numerous countries, with a variety of history and current events, much information can be found online. Here are some links we found to share with you:

Industrial Workers of the World – A Union for All Workers
The Brief Origins of May Day

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Beyond the Movement: Uniting Movements from April 4th to May Day

Beyond the Movement: Uniting Movements
Opt in to updates

Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

We thank you for your support and welcome your comments and questions at

The Olympia Food Co-op Staff and Members celebrate the send-off of donated funds and supplies for Standing Rock Water Protectors.
November 2016

do you have a senior or disability co-op membership?

We have a new Cooperative Access Program membership!

Beginning July 3, Senior and Disability Memberships will no longer include a 10% discount on purchases.

Any member who qualifies is encouraged to change to a Cooperative Access Program membership, and to continue receiving the included 10% discount.

This is an annual membership, and will need to be renewed.

For more details, click here for article in our Table magazine…

Membership Form PDF

changes coming to our discount memberships

At the Co-op, we’re proud of the fact that our membership is afford­able and accessible to anyone who wants to join us. Almost 20 years ago, the Co-op began offering a free annual membership, including a 10% discount, to anyone who identified as low-income. In addition, we’ve offered free membership and a 10% discount to anyone with a disability or over the age of 62.

Over the years, these memberships have been extremely popular, and we’re pleased to report that the Co-op has provided thousands of members with millions of dollars in discounts on their purchases. But as the years have gone by, the proportion of discount usage has been steadily creeping up. In 2016, 10% discounts amounted to more than $750,000. In order to ensure the Co-op’s sustainability, we decided to research some options for modifying our discount memberships.

A Discount Task Force convened in June of 2015, comprised of Staff and Board members. They set out to look at OFC’s current discount systems and propose possible modifications to the staff and Board. The goals of the Discount Task Force were to:

  • Establish an advisory council comprised of discount members and community service providers. The staff task force members created a system for selecting organizations and individuals to serve on this council.
  • Develop a work plan that included various ways to solicit mem­ber and community input.
  • Produce a report including options for modifying the discount structure for the Board and staff to review, with the Board having final consent on an option.

Our Co-op Advisory Council consisted of four Co-op members– at–large. Together with the Task Force, council members actively participated in conducting membership surveys and focus group discussions, and the results led the Task Force to create some rec­ommendations for how to proceed. At the 2016 Annual Membership Meeting, the Task Force presented those recommendations and col­lected comment cards from members attending. The recommenda­tions are:

  1. We are adding a new way to determine eligibility for annual Co­operative Access Program Memberships. When we created the Low-income membership, we decided that we wanted members to decide for themselves whether or not they qualified. So we created a list of criteria that prospective members could refer­ence to help determine whether or not they would be considered low-income. The criteria included issues of employment, home­lessness, temporary disability, and dependent support. We are now adding the use of a more measurable method for determin­ing qualification, the WA state self-sufficiency calculator, offered by the Workforce Development Councils of Washington State.
  2. Senior and Disability memberships will no longer include a 10% discount. We conducted surveys of over 1000 members and came to the conclusion that many members who qualify for these memberships do not financially need the accompanying discount. We believe that this is the best way to accomplish the Co-op’s goal to “Make good food accessible to more people.” The changes to these membership types will be implemented in stages, beginning April 15 for new members, and July 3 for existing members. Any member who qualifies is encouraged to switch to an annual CAP membership (formerly Low-income membership), and receive the included 10% discount. This is an annual membership, and will need to be renewed.

The Board of Directors approved these recommendations at their November Meeting, and we’re working toward implementing these changes starting April 15, 2017 for new members joining these mem­bership types, and continuing through July 3, 2017, for existing mem­bers with senior or disability memberships.

The Co-op will continue to offer free memberships with no dues pay­ments to anyone over 62 or with a disability.

We also continue to offer free annual memberships for anyone who qualifies for the Cooperative Access Program (formerly known as “Low-Income Membership”). The purpose of the program is to make Co-op membership available to anyone whose access to the Co-op is limited due to financial hardship. The membership is good for one year, and includes a 10% discount on purchases.


The Cooperative Access Program offers a free annual membership, with no dues and a 10% discount. The membership is available to anyone whose income falls below self-sufficiency, as described be­low. Purchases must be for use by the qualifying individual and their financial dependents – this does not include friends, housemates, etc.


  • The Coop recognizes the WA state self sufficiency calculator to determine income or monthly budget eligibility. If you fall below the self sufficiency standard you qualify for this annual member­ship. If you need help accessing the calculator, please ask us. Here is the website to access the calculator. http://www.thecalcu­
  • Underemployed (hours, pay, or income is too low to reasonably cover expenses, and not by choice)
  • Unemployed (not by choice) and without familial support and/or other financial resources
  • Unable to make a reasonable living due to physical or mental challenges
  • Supporting dependents without adequate resources
  • Homeless

By Tamara Urich-Rintz
Staff Member

Reprint from Table: A Quarterly Publication of the Olympia Food Co-op
Spring 2017
click here for PDF of the magazine

collecting supplies for women in need

March 8th is International Women’s Day

In the spirit of service towards an organization which supports women in our community, some staff will be utilizing the day to collect supplies for the Interfaith Works Shelter at both our Eastside and Westside locations from 10am – 4pm on March 8th

We invite you to look at the list below and see if there is something you can donate. You may have some of these items at home already. All donations will be taken to the Interfaith Works Shelter to be distributed to those in need.

Click here to donate directly to the shelter

The Olympia Food Co-op will continue to collect donations at our Customer Service desks through May 8th.

click here for PDF of this flyer

Anti-biotic ointment
Cough Drops
Disposable razors
Foot/body powder
Gauze pads
Medical tape
OTC Cold Medicine/CoughSuppressant
Small first aid kits
Tampons and Pads
Toilet Paper & Paper Towels
Tooth Brushes
Tooth Paste
Travel size-Shampoo-conditioner-lotion
Vitamin C

Bars and other small non-perishable snacks
Coffee (decaf and regular)
Dried Fruit/Nuts/Trail Mix
Instant Soups
Powdered Creamer
Tea bags

Coats & jackets
Flash lights
Hand Warmers
Long Underwear & Leggings
Rain gear
Rain ponchos
Sleeping Bags
T-shirts & Long Sleeved & Flannels
Waterproof boots & shoes

In addition, the Co-op supports A Day Without A Woman, a general strike in recognition of the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — and the pervasive and systemic gender-based inequalities that still exist within our society, from the wage gap, to vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. Women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. We recognize that trans and gender nonconforming people face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting. We believe in gender justice.

The Women’s General Strike demands
An end to all forms of violence and oppression against all women
An end to domestic and sexual violence
Complete reproductive freedom and access to safe medical services
An end to the systemic oppression of black, indigenous, Muslim, immigrant and trans women
An end to workplace harassment, discrimination and the gender wage gap
Free childcare and full funding for public education
RESPECT for all women of the world

Click here for more information on the general strike

join the member relations committee!

Member Relations Committee of the Board Application PDF

Thank you for your interest in the Member Relations Committee!

This Committee of the Board, a group of members-at-large, Board, and staff members meets monthly and is tasked to facilitate communication between the membership and the organization.

You will receive working member credits for your time plus work with a fun and collaborative team!

Deadline for submission March 15, 2017

Application PDF

For more info

concerts! dancing! and workshops are FREE! the Oly Old Time Festival has arrived!

Oly Old Time Festival & Arbutus Folk School
welcomes you to the 9th annual festival,
celebrating the music and arts of southern Appalachia and Louisiana

February 16 – 19, 2017

free tickets for kids 12 and under!
free workshops – all of them!

want a FREE weekend pass? become a VOLUNTEER!

for direct links on the Oly Old Time Festival website…

here is TICKETING info

here is the schedule of WORKSHOPS and EVENTS

and… the PERFORMERS and their links found here

here is a fresh approach to healthy eating…

Welcome 2017 and our 40 year anniversary! This month, the Produce Newsletter has an interesting step-by-step list, leading one on an adventurous journey resulting in a tailored-for-only-you healthy cookbook:

11 Ideas to Help You Eat More Vegetables and Fruits in the New Year

  1. on your day off, slice/prepare vegetables that you know you like to eat and store them in containers in your refrigerator– they will be ready to eat when you are hungry
  1. wash several heads of lettuce, or bunches of spinach, kale, or collards at the start of the week to use as a base for salads and easy steamed or sautéed side dishes
  1. think of easy ways to add in fruits and veggies – for example – for breakfast try eating oatmeal soaked in a green smoothie with berries – or – scrambled eggs on a bed of spinach – or – use romaine leaves or collard greens in place of bread or tortillas – or – snack on kale chips instead of tortilla chips, etc…
  1. try using fresh citrus juice (lemon, lime, blood orange, tangerine) or vinegars to add depth of flavor to vegetables and salads
  1. add a bunch of greens (kale, chard, spinach) to soups in the last few minutes of cooking
  1. put together a lunch bag or box with containers that have secure lids and are a good size to hold the healthy things you like to eat. Look forward to filling your containers and bag with food that makes your body feel good and your mind feel happy
  1. think of a few small nutritional changes you’d like to make. This might be a goal like “I will eat one serving of kale a day”. Write these changes down. Start small – one goal a week is enough – only add more if you think you can realistically accomplish them
  1. keep a journal of how making the changes you’re working on is going. Note how you feel having made the changes (i.e. more energy, less mood-swings, etc.) as well as how it feels to have accomplished your goal
  1. if you find a goal is not working for you, cross it off your plan and try something else! Maybe you find that you really don’t like kale. You could trying changing your goal of “I will eat one serving of kale a day” to “I will eat one serving of broccoli a day”
  1. at the end of each month, write a summary of the changes you’ve made and keep track of the recipes you’ve enjoyed making that month. At the end of the year, you’ll have your own personalized cookbook!
  1. look at each day as a new opportunity to feed yourself healthy, nutritious food. Even if you don’t meet your goals every day, try to keep working towards healthier eating with the same enthusiasm that got you started in the first place. Give yourself credit for all the times you DID meet your goal, and remind yourself of all the delicious vegetables and fruits you can still look forward to eating!

produce department page –  weekly we have new specials posted! 

westside garden center featuring local artisans

We will be open
weekends in December and
for the full week of December 19th – 24th


Here are the participating artists

Boom Gallery
Various Jewelry and Pottery Items

Deborah Smith
Crochet Hats & Children Sweater/Hat Sets


Diana Teachout
Handsewn Fabric Ornaments – Sticks, Stones, and Fiber

Fabian Romero
Queer Indigenous writer, performance artist and activist


HoJo Clay Arts
Stunningly Unique Pottery

Jasmine Doughty
Beautiful Prints of Plant and Insect Design

Laurel Henn
Fine quality original design printed tea towels

Margaret Culbertson
Handmade Rugs & Re-purposed Gift Bags


Mike Stark
Woodcraft Cutting Boards & Coasters

Onyx O’Lovely


Positively Crafts & Things
Lovely Gemstone and Wire Jewelry

Poppy la Fae
Felted Plants and Plant-based Jewelry

Roxanna Groves
Handmade Garden Baubles

Windsparrow Studio
Handcarved block prints on Tee Towels and Flags


Other fun things to be found in the Garden Center
Interesting high-quality gardening tools
Books on gardening, nature, diets and cooking
Alaffia baskets and handbags
Hats and Teeshirts
Large Aloe Vera plants in beautiful pots


election results for your Board of Directors!

the election results are in!

thank you to all who voted for your Board of Directors!

In order of most votes, here are the selections

Desdra Dawning, 3 year term
Raven Redbone, 3 year term
Jaime Rossman, 3 year term
Jim Hutcheon, 2 year term
Casey Hook, 1 year term

for more information on their statements, scroll below

Thank you for your participation!


election held October 15 – November 15, 2016

Ballot boxes are set up at both stores!
Westside’s box is found next to the calendars
Eastside’s box is in front of the registers

click here for ballot PDF

Scroll below for candidates and their thoughts…

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 39 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. This year, we have two additional positions open due to resignations. The term lengths for election this year are: three 3-year terms, one 2-year term, and one 1-year term. We have 5 positions open on our Board this year and 8 candidates!

Vote for 5 candidates

Candidates were asked to answer the following questions:

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

Caleb Baldwin

1.  Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I want to be on the Board of Directors because I want to serve the needs of the membership, and respond to any needs or concerns they may have. I am a people person and a problem solver. I am also a good listener. Another reason I would like to be on the Board of Directors can be summed up in one word: EXPANSION. We love our eastside Co-op, but the store opened in 1994 and was converted from an RV store. It has served us well, but I have talked to many members, a lot of whom have come through my volunteer cashier line, and most have expressed the same feelings. They convey that it’s time to design and build something with bigger aisles, an expanded deli, more parking, etc. I would love to hear more input on this if I am elected. I know that Board Members are not the only ones that are involved in this big decision, but I would like to be as involved as possible.

2. What general abilities and skills will you bring to the Board?
First of all, I know the Co-op and the community very well. I was born at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia in 1989, and have lived here my entire life. I began at the Co-op as a produce volunteer three years ago. About six months after that, I transitioned to cashiering. I love being upfront, being able to greet people, and help them answer questions and concerns. My whole career up until now has focused on public service and volunteering, including serving on the Lacey Park Board, and a Community Service Officer for the City of Lacey. I also spend 20 hours a week taking care of a wonderful young man with cerebral palsy. I think my people skills, and all of the skills I’ve learned in serving my community thus far will help me as a Board Member.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
As I stated before, I envision an expanded Co-op. One we build from scratch where more than two carts can fit down an aisle. I also think I envision a lot more of the same great service the Co-op has been providing since 1977: Quality, local, organic food, at reasonable prices. I also envision us focusing on recruiting more superb working members, without whom we most certainly could not survive.

4. What else would you like to share?
I promise that if elected I will take anyone’s call on any issue, and fight hard for every single member so that we can become the best Co-op possible. Thank you for reading my plans for the Co-op and I cordially ask for your vote.

Dylan Brooks

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
The reason I would like to be on the Board is that ever since I moved here, over a year ago, and learned of the Co-op I have been impressed with its organizational model. I am a strong believer in worker control on the job and I feel that organizations like the Olympia Food Co-op is one example of how that might look, and it is important to have examples that people can look to and learn from even as the Co-op learns how to do these things better.

2. What general abilities and skills will you bring to the Board?
My abilities and skills include research, both academic and also in regards to labor organizing. I have some skill at using Microsoft Office, as well as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. I am the secretary of the Olympia Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World which requires me to keep track of our books, maintain our member database, attend our branch meeting once a month, as well as other meetings. I am good at mediating situations with an eye towards what is right. I use email a lot and maintain several email accounts as well as oversee two listservs at the moment, so I am proficient at keeping up with emails. In my capacity as an organizer I am much stronger on the paperwork side of things. That may sound odd but in general I like meetings and such. The process of how these things work has always been of interest to me.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
My vision for the Co-op is for it to enhance and increase its focus on the community in terms of its worker-run model and what this means. My vision would be to focus on, “support efforts to foster a socially and economically egalitarian society.” In my experience so far I feel that the community knows less about this aspect of the Co-op and I would seek to bring this to the forefront.

4. What else would you like to share?
The only other thing I would like to share is my interest and passion lies with helping the poor and working class and I think that the Co-op is a good vehicle for this. Not only in the food and services it provides but also in its worker run model, which can and should be a model for the whole community.

Desdra Dawning

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I have served on the Olympia Food Co-op Board for almost two years as an appointee. During this time, I have come to more clearly understand how our particular Co-op functions and I now recognize the value of a strong and yet flexible Board. While I came into this position with a love and appreciation for our Co-op, my gratitude for its presence in Olympia has grown even stronger. My primary motivation as a Board of Directors member has been, and continues to be, to ensure the health and on-going continuity of Olympia Food Co-op well into the future. I would very much like to continue my service to both our Co-op community and the larger Olympia community.

2. What general abilities and skills will you bring to the Board?
I have always greatly valued the cooperative movement and what the Cooperative Principles stand for. I have written many articles for our Co-op Newsletter. Being on the Board has taught me about consensus, and the value of its process. Working on many committees and task forces, I have developed a friendly, working relationship with Staff Collective members, and Working Members, and have a deeper understanding of the inner workings of Olympia Food Co-op. I would like to continue my work on these committees and task forces.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I see the Olympia Food Co-op as a thriving part of the Olympia community, serving us all not only with good healthy food and other products, but as a vanguard for social justice and a sustainable local economy. No other grocery store anywhere offers this. I see us growing in membership and I trust that conscious decisions will continue to be made as we make the necessary expansion changes that will allow us to more effectively continue to serve our region. I see us in a larger facility with plenty of parking, and perhaps even eventually a downtown presence. And I see the Staff Collective, Working Members, and Board of Directors working gracefully together to ensure the health and well-being of all Olympia Food Co-op members. I also see more enthusiastic involvement from the greater Olympia Food Co-op membership.

4. What else would you like to share?
From the beginning of my time as an Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors member, I have experienced personally the terrible division and deep emotional divides that have developed from the boycott of Israel products and the ensuing lawsuit. While I support the boycott for its political message to the current government of Israel, I am also deeply concerned about the shut-down of communication that the lawsuit brought with it. As an Olympia Food Co-op Board member, I see my position as one that represents all Olympia Food Co-op Members, and would like to work toward some sort of reconciliation, both among Staff Collective and Board of Directors members, and with our larger Olympia Food Co-op membership. How that can be accomplished, I am not sure, but I feel that it is imperative that we somehow take steps to heal these wounds through open dialogue and whatever other measures we can muster. If we can’t bring peace to the Co-op, how can we possibly expect to bring peace to the larger world?

Mardi Halvorsen

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I want to run for the Board of Directors because I believe in the Co-op as community. I put my money where my mouth is, both in what I eat and figuratively. I walk the walk, or at least try.

2. What general abilities and skills will you bring to the Board?
The abilities that I have equal my skills, jack of all trades, master of many, including creative reuse (I sew and sell up-cycled coffee filters sewn from fabrics that are reused, obtained primarily from the Free Store), I’m a yogi (500 hours trained), and a pet sitter (small business owner.) I’ve lived in Olympia since 2014.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
My vision for the Co-op is to bottle that terrific Co-op smell and sell it! Just kidding! Seriously, I would keep the good things good and really, it’s all good. I’ve spent most of my working life in customer service and I am so inspired by all the staff I have the honor to work with at the Co-op. Olympia and the Food Co-op are the embodiment of everything I try to live. It only took my moving here to finally find my perfect partner in Douglas Goslin, long time Co-op working member and my Co-op community. With Douglas’ encouragement I began my volunteer career with the Co-op in early 2015. This summer, my daughter began volunteering with me. Family communication and cooperation are values I strive to live and to teach. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute back to a community and dare I say, family that has empowered me in my life here in Olympia.

Casey Hook

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
Having basically grown up in the Co-op I value it and its impact on the community a great deal. I want to help the Co-op to grow and flourish. I am also preparing for a masters in nonprofit administration at Evergreen and think that a term with the Co-op Board would provide useful experience.

2. What general abilities and skills will 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 about the well-being of the Co-op.

3. 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. People should have access to better food than they generally offer, and the Co-op will need to grow to offer that. From a more reasonable/short term perspective, I think it is high time we have another branch. I also like the idea of helping to provide more ready access to good food for Evergreen students, perhaps a grocery truck that could show up regularly on campus.

Jim Hutcheon

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I have been a working member, volunteering in produce, for almost 5 years. This has given me a chance to see one facet of the Co-op. My volunteer experience has also nurtured in me the desire to give back more to the Co-op. I feel that my experience and skills would enable me to contribute in a meaningful way to the Board of Directors.

2. What general abilities and skills will you bring to the Board?
I am organized, analytical, and a good communicator. I have a lot of practical experience motivating people. In addition to my work as a biology professor, I have organized field work in foreign countries. In addition to basic administrative skills, I have worked with funders, organized volunteers, interacted with local stakeholders, organized budgets, and supplied field staff with food and resources.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
My vision is for the Co-op to keep creatively finding ways to fulfill its mission. Although all of the goals of the Co-op are important, I am particularly interested in the first two goals: Provide information about food; make good food accessible to more people.

4. What else would you like to share?
I have been a vegetarian for 35 years and involved with food co-ops nearly all my adult life. I have a long-standing commitment to the health of the individual, the community, and the planet. I believe strongly in the values set forth in the Olympia Food Co-op’s mission statement. Our food and our diet makes up a significant portion of most people’s monthly expenses and as such, I believe we all have a fundamental right to good and healthy food choices.

Raven Redbone

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
In becoming a Board Member of the Co-op, I would aid and add to the already support of the voices less heard in our world. I would like to bring and support the voices of Indigenous Peoples of the World, mainly focusing on our Northwest Tribal Nations here that we all live in their back yard. I would do my best to bring awareness of the Tribal Issues to the Co-op. In doing so, this will help in fostering stronger relations between the Co-op and the Indigenous Peoples of the World.

2. What general abilities and skills will you bring to the Board?
I will bring to the Co-op strong planning, organization and project management skills. I am an excellent communicator with the ability to bring groups together – an important skill when working on a consensus board. I also bring an innate understanding of the needs of our community, and have worked with many leaders, including Native Elders like Billy Frank Jr., City Hall, and Tibetan monks. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science, Business Management and Marketing from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and a Master in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College. I bring many connections from the Olympia community as a volunteer for organizations such as CIELO Project/Radio Ranch, Olympia Food Co-op Terra Commons, KAOS Community Radio and Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). I also host my own radio show on KAOS Radio, called “Make No Bones About It”, and I have been a Co-op volunteer for many years!

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I would like to be a part of the healing that the Co-op is already fostering in our community. It is my hope that in becoming a part of the Co-op Board I can support, aid, and foster deeper relationships between our community and our Tribal Nations. It is through working together we can heal the world first locally then globally.

4. What else would you like to share?
I was born in Akwesasne, New York, and also go by the name Raven Redbone. Before moving to Olympia, Washington I lived in many other places throughout the United States. I love Irish, Folk, Appalachia, classical and Native music. In 2014, I received an award from Censored News called “New Perspectives in Resistance in Radio.” As well as organizing many events in the community such as the Sunrise Ceremony, Indigenous Peoples Day, Educational Films about Indigenous Peoples Today, and I collect warmth for all of Indian Country as Executive Board Member of Goodthinking 4 All our Relations. I live in Olympia with my wife of 12 years, Paulette Frisina, and my 2 kids, Tekla Frisina age 11 and Nataani Frisina age 9, and let us not forget our cat Gaia who is 16!

Jaime Rossman

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
Our Co-op is an extraordinary community resource. We make great food available at fair prices, support local producers, strive for social justice, and employ nearly one hundred of our neighbors in living wage jobs with great benefits. The Co-op wouldn’t have this impact without the dedication of hundreds of volunteers. Over the years I’ve cashiered, counted ballots for Co-op elections, and provided childcare for a collective staff member. I’d like to join the Board of Directors to apply my professional skills and academic background to help keep the Co-op thriving for the next three years, and beyond.

2. What general abilities and skills will you bring to the Board?
I work as a Policy Advisor for the State. My responsibilities include research, economic impact analysis, budgeting, strategic planning, and program development and evaluation. I represent my agency on a number of boards and work groups, and served on the Board of Trustees when I was a student at Evergreen, so am familiar with the workings of complex organizations. I also have experience with consensus decision-making, serving on and then coordinating Evergreen’s Services and Activities Fee Allocation Board. I went back to Evergreen for a Masters of Public Administration, where my studies included nonprofit administration, strategic planning, and performance management. Combined, these skills will make me an asset as a member of the Board of Directors. I work effectively in groups, and am familiar and comfortable with the Co-op’s unique ways of doing things. I have years of experience developing and evaluating budgets, and helping organizations advance their missions through research, good planning, and adaptively responding to unforeseen issues as they arise.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
The Co-op faces big challenges over the next decade. Rising costs of living have eroded the value of the Co-op’s pay structure. New sources of organic, even locally-produced, food threaten revenue growth. And collective staff members struggle to balance the day-to-day work of running the stores with the time-intensive and emotionally-weighty process of consensus decision-making. I don’t have a neat solution to these challenges, but I do envision a Co-op that treats them as realities and does the hard work needed to find paths forward. I believe I can help the Board work in partnership with the staff collective, working members, and the rest of the membership, to do just that.

4. What else would you like to share?
Beyond my skills and short-term vision, I would bring a passionate belief in, and commitment to, the Co-op’s mission. It is a continual struggle for the Co-op to honor all aspects of its mission. I’ve seen up-close and personally how hard it can be for the Co-op, and for each member in our organization, to balance these competing interests. But by maintaining a radical commitment to equitable decision-making, by doing so much good in our community while also taking courageous stands on issues of international importance, the Co-op truly lives its mission. I’m proud that my community has continued to sustain this dynamic organization for decades. As a Board member, I would be honored to help do the same.

click here for list of candidates PDF
vote at either store

click here for ballot PDF


membership meeting november 12

Every year in the fall, we celebrate YOU, by holding your Co-op Annual Membership Meeting to bring you Co-op updates and more! This year it will be held on

Saturday, November 12, 2016
11am – 2pm
Olympia Community Center, Room A
222 Columbia Street NW
downtown Olympia

The Olympia Food Co-op’s mission is to contribute to the health and well being of people, with goals to “Support efforts to foster a socially and economically egalitarian society” and “Assist in the development of local community resources.” Food Sovereignty and Native rights, the theme for this year’s meeting, relates to efforts which the Co-op has been engaged in this year, including the collaborative mural projects featuring the art work of political prisoner Leonard Peltier at both stores, support for the Paddle to Nisqually inter-tribal canoe journey, the upcoming register round-up donation to support the Standing Rock Tribe’s legal campaign to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across their sacred grounds and water resource, etc. Come hear local leaders, Sonny Davis of Native Harvest, Elizabeth Campbell and Aleta Poste of the Squaxin Tribal Garden, speak on their work around cultivating food sovereignty and native rights for tribal communities here in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn about the latest Co-op ideas and decisions through reports from your Co-op Board and staff collective, meet the Board candidates running in this election cycle. And top it all off by feasting on traditional and seasonal Northwest food provided by Twana Catering (Skokomish) and salmon by Native Harvest– along with local sweets and beverages. A space for your children to play and be entertained will also be provided at this family-friendly event. This is an excellent opportunity to reconnect with old friends, learn about the latest Co-op comings and goings, and become involved in our Co-op community.

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 12, 2016
11am – 2pm
Olympia Community Center, Room A
222 Columbia Street NW
downtown Olympia


standing rock: round-up at registers & donations drop-off

Stand in solidarity with Standing Rock every time you shop at the Co-op!
Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline


Round up at the Register
and the Co-op will match all donations up to $1000!
Proceeds will benefit multiple organizations, these as well as others:
Standing Rock
Sioux Nation Youth Council
Sacred Stone Camp Legal Fund

Bring to the Co-op much-needed supplies
and they will be delivered to Sacred Stone Camp!
Scroll below to find out what is needed

For the latest news

Donate directly to Sacred Stone Camp through Amazon


Solidarity Poster design

Supplies List as requested by Sacred Stone Camp
Gift Cards Lowes, Menards, Amazon, Verizon
Tents (Especially Winter Tents)
Sleeping Bags for Subzero Temperatures
High Quality Winter Jackets
Battery Packs & Solar Chargers
Carts, Wheelbarrows, Snow Tires
Ropes, Tie-downs
Heavy Duty Tarps
Heavy Duty Storage Bins
Power Invertrrs and Solar Panels
Walkie-Talkies and CB Radios
Gas Cards, Paint, Money
Do Not Bring
Clothing or anything not on this list


links update, November 3, 2016

Raven Redbone, of Olympia, hosts the “Make No Bones About It” show Sundays, 4 – 6pm, on 89.3 KAOS Radio. We requested Raven to provide us with links for folks to access accurate information about Standing Rock. Here’s what was sent our way…. thank you, Raven!


Indigenous led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Red Warrior Camp

Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations is a registered nonprofit organization founded in July 2009 to address and meet the needs of the seemingly forgotten and overlooked children and Elders in “Indian Country.”

This group is to help facilitate transportation to the protest due to emergency need of help

No DPAL Stand Up for Standing Rock: 100% of all funds are going to 501 (c) 3 nonprofit Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations

Censored News is a service to grassroots Indigenous Peoples engaged in resistance and upholding human rights.

Honor The Earth, creating awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities

Indigenous Environmental Network, an alliance of grassroots Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth.


a staff member’s blog on supporting and celebrating Local

In anticipation for our
Annual Harvest Party and Local Eats Celebration
Westside Olympia Food Co-op
September 18, 1pm – 5pm
here is a blog post from a staff member’s experience of being a Local Artisan …

remember this calendar from 2001?

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Twenty two years ago, after graduating from college, I was determined to “make it as an artist”. After several years of exploring ideas utilizing my natural talents and interests, I ventured to take some pictures of downtown buildings, printed them in the local college darkroom, found some discarded card stock from the local frame shop, and put together little cards and went to the Olympia Food Co-op, shyly asking if they would be interested in carrying them.

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The staff member who helped me was so kind, and immediately purchased a handful. Within a month I was selling a dozen a week. This inspired me to go to other stores. Within a year, I produced a handmade calendar (Xeroxed!) with the images, carried in 13 stores with a high turnover. The next year, I produced another calendar with more success. This gave me the confidence to continue as a self-employed artist, creating more projects that enriched our community, branching out to music and dance, and hiring – and paying well – local bands, performers, and teaching assistants for community and school cutural events .

This all started by the Olympia Food Co-op being so willing, so kind, to carry my art project, and this beautiful community of folks who appreciate local products enough to support with their hard-earned money.

This story is to demonstrate how one little seed, one little purchase of something local, can directly contribute to a community that is enriched with creativity.

It takes a great deal of creativity to come up with how one can run a business, starting with an idea. Many small businesses start with a simple idea, maybe something like – hey! other folks might appreciate this! And from there, it is often to find that a mere 20% of one’s time is devoted to the craft, while the other 80% is wrapped up in business tasks. Thus, one can arrive at a place to question the validity of their hard work. And, often, it is the dollars that will make the difference. The dollars that you give to them.

When shopping, and I find myself faced with a decision to spend an extra dollar on something because it is local, handmade, etc., it is interesting to observe my thoughts. Often I find that immediately – perhaps because of my consumer training – I reach for the cheaper product. And then, suddenly something happens, what it is? Perhaps a memory of how it feels to be a small business owner, providing work for folks in my community? What is this urge to support local? Is it to take this opportunity to provide a sustainable future for my community by spending only an extra dollar? To support anything that will allow folks to have good jobs within their passions and talents?

Whatever it is, it feels good, and I want to go there.

The idea that my dollars will go directly to folks who made this – who came up with the idea – who risked their finances to put together a business built on passion – who daily work hard to make it work. That extra dollar is worth all that for me. Not only that? Likely it will taste better, feel better.

Now, for a tip-toe into the Olympia Food Co-op’s Local Farm program… in my new staff training I was introduced to this program, and was amazed. As I recall, it all started with something like – hey, we were getting multiple farmers coming into the store with the same products and we had to turn many of them away. The produce department staff came up with an idea where they could work directly with the farmers before planting season. Over the years, this has bloomed into an incredible program, where the participating farmers rotate crops (creating sustainability of their land), and grow product that our members will readily purchase, while ensuring that our stores will have a variety of product.

And, a final thought of voting with my dollar. When I focus on selecting foods that are grown locally, I feel that I am able to say – hey! ! I want our local land to be used for farms! I want to eat food grown around here! I want a future for my son where he can eat food grown in the region! I cannot help but to think… if a land is bulldozed and poured over with cement, how easy would it be for someone down the road to want to put a farm in there? This is worth that extra dollar, which is my vote.

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Thanks for reading through my personal journey of exploring local. Here are some other ideas found out there in the world wide web….


CUESA – San Francisco
A nonprofit organization educating urban consumers about sustainable agriculture and creating links between urban dwellers and local farmers.
A Year of Eating Locally. Katrina Davidson, blogger in Bay Area

Grace Communications Foundation – New York
Developing innovative strategies to increase public awareness of the critical environmental and public health issues created by our current industrial food system, and to advocate for more sustainable alternatives
Why Buy Sustainable?

An online environmental news resource, combining insights from environmentalists and business leaders, and has prominent board members including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
9 Ways to Support Your Local Food Community

National Co+op Growers
Our partnership with other co-ops, bringing excellent pricing in our stores. They are the supporters of our Co-op Explorers Program where kids get free fruit when visiting
Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities

magic kombucha fire & how you can help

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link to magic kombucha fundraising campaign

Recently, there was a tragic fire at the Magic Kombucha production facility and warehouse storage site. This business is an Olympia treasure, one that produces a very popular beverage here at the Co-op.

check out their FaceBook page here!

The Olympia Food Co-op Chill Managers have come together to find ways to support the re-building of the business by posting information on the cooler doors, and donating remaining backstock to Rachel to help her effort to rebuild her supply of kombucha mothers.

They are also encouraging folks who might have un-opened bottles to do the same.

link to magic kombucha fundraising campaign

majic kombucha 80w

a letter from Magic Kombucha

hello fabulous customers & friends. i write with a heavy heart & some tragic news—as some of you may have heard, the magic kombucha warehouse burned to the ground late last night. it’s a total loss. fortunately nobody was hurt or injured. the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

obviously magic operations are on hold indefinitely while we sort out insurance claims & rebuilding plans…at this point it’s hard to estimate how long such things will take, but we are determined to rise out of this stronger, healthier & more impassioned than ever. in the meantime, we may need to do some crowdfunding to cover unexpected &/or legal expenses. we will keep you posted.

thanks for loving our booch, & being such a supportive, loving family of rad local businesses. please keep those good vibes coming. xoxo
Rachel Carns

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text from fundraising campaign site

The Story

Anyone who’s ever been lucky enough to sip Magic Kombucha knows that the name isn’t an exaggeration. The stuff is pure joy, brewed and “Bottled by Geniuses” (says so right on the label!)…or more specifically brewed and bottled by owner Rachel Carns and her 8 employees – artists, musicians, writers, performers – who lost their entire livelihood in a devastating fire that took out their 100-year-old warehouse in the wee hours of July 5, 2016.

The entire Magic operation is a loss. Everything is gone, literally up in smoke, with nothing left but a blackened skeleton of a building and piles of twisted metal and scorched green bottles. It’s truly a heartbreaking sight. Even more tragic is the fact that the employees are left with no income for an indefinite period – and this is where Magic can use your immediate help.

Let’s take a moment to paint a happier picture, because there’s something special about Magic Kombucha. They brew their kombucha in small batches (using Olympia’s famous artesian well water!), & fill, cap, & label each bottle by hand. Each kombucha tub, now lost, had a tag, named for pets, friends, ancestors, revolutionaries, cultural icons. The love and care that goes into their “booch” – a sweet-sour, bubbly fermented health tonic made with organic green tea – has made Magic a beloved staple of Olympia and beyond. Even the Seattle Seahawks drink it for post-game recovery; their nutritionist puts it in their smoothies!

Magic had expanded production a few months back, so the warehouse was crammed to the gills with booch – literally floor to ceiling with just a narrow aisle to maneuver through, a full six months’ worth of bottled kombucha. They had just started selling in a number of stores in northern California, and their distributor was in the process of getting Magic Kombucha into 30 regional stores of a national grocery chain. They were poised to take things to the next level.

Unfortunately, as Magic had been growing rapidly, they were running on an outdated insurance policy from several years ago that is capped at $77,000 – a mere fraction of the costs needed to cover employee wages while out of work, finance building out a new space, and provide living expenses for Rachel and the crew during the first few months of production. Magic’s lost product inventory alone is estimated at over $175,000, and that doesn’t include equipment. They are going to need immediate emergency financial assistance to help get them through the weeks-to-months before the insurance pays out – & to help cover the many losses and expenses that their insufficient insurance policy won’t.

Rebuilding the company is further complicated by the fact that you Just Can’t Rush Kombucha: from start to finish, the Magic brew needs 3-4 months (depending on weather) to properly ripen. That means 3-4 months of full-time work before income starts coming in.

Beyond that, this timeline doesn’t account for the weeks it will take to grow new kombucha cultures from scratch, or how long it will take to find a new space and build it out to Magic’s unique production needs. Magic’s employees may be without work for quite a while.

It’s a sad picture, but with your help it is also a rare opportunity to rebuild a Magic Kombucha that is stronger, healthier, and more impassioned than ever. Many have reached out to offer kind words and emotional support, and the Magic family is truly feeling the love. If you can, please consider donating to help bring that love to the table. However you can help, in word or deed, the entire Magic crew is eternally grateful, totally humbled, and in awe of the support and love from Magic Kombucha lovers near and far.


majic kombucha 80w

link to magic kombucha fundraising campaign

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on July 15, 2016 by Friends of Magic Kombucha

HEADING TOWARD $9000!!!thank you friends. Magic has a long road ahead, so don’t stop now! please continue sharing this page & giving if you can. still embroiled in insurance red tape…will post more info when we have a clearer picture of what might happen. meanwhile, we are putting out a call for HALF GALLON OR LARGER GLASS JARS!if you are in the olympia area & have some to spare, send us a facebook message– we’d love to take them off yr hands. MASSIVE SCOBY REGENERATION IN PROGRESS!

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Friends of Magic Kombucha

YAY! just passed $7000! this will help pay out partial wages for the Magic employees during the months of transition ahead. THANK YOU! we have a long way to go…& even if you can’t give money, there are many ways to help. local Magic fans & Olympia businesses have been donating their precious Magic Kombucha stock so we can grow new kombucha culture (better known as SCOBY, an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast); these booch angels have driven from port townsend, portland, seattle & beyond – every bottle counts! meanwhile, seattle komo news 4 interviewed Rachel & ran a clip on our story over the weekend – watch it here!

Posted on July 9, 2016 by Friends of Magic Kombucha

WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW you all are the best! only one day in & already at $4000!!! THANK YOU. days & days of endless meetings & messages & phone calls with insurance people & other insurance people & then some different insurance people…so happy the weekend is here. meanwhile, the local newspaper ran a cool story on Magic today–check it out by clicking here!


link to magic kombucha fundraising campaign

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local storm effects fruit crops

A Really Sad Story about Fruit and Hail
Excerpt from August 2016 Produce Department Newsletter

Last week we received an email from Mike Brownfield, one of the Co-op’s primary growers for Washington fruit, including stone fruit (peaches, apricots, etc), apples and pears that had the following information:

“Greetings to our loyal customers, I’m afraid the prospects of a great season for us have vanished. We suffered a vigorous hail storm Tuesday afternoon. It lasted about 7 minutes and severely damaged around 50% of our fruit….Since we sell all of our stone fruit to our I5 customers, the quantity currently available has been greatly reduced by this storm. The peaches, etc. were in an area that received the brunt of the hail, wind and rain. Concerning our apples and pears, one end of the orchard appears to have 30% damage while the other end has around 70%.”

What this means for you as Co-op customers, is that we will likely see less of Brownfield’s delicious fruit than we normally do, and that the fruit we receive may have some damage. Mike has also let us know that he expects to have many cases of fruit available for canning, so if you are interested in purchasing a case of slightly damaged fruit, please let a produce worker know and we can get you information on pricing and availability.

It’s really sad how such a short and unusual weather event can cause such a horrible amount of damage, and it should remind us all of the risk that farmers take every day to bring us the fresh, high-quality, healthy, organic produce. I wrote about this last month, but I want to reiterate that as climate change continues to happen, we will likely see more weather events like these, more pest infestations, and a harder time controlling plant diseases. So take a moment to appreciate your produce, even when it’s not cosmetically perfect.

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A picture of Brownfield’s delicious apricots pre-storm

Paddle to Nisqually landing in Olympia July 30… want to volunteer?


The Nisqually Tribe welcomes and celebrates all nations and visitors to Canoe Journey 2016! The Tribal Canoe Journeys – Paddle to Nisqually – will take place July 30th through August 6th, 2016.

Canoe Landing in Olympia on July 30th
Port of Olympia North Point

One of the ways we are supporting this effort is by offering Olympia Food Co-op Working Member credit in exchange for volunteering for the event. These links to take you to the volunteering opportunities:

Volunteer for the Canoe Journey

Volunteer for the Canoe Landing – Port of Olympia


hey kids! free fruit!


are you 12 or under?

come by the Member Services desk for a piece of free fruit every time you visit the Co-op!

explorers fruit westside crop color 540

and, a note for caregivers….

Co+op Explorers is a free fruit program for NCG co-ops. The benefits of a free fruit program include promoting healthy eating for kids (and appreciation by parents and the larger community) and a more engaging and fun shopping experience for both parents and kids.

Explorers_ad edit

with love to you

Queer People of Color, Queer Trans People of Color, LGBTQ+ people …

… the Olympia Food Co-op loves you!

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Many queer staff and allies are grieving the violence against people every day in this country. Native lives, black lives, brown lives, queer lives are lost every day.

We stand in solidarity with our community through yet another tragedy. We stand in solidarity with the victims of Pulse, with the victims of hatred and intolerance.

The community is invited to show it support by filling our store windows with hearts and rainbows with notes of support for the rest of June.

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You can find hearts at each store or you could bring a heart or rainbow you made at home.

Let’s show some love because hatred is killing people.


Volunteer for the Greatest CO-OPATOPIA on Earth!


Volunteer  for the Greatest CO-OPATOPIA on Earth! 

Now in its fourth year, CO-OPatopia is the only FREE regional event specifically to promote cooperatives, their products and services to consumers, and to other co-ops. Co-opatopia invites co-op members to volunteer for this event! Volunteer shifts are 11-1, 1-3, 3-5, and 5-close. Contact Maija at the Northwest Cooperative Development Center to volunteer:

CO-OPatopia celebrates cooperative businesses and all they contribute to our communities and the local economy.

The Purpose of CO-OPatopia is to:

  1. Celebrate the community of co-ops.
  2. Help current co-op members identify other co-ops in the area.
  3. Educate non co-op users about the benefits of co-ops and how they can get involved.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

2 PM – 7 PM
“Co-op Street”, 5th & Adams (The Pet Works Parking Lot) in Olympia

(Part of the Spring Arts Walk)

Leonard Peltier Mural painting April 16th & 17th


This weekend, April 16th & 17th, the East Side Olympia Food Co-op will be working on a mural painting project based on paintings by imprisoned Native American activist and artist, Leonard Peltier. This new mural joins the already completed Leonard Peltier mural at our West Side location.


This project is in itself an action to raise awareness to Leonard’s innocence and his case for freedom, while also helping build momentum for a re-awakened movement to pressure President Obama to grant Peltier executive clemency in this last year of his presidency. If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to request his clemency.


We are linking up with a world wide movement for his freedom and at the same time we will be creating a beautiful piece of artwork. Leonard is 71 years old and has been in prison for almost 40 years for a crime he did not commit. This year is maybe our last good chance to do something to help get him free.

Volunteers are welcome, most specifically those with painting skills who can dedicate the time. There will be people tabling and gathering signatures. We look forward to seeing you there!


Co-op Newsletter Look Updated



Our new quarterly newsletter, The Co-op Table, has arrived in the store! Come pick up a copy and read articles and recipes by Working Members and Staff!


Waldorf Winter Faire

The Olympia Waldorf School’s Winter Faire is this Saturday, December 5th! This celebration is a gift to children all around Olympia


There will be a Cookie Kingdom, Winter Games, yule dogs and yummy soup in the Polar Cafe! Enjoy warm freshly baked gingerbread, music and puppet plays, wonderful new crafts for children of all ages and perennial favorites too! There are magical activities for the whole family!


Announcing Turmeric Season, Plus A Recipe From Our Salad Bar!

Even when the sun doesn’t shine, this deep yellow plant brightens up our plates and palates!


Turmeric is a favorite winter crop and we are happy to announce it has arrived at both our stores!

Turmeric is a rhizome in the ginger family and has been used for thousands of years as food, medicine and dye. Turmeric is listed in the Papyrus Ebers, an Egyptian scroll documenting herbal medicines which dates back to 1500 BC. It has been used to treat a variety of conditions including immune function, arthritis and joint pain, heart and liver health.
Fresh turmeric can be grated into all kinds of food, such as soup, curry, salad dressings and smoothies. It’s especially pleasant and cozy to grate a little bit into a cup of green tea on a cold winter morning!
You can sample turmeric at the East Side Salad Bar in our bright Turmeric Ginger Braised Slaw.
To try it at home, here’s the recipe:
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs grated turmeric
for the dressing:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbs honey
2 tbs brown mustard seeds
1 tsp+ powdered turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp+ salt (to taste)
Compile shredded cabbage with grated ginger and turmeric, mix lightly, set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Turn on a medium heat and whisk until the salt has dissolved and the mixture incorporates. Return to whisk frequently until the dressing has just begun to boil. Drizzle the hot liquid over the cabbage mixture. When it is cool enough to touch (about 1 minute), massage the cabbage until the dressing is thoroughly distributed. Taste and add more salt, ginger or turmeric if desired. Enjoy hot or prepare in advance and serve cold.

Newaukum Valley Farm

Wow! We are falling in love with this beautiful, dark purple Redbor Kale from Newaukum Valley Farms!


Look out for bunches of these purple beauties in our produce department on the East & West Side stores and featured in recipes on our East Side Salad Bar!

Here is a cozy and delectable recipe which highlights the dark foliage of the rebor kale contrasted with the rich golden flesh of seasonable acorn squash–mmmm, hope you enjoy!


Redbor & Acorn Salad

1 bunch redbor kale

1 acorn squash

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/8 cup olive oil

2 tbs chopped raw garlic

1 tbs salt + more, to taste

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup tamari roasted pumpkin seeds

Chop the squash in half, removing seeds. Oil the exposed flesh and bake face up at 350 until done, about an hour, or until tender enough for a fork. Remove from oven and cool, then peel. Chop the flesh into cubes, reserve. Wash the kale, chop below where the foliage begins, discarding the stems, and continue chopping the kale into thin 1/8th inch ribbons and reserving in a serving bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil and spices, whisking to an emulsion. Drizzle half of this emulsion over the kale, and massage thoroughly. Distribute the squash cubes over the kale, and drizzle the remaining dressing over the squash. Garnish generously with pumpkin seeds.


Sample Exquisite N Traditional

Come try some delicious samples from our wonderful vendor Exquisite N Traditional– sampling from 11-noon at the Eastside on Saturday Nov. 14th and 11-noon at the Westside on Sunday Nov. 15th! They will also be giving out Exquisite N Traditional shopping bags if you purchase two or more of their products during their demo. Oh…the joy in every bite!


A message from our Meat Department

The World Health Organization recently released a statement regarding processed meats, saying, “reducing consumption of these products can reduce the risk of cancer”. We want to take this opportunity to remind our community that the Olympia Food Co-op has strict guidelines which shape our purchasing practices.

salamisOur Meat Department works directly with local growers and suppliers who are committed to these same values, as well as the highest animal welfare standards and environmental stewardship practices. We do not carry any meats that have added nitrites/nitrates, meats treated with growth hormones, or preventative antibiotics. We never have and we never will. We value working with small farms, companies, and brands that take these values as seriously as we do, and bypass carrying products that may qualify under our guidelines if we feel we can get a superior product from “lesser known” brands/companies, in order to provide you with the highest quality product possible.

In short, we are proud to sell the meat in our stores, and welcome you to browse our awesome selection of sliced meats, salamis, sausages and bacon in health and safety!



vote for your board of directors! election held Oct. 15 – Nov. 15

2015 Board of Directors Poster

Board of Directors Elections 2015
election held October 15 – November 15

Click here for Ballot PDF

Four candidates for the 2015 Board elections were received by the Sept 10 deadline. We realize that having one candidate per position is less than ideal. We strive to always having contested elections although we don’t have that this year, we are committed to running the election as prescribed by the bylaws article 3 section 4 which states “elections shall be held annually.”

The Board is researching and gathering feedback on reasons for the current low interest in running for the Co-op Board, and we welcome your opinion. Let us know at any thoughts you might have on the state of board elections.

Candidates were asked to answer the following questions:

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

Eric Mapes

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
The Co-op plays an important role in the Olympia community, making good food more accessible, providing living-wage jobs, and promoting social justice. The Co-op’s growth and prosperity over the last four decades demonstrates that a business model driven more by values than profit can succeed. I feel fortunate to have the Co-op in my neighborhood and want to do my part to keep it both economically viable and true to the Mission Statement.

2. What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I am committed to our consensus-based process, and have the skills to participate effectively in it. Having served as an elected member of the Co-op Board from 2009 to 2012, and as an appointed member since February of this year, I have experience with the Board’s process and understand the issues the Co-op currently faces. With a B.A. from the Evergreen State College and a J.D. from the University of Washington law school, I have developed strong written and oral communication skills. I am a licensed attorney and spent more than two years doing legal research and writing at the state Court of Appeals, so I have a good understanding of Washington law. I also spent about five years living and teaching in Japan, an experience that helped me appreciate the difficulties visible minorities face here.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I see the Co-op not only as a welcoming place for all people to access good food, but as a force for positive change in Olympia and the world. In terms of specific goals for the near future, I see the Co-op developing a workable, financially sound plan to expand our retail and warehouse space, investing in alternative energy systems to power our operations, and implementing a system to foster increased member input and involvement. I would also like the Co-op to revisit the issue of selling locally-produced beer and wine: I believe we can meet member demand for these products, strengthen our business, and support local producers in a way that both respects the needs of people suffering from alcohol addiction and preserves our working-member cashier system.

4. What else would you like to share?
After I moved to Olympia in 1994, I worked as a cheese packager at the Westside store for many years. The Co-op both nourished me and inspired me to imagine a better world- the working member discount allowed me to enjoy a quality of life I could not otherwise have afforded, and seeing the Co-op function inspired me to think critically about the injustice in our economic system. I will always be grateful. I humbly thank you for allowing me to serve as a director of this amazing organization, and would be honored to have your vote again.

Marc Hartung

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors so that I may contribute to sustainable, and accessible, healthy food in my community. I am passionate about food and believe that it is the cornerstone of health. I am also passionate about social justice, open communication and collaborative processes. I would like to help the Co-op continue to move forward as a leader in the community in providing healthy affordable food, and applying anti oppressive practices in an open and inclusive manner.

2. What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I am familiar with consensus decision making and non-violent communication and I am committed to continuing to examine my place in our community through an anti oppression model. I do not shy away from struggle or discomfort. I believe these qualities will serve my position on the board by allowing me to facilitate moving forward in addressing difficult issues with both self and community awareness. I have experience working in logistics and I am skilled at seeing things from many different perspectives, asking a lot of questions, and working towards efficient solutions where necessary. I am insatiably curious and always eager to learn and contribute.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I envision the Co-op growing and evolving with the needs of the community as it pertains to maintaining or increasing access to food as well as increasing awareness within our community of discrimination and oppression that continue to permeate our culture. I believe that the Board of Directors exists to ensure that the Co-op remains a safe place that exists primarily to serve the whole community as well as its employees.

4. What else would you like to share?
I graduated from The Evergreen State College with a BS emphasizing pre-medical studies, medical sociology and ethics. I have two children and I love getting out into the wilderness with them to foster their love and stewardship of our earth. I currently work part time as a care-taker, and volunteer at the Olympia Free Clinic while pursuing a career in healthcare.

Sam Green

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I want to serve on the Co-op’s Board of Directors to ensure that the cooperative continues to effectively serve its members, empower its workers, and reach out to the greater Olympia community. The Co-op is not only a great resource for food and groceries, but living proof that people can use the cooperative model in an empowering and relevant way. I fully understand that our Co-op’s success is only possible because of the hard work of its volunteer members, staff collective, and Board of Directors. With this recognition, I am offering my time and my hard work to ensure that this great project we call the Oly Food Co-op continues to thrive.

2. What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I will bring years of experience in non-profit management, industry knowledge in cooperative development, and a solid understanding of community organizing to my work on the Board of Directors and for the overall cooperative. As a union organizer, I learned the importance of bringing people together, addressing the needs of our economic lives, and looking to our principles for guidance. Later, as a chief administrative officer for a labor union, I learned the skills of financial stewardship, accountable communication, membership engagement, strategic planning, and project management. These experiences will play directly into my ability to serve on the Board as a resource and as a cooperator. Most recently, I oversee the finances for a small local building company, and work part time as a cooperative development specialist with a non-profit, here in Olympia. These experiences have offered me the ability to hone my financial management skills and dig deeper into how cooperatives succeed and flourish.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I envision the Olympia Food Cooperative as an engine for not only meeting our community’s need of food, but for providing great jobs and connecting us with great farmers. Further, I want to see the cooperative as a resource for new cooperative endeavors and small-scale, added-value food projects. I want our Co-op to be a model of how consumer cooperatives may financially succeed while sticking to their principles and fulfilling their mission.

4. What else would you like to share?
I am really excited to see how our Co-op grows and changes in the coming few years. Being born and raised in greater Oly, I have always admired the way the Food Co-op overcame challenges to emerge stronger. It is my hope that whoever is elected to the Board will embrace these exciting times, navigate the unforeseen challenges, and keep our cooperative committed to its mission.

David Coppley

1. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
Co-ops changed my life. Growing up a jaded, cynical kid, exposure to the cooperative model in my young adult years provided me with an opportunity to try to do something better than the status-quo for which I held such contempt. Some twenty or so years later, I have had the good fortune to work in a number of cooperative organizations—from national retails chains, to tiny non-hierarchical collectives. Throughout my career, which has included a variety of positions in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, I have always strived to champion the values and ethics we built in the co-ops. While my current employment in as a bike-promoting, youth engaging, all around do-gooder is very rewarding, I miss co-ops. So just toss me a vote, why don’t you, and together we can keep making this community of ours even better.

2. What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
Well over a decade of retail experience, including approximately 7 years in cooperatives. I have worked in a variety of capacities in food cooperatives, doing everything from writing the paychecks to scraping the raisins off the floor. Extensive professional program management experience (about 10 years), with a focus of cooperative, volunteer-based workforces. I know how to keep a group productive and inclusive while having a good time. Public engagement – I am a confident, engaging speaker and active listener. Experience leading/supporting effective and inclusive meetings. I am a big idea person. I love to creatively envision, and have enough knowledge and experience to produce ideas that are achievable and relevant. My tofu salad is pretty bad-ass. Just sayin’.

3. What vision do you have for the Co-op?
I think the Olympia Food Co-op is doing pretty damn well as it is. My vision will come after I have had the opportunity to hear the interests and concerns of staff, volunteers, and patrons which make up our happy little community.

4. What else would you like to share?
Edward Abbey once said, “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” If you are reading this, you obviously give a damn. So do I. Let’s keep making things better . . . together. I promise I am not as pretentious as my verbiage may imply. I am a pragmatist at heart and will get things done!

join us! annual meeting

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Saturday October 17
11am – 2pm

Olympia Community Center
222 Columbia St NW
Olympia, WA 98501

Live music by Erev Rav
Co-op Business News
Panel speakers from Cecosesola
Delicious food catered by Ninevah and Arepa
Drinks from Magic Kombucha and Kefir Soda
Desserts from Cobb’s and Peace, Love & Raw
Jusby the Clown to entertain the kids

The Annual Meeting for the Olympia Food Cooperative will be held this year on October 17 at the Olympia Community Center, 222 Columbia, in downtown Olympia, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

A lunch buffet will be catered by two wonderful local food truck restaurants: Arepa, offering delicious Latin cuisine from Venezuela, and Nineveh with its unique Assyrian fare.

In addition to annual committee reports from the Board of Directors, we will also be graced with a panel of folks from the Cecosesola Cooperative who will just have arrived in Olympia from Venezuela. They will be getting a warm welcome from our members and at the same time will be accepting questions from the audience about their own excellent cooperative organization.

With the Board Elections moving into full swing, all members who have applied to run for a position on the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors will have the opportunity to take the mic and introduce themselves to all of those in attendance.

Children are welcome and will have a space to gather and play during the meeting and we may even have a clown join us!

This meeting is a good chance for members of the Olympia Food Co-op to get the latest news on Co-op business, meet up with old friends, share some scrumptious food, meet Board candidates, ask questions of the current Board, and learn about how the folks in Venezuela manage to run such a huge, successful cooperative business in their country.

Please put this date on your calendar. This is your Co-op. Your participation is what helps to invigorate and enliven it!

attention members! proposed bylaws change

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The elections will be held
October 15 – November 15, 2015

Current Olympia Food Co-op bylaws allow only for member notification of the annual meeting and Board of Director elections through mailings via the U.S. Post Office. With the use of so much paper, and over 15,000 members to notify, these mailings are costly for both the environment and the Co-op. Electronic notification would greatly reduce these costs and allow the Co-op to become more paperless. However, this change in how Olympia Food Co-op sends out these notifications requires a change in our bylaws.

It is therefore proposed that the Olympia Food Co-op bylaws be amended to read, with additions underlined:

An annual meeting of the membership shall be held each year. The place, day, and hour of the meeting shall be mailed to all active members, or sent by electronic mail to those active members who have consented to receive the notice electronically, at least 10, but not more than 50 days, prior to the meeting.

To receive notice of the annual meeting electronically, members must submit a request in writing, either electronically or on a paper form available from the Cooperative, indicating their consent and designating the electronic mail address at which they wish to receive such notice. In addition, notice of the meeting shall be posted at the Cooperative at least 10 days prior to the annual meeting. The purpose of the annual meeting is to provide an opportunity for the Board and members to discuss the activities of the Cooperative. The Board shall establish the agenda for the annual meeting in a manner that allows for members to propose agenda. (Article II Section 6 of the Olympia Food Co-op Bylaws)

Request to go paperless will also be included on the Olympia Food Co-op Membership form.

PDF of handbill

harvest party potluck & zuke fest! sunday, sept. 20, 1- 5. westside

HARVEST_PARTY_2015_SOCIAL_BlogSunday, September 20
1pm – 5pm
Westside Olympia Food Co-op
921 Rogers Street N.W.

Join the fun at our eleventh annual Harvest Party Potluck and Zuke Fest!

You are invited to our annual food party, where we will be celebrating the incredible bounty of our local harvest and producers! Prizes for biggest home grown zucchini, baked zucchini good, and derby contestant.

Bands! Food! Games!
Celebrate Local!

join the Board of Directors! applications due September 10th

2015 Board of Directors Poster

Board of Directors Application PDF

applications due September 10
election held October 15 – November 15

The Olympia Food Co-op 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 staff and working members. The Board holds ultimate legal responsibility for the operations and actions of the Co-op. Serving on the Board is a great opportunity to be an active participant in your Co-op’s future and in the future of our community!

The Mission Statement for the Co-op (from Section I.2. of The Bylaws) is:
The purpose of the Cooperative is to contribute to the health and well-being of people by providing wholesome foods and other goods and services, accessible to all, through a locally-oriented, collectively managed, not-for-profit cooperative organization that relies on consensus decision making.  We strive to make human effects on the earth and its inhabitants positive and renewing and to encourage economic and social justice.

Our goals are to:

A. Provide information about food

B. Make good food accessible to more people;

C. Support efforts to increase democratic process;

D. Support efforts to foster a socially and economically egalitarian society;

E. Provide information about collective process and consensus decision making;

F. Support local production;

G. See to the long term health of the business;

H. Assist in the development of local community resources.

Board Responsibilities (as outlined in Section III.12. of The Bylaws) are:

Except as to matters reserved to membership by law or by these bylaws, the business and affairs of the Cooperative shall be directed by the Board of Directors.

The major duties of the Board are to:

A. Employ Staff, approve the make-up of the hiring committee, approve job descriptions, and approve a hiring policy;

B. Select officers, and fill Board vacancies as needed;

C. Approve an operating budget annually;

D. Monitor the financial health of the Cooperative;

E. Appoint standing and special committees as needed;

F. Authorize appropriate agents to sign contracts, leases, or other obligations on behalf of  the Cooperative;

G. Adopt, review, and revise Cooperative plans;

H. Approve major capital projects;

I. Adopt major policy changes;

J. Adopt policies to foster member involvement;

K. Authorize major debt obligations of the Cooperative;

L. Ensure compliance with all corporate obligations, including the keeping of corporate records and filing all necessary documents;

M. Ensure adequate audits of Cooperative finances;

N. Maintain free-flowing communication between the Board, Staff, committees, and the membership;

O. Adopt policies which promote achievement of the mission statement and goals of the Cooperative;

P. Resolve organizational conflicts after all other avenues of resolution have been exhausted;

Q. Establish and review the Cooperative’s goals and objectives.

R. Provide an annual report to the members to include a financial report, committee reports, and a summary of other significant events held and actions taken by the Cooperative during the year.

Board members receive working member credit for their time spent in Board and committee meetings.  The monthly hour commitment ranges between 10 to 20 hours.  The Board meets once a month. Each Board member is required to join 2-3 committees which also meet 1-2 times per month (though this will vary from committee to committee.)  These committees establish plans and policies that are then passed on to the Board or membership for approval.  The standing committees include Finance, Expansion, Co-op Development, Ecological Planning, Standing Hiring, Local Products, and Member Relations. Temporary committees may be formed to deal with specific short-term projects (International Year of the Co-op, Discount Task force, etc.)

Eligibility & Election Information
To be eligible to run for the Board you must be a member of the Co-op with a current address on file, and you must be willing to make a 3 year commitment.  Board members can serve a maximum of two three-year terms. This year the Board has four positions to fill.  Newly elected Board members will receive in-depth trainings on consensus decision-making and anti-oppression, as well as the Co-op’s finances, policies, general procedures, and history.

The election will be held from October 15 to November 15

New Board members will be asked to attend the November and December Board meetings to begin their training and meet current Board members, and will officially begin their term in January.

If you are interested in running for the Board, you must fill out the application and submit it and a current digital photo of yourself to by 9pm on September 10th.

For more information, contact Fern at

looking for artists!

cooptopia looking for artists poster 620 larger then original

This year’s Coopatopia event will be held as a “Co-op Alley” of booths in the Northwest Cooperative Development Center’s parking lot on 4th and Adams, right in the heart of Artswalk activities. A live Artswalk band & space for food and beverages will be onsite. Coopatopia is looking for artists who would like to display some of their work at a shared booth with a co-op, and talk with visitors about how much they love being a co-op member! Contact Cooptopia for more info on this event.

How is the Olympia Food Co-op involved with Cooptopia?
The Development Committee of the Board is working to create a network of mutually supportive co-ops and collectives in the Puget Sound. An exchange with CECOSESOLA in Venezuela is part of strength-building for this network. Supporting each other operationally, and helping new co-ops grow is part of our goal, too.

Visit our page on the Co-op Movement


new Olympia Food Co-op membership cards!

 new membership card 505 original size

The Co-op is upgrading the way that we maintain our membership database and how we apply 10% discounts. Members who are used to just telling the cashier “Pink, Purple, Blue, or Yellow Card” will need to take a couple more steps than that to ensure that your membership is current and that you receive your discount, if you get one.

We know how hard it can be to change old habits, and some of our members have proudly carried their tattered pink cards for several decades. We hope to make the transition as smooth and easy as possible. Every member will need to get a new membership card at the cash register.

Why are we causing such a ruckus at the register?  Our membership records have grown tremendously over the last 10 years and we need new software to help us keep up.  By linking our membership information into the register system, we will have more accurate ways to track dues payments and membership renewals than our current system allows.  There will be other benefits as well, such as automatic applying of discounts and easier ways to resolve returns and overcharges.

Thank you for your patience and for being a member!  The Co-op Staff and Board are grateful to our large and active membership and all the support you show the Co-op year after year.

For more info about becoming a member

support CECOSESOLA at New Moon cooperative cafe celebration

new moon blog 505w

Guess who’s turning 2?
Come celebrate the New Moon, Olympia’s Cooperative Cafe, with a drinks & a silent auction. Proceeds benefit an exchange between area co-ops & collectives with co-op workers from CECOSESOLA in Barquisimeto, Venezuela!

History of our exchange with CECOSESOLA 
In 2012, to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of the Cooperative, the Olympia Food Co-op partnered with The Evergreen State College for a historic exchange with CECOSESOLA, an integrated cooperative of over 50 member organizations in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. This exchange began a rich relationship between our two organizations that continues today. Below is a short film with footage and interviews from our visit in 2012. For more writing and photos, visit the blog, CECOSESOLA: A Co-operative Exchange. To learn more about CECOSESOLA (in Spanish), visit their website at


opening for Member Relations Committee of the Board

Garden Center MRC post 695w

Passionate about getting involved with your Co-op?
Join the Member Relations Committee!

This Committee of the Board is a group of members-at-large, Board, and staff members meets monthly and is tasked to facilitate communication between the membership and the organization. You will receive working member credits for your time (and get a discount on your grocery) plus work in a fun and collaborative team!

Deadline for submission is September 15, 2015

For application PDF to print, click here

Submit application by email at or drop it off at either store location with attention to Member Relations.

For more info, contact

Zuke Fest coming soon! Contest & prizes!


Harvest Party & Zuke Fest
Sunday, September 20
Westside Olympia Food Co-op

Interested in a food party that celebrates the incredible bounty of our local harvest and businesses? Then join the fun at the Olympia Food Co-op’s eleventh annual Harvest Party Potluck, Sunday, September 20 from 1 to 5pm.

Don’t forget to participate in our Zuke Fest – contest and prizes for biggest home grown zucchini, baked good, or derby contestant.

Fun and music and games and food for all!

Celebrate Local!

Community Sustaining Fund spring 2015 grant recipients

community sustaining fund logo 150

The Community Sustaining Fund (CSF) met on Saturday, May 9, 8:30 AM in the community room of MiXX 96, located at State and Washington, for interviews, deliberations, and the subsequent awarding of grants to nine (9) worthy recipients. The CSF did not have sufficient resources to fund all project proponets at their requested level. However, following interviews for nearly three hours, and after an additional hour of discussion, the CSF Leadership Team was able to provide partial endowments in support of each one of the proposals.

The following is an account of funded projects by the CSF in tis spring 2015 cycle:

Arbutus Folk School        $600
TEDx                                  $450
Bee Hives                         $150
Vets for Peace                 $400
US Social Forum              $200
Kiwanis                              $400
Pizza Klatch                      $500
African Diaspora              $200
Power Parenting              $200
Total                                 $3100

As evident from the above list, financial support was awarded for a range of very different proposals. It is always heartening to listen to the project advocates and to have them describe with great passion their ideas and the need for grassroots sponsorship. The Community Sustaining Fund appreciates the support the community provides by “rounding-up” purchases at the Olympia Food Co-op and through direct donations. These have allowed the CSF to continue into its 26th year, in support of over 220 projects totaling $90,000.

As printed in Works In Progress, June 2015

Bike Winner!



Congratulations Duncan!

R.W. Knudson, maker of Recharge sports drink, generously donated a nifty folding bike to raffle away to our membership. On June 16th, the drawing was held at the eastside Co-op, and Duncan is the winner! Congratulations! And thanks to all who participated!

CECOSESOLA benefit DINNER with The New Moon Collective

ceco new moon june 540

Join us for a fancy dinner with The New Moon Collective to help support local cooperatives in an international exchange with CECOSESOLA! The dinner will be held at The New Moon this Friday, June 12th. Thank you for your support!

Bicycle Commuter Contest: Join Us!

bicycle contest 540

The Olympia Intercity Transit Program’s annual Bicycle Commuter Contest calls to the community and empowers folks to use alternative transportation. In Olympia and Thurston county, the month of May is full of bicycle commuters. Folks are seen zipping around through the sunny plum blossomed adorned streets. Throughout the month of May, members who ride to the Co-op receive a treat and a Ride Card. Five rides to the Co-op gets your Ride Card entered into the grand prize drawing held June 1st. Come Join the tradition and the sweet Bicycle Commuter Contest!

In 2014 The Bicycle Community Contest made a huge impact!!! The Thurston County Inner City Transit came up with these numbers below. With your participation, we can do even better in 2015!

Registrations 1,437
Mileage logs returned 1,001
Travel days reported 13,093
New participants 498
Teams 69
Average miles per rider 107
CO2 emissions prevented 55 tons
Miles traveled by bike in May 110,859
Sponsors 50

Letter of Support for CECOSESOLA

ceco truck image 540

This week, staff of the Olympia Food Co-op signed a letter of support for our friends at CECOSESOLA, a cooperative of cooperatives with over 20,000 associates in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. CECOSESOLA operates as a network of worker collectives that makes decisions by consensus, and offers a variety of services–three large food co-ops, a funeral home, and a hospital, among others–in low-income neighborhoods of Venezuela’s 5th largest city. In 2012, our two co-ops participated in an exchange of workers, in which two staff members from the Olympia Food Co-op had the opportunity to live and work with colleagues at CECOSESOLA, and four staff from CECOSESOLA came to Olympia to work and share experiences with the Olympia Food Co-op and other area organizations.

Now, in the midst of a deepening economic crisis in Venezuela prompted by the drop in international oil prices among other factors, the Venezuelan has made change to its business tax structure that disproportionally impact co-ops, threatening their ability to survive in an increasingly difficult market. Here is a worksheet that shows the impact of the proposed changes (scroll below to see the Translated Correspondence document). Says Ricardo Workers at CECOSESOLA are asking their international partners to write and urge the Venezuelan government to revoke these changes to tax law. Here’s a copy of the letter signed by Olympia Food Co-op staff, which will be translated into Spanish and sent to government officials (scroll below).

Our thoughts and hearts are with our fellow members of the co-operative movement in Venezuela and elsewhere during these economically challenging times!

To read more about CECOSESOLA, and read letters sent by national and international partners, click here

Letter signed by staff of The Olympia Food Co-op

Re: Changes in Cooperative Law
Date: 12 March 2015

Dear representatives Jaua, Tariba, Castro, Cabello, Osorio, y Prato,

As a cooperative organization run by a staff collective of 84 members in Olympia, Washington, United States, we are writing to share our experience with CECOSESOLA, an integrated organization of Cooperatives in Lara State, Venezuela. Specifically, we would like to advocate that CECOSESOLA and other qualifying cooperatives be exempted from changes La Ley Organica Technologia e Innovacion, Las leyes del Impuesto Sobre La Renta y del Impuesto al Valor Agregado, which now place an undue tax burden upon cooperatives.

In 2012, the Olympia Food Co-op, a cooperative that aims to make good food accessible to more people by selling local and organic foods at affordable prices, was lucky enough to undergo an exchange of workers with CECOSESOLA. During this exchange, two of our staff members worked with CECOSESOLA for a month, while four compañeros from CECOSESOLA came to Olympia to work with our co-op and other community organizations for six weeks. What we experienced in our exchange with CECOSESOLA was an organization truly committed to cooperative practice, in which all workers bore equal responsibility for running the business and received equal compensation for their work. With their food stores, funeral parlor, hospital, and other projects in low-income areas of Barquisimeto, CECOSESOLA listens to members of the community to find out their needs, and then offers products and services to community members at prices they can afford, prices far below those set by capitalist businesses. CECOSESOLA also employs thousands of workers who work upwards of 60 hours each week to assure that the cooperative continues to provide needed services and goods in their own communities.

The Olympia Food Co-op is a non-profit cooperative that seeks worker empowerment, social justice, and economic equity in our community and throughout the world. As an organization in the United States, we have seen how unbridled capitalism and corporate power, often arising within our own country, has created suffering in our communities and around the globe. We wish to do business in a just, community-centered way, and we have been greatly inspired by our relationship with CECOSESOLA and their strong commitment both to the international cooperative movement, and to the health and well-being of people in their region. Members of CECOSESOLA have traveled Chiapas, Mexico, to Egypt, Germany, France, and the United States, among others, to help support communities in creating true cooperatives—means of production that empower workers while creating greater social and economic justice in their communities. CECOSESOLA regularly welcomes visitors from all over the world who wish to learn and share experiences, and who often leave committed to creating and supporting cooperative in their own countries. In short, CECOSESOLA is a world leader. It would be a great tragedy to see successful, thriving, true cooperatives like CECOSESOLA harmed or even run out of business due to the levying of new taxes they cannot afford.

During difficult economic times, cooperatives have the unique ability to offer solidarity pricing and to be responsible to their communities in ways many profit-driven businesses cannot or will not. We believe true cooperatives are more resilient during economic crises than many other businesses and hope you will continue to support cooperatives in practice and law.

In cooperation,
The Olympia Food Co-op Staff Collective

Translated Correspondence from CECOSESOLA

We are writing to inform you of the great harm that is being caused by a set of laws against cooperatives deeply committed to social change. As a consequence of these laws, far from receiving the protection from the National Government guaranteed by the Bolivarian Constitution (articles 118 & 308) the worker-run cooperatives that are revolutionizing economic practice have not only been abandoned, but treated worse than any traditional capitalist business. In Appendix 1 we’ve shared the experience of CECOSESOLA as an example of this type of cooperative.

We are sure that these measures have been taken, unaware of their grave consequences, since they will bring to an end processes of social transformation that have supported the creation of non-capitalist means of production.

How can we justify that capitalist businesses have priority over these cooperatives whose practices you find outlined in the objectives and priorities of the National Plan?

It is true that many cooperatives have deviated from practices outlined in the cooperative act. Some disregard the stipulation in the Special Law of Cooperative Associations that mandates that all workers be members, and that all profits be reinvested in the cooperative. These cooperatives function like capitalist businesses, using the cooperative guise to evade the Labor Law and benefit from the measures stipulated by the Bolivarian Constitution that obligates the State to support and promote cooperativism.

Perhaps due to the bad example set by these false cooperatives, and a lack of awareness, they have progressively eliminated the laws that, based in the Constitution, allowed the support of true cooperatives. In the Organic Law of Technological Sciences and Innovation (LOCTI) as well as the recent modifications made to the laws governing Income Tax (ISR) and the Added Value Tax (IVA), they treat all cooperatives as if they were capitalist businesses. On top of this, the Cooperative Law requires us to put aside a substantial amount of funds aimed at social ends. True cooperatives find ourselves at a disadvantage compared to capitalist companies and we see ourselves being forced to disappear.

Like we show in Appendix 2, based on the new laws, cooperatives must dedicate 37% of their Total Sales (Gross Revenue) to taxes and social funds, leaving only 63% for operational costs. Capitalist enterprises are only required to set aside 15.5%. A cooperative that conforms to the Cooperative Law, where all workers are members and all profits are reinvested in social programs, is obligated to divert more than double what a capitalist business is required.

In order to avoid bringing about the end of a cooperative movement committed to social transformation, we propose that the State look for a way in which cooperatives have, at least, the same economic conditions as capitalist businesses. This means exempting these cooperatives from paying the above-mentioned taxes. Of course, for this to happen, the National Superintendent of Cooperatives will need to testify that they comply with the required social stipulations outlined in Article 90 of the Special Law of Cooperative Associations.

We thank you in advance for any effort on your part that could help this situation.


ITEM Cooperative Capitalist Business
Gross Revenue 1,350,000 1,350,000
Gross Profit    184,000    184,000
Taxes on Gross Revenue:
Social Funds 1% (Art.54 LEAC)      13,500 0.00
LOCTI     (0.5%)        6,250        6,250
IVA *        8,500    *        8,500    *
Available after taxes

(Gross Profit – Taxes)

   155,750    169,250


Operational Expenses:      37,500      37,500
Salaries and Wages  0.00      92,000
Surplus and Profit    118,250      39,750
Worker-member payments   **      92,000 0.00
Net result      26,250      39,750
ISLR  (34% of Profit)      40,200      13,500
Social Fund 30% (Art. 54 LEAC) 0,00 0,00
Profit andLoss      -13,950      26,250

*This amount of IVA is an approximation.

**As required by the cooperative law all workers are members and don’t receive salaries or wages, but instead take advance payments from profits.

As a result: cooperatives must dedicate 37% of their Total Sales (Gross Revenue) to taxes and social funds, leaving only 63% for operational costs. Capitalist enterprises are only required to set aside 15.5%.

A cooperative that follows the Cooperative Law, where all workers are members and all profits are reinvested in social programs, is obligated to divert more than double what a capitalist business is required.

Garden Starts from Local Farmers

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As the garden supply areas for both Co-op stores begin to fill with all of the great spring offerings for local gardeners, it is important to recognize the folks who bring those wonderful organic starts of herbs and veggies to us.

Chris Robinson and Melissa Southwick have been supplying the Co-op with starts for over 10 years. Farmers for the past 30 years, they have been farming their fertile Spring Creek Farm near Rochester for the past 16 and offering their bounty at the Farmer’s Market for around 30 years. In the summer, gardening becomes a family affair when Chris’ two older daughters come home to help with the busy farming season.

Early in their work tilling the soil at Spring Creek Farm, Chris and Melissa decided that they wanted to grow plants that worked with the environment. Because lavender doesn’t have to be irrigated, and deer leave it alone, they decided to grow it on 3 acres of their open, at one time cattle pasture land. At that time they were growing and selling around 60 varieties of lavender and also making body and essential oils to sell. Now they farm about 1 1/2 acres filled with 5,000 lavender plants of about 30 varieties, plus 250 varieties of herbs and veggies. From this bounty, they sell bulk lavender, and fresh and dry cut bouquets at the Farmer’s Market, and to the Co-op they bring perennial and annual herb and veggie starts.

Although they are not certified, they work hard to grow organically. “All our materials are listed by the Organic Material Review Institute,” Chis told me. “We make our own soil out of the compost that comes from the Olympia curbside waste and gets composted in Silver Springs. It is certified organic through Washington State. We add other things, all from that list of organic materials, but that is the main ingredient.” He appreciates the fact that this creates a closed loop effect from household to compost to farm and back to household.

Chris pointed out that their watering system is basically sustainable. “We have 3 wells,” he said. “One is gravity-fed and the other two are pump wells.” I learned that during part of the year Chris and Melissa are able to water from the gravity-fed well, transferring to the other pump wells as the season turns dryer. He is proud of the fact that much of the watering on the farm is done off-the-grid.  “Watering the veggie starts is done by a solar pump set-up we have on one of the wells,” he proudly stresses. He also adds that they have been quite frugal. “We recycle as many pots as we can. I just recently bought 3,000 pots from a grower who is going out of business. We haven’t bought new one-gallon pots in 15 years,” he told me. It is obviously important to him to be running an operation that walks as lightly as possible on the earth, while at the same time producing good, healthy, products. “The emphasis of the farm,” he told me, “is to be as low-impact and sustainable as possible, while at the same time providing a quality product.”

So as you begin to prepare your garden for the coming growing season, know that you can find just about every wonderful organic start you are looking for at both Co-op stores, Eastside and Westside. Come and be greeted with a large variety of starts from Spring Creek Farm: herbs, peas, onions, leeks, lettuce, kale, spinach, beets, corn and beans. They are also expanding this year to offer blueberries, strawberries, hops and figs, so look for these too. And…Happy Gardening!


Produce Department News

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We’ve just barely entered March and yet it already feels like glorious spring! It’s hard to ignore that vibrant blue sky, the lovely golden sun, and those flower bulbs peeking up through the ground. With the milder weather, we may see some spring crops like radishes, arugula, and asparagus, come on earlier this year.

So far, however, we are much in the same place as usual for March– Northwest storage produce has mostly run out (though we’re still able to get a few NW potatoes, onions, leeks, roots, and apples), and the spring delights mentioned above have yet to begin. We have had a fantastic citrus season, and though it is beginning to wind down, we are still enjoying some wonderful standouts like Heirloom Navels, Murcott and Tango tangerines, and Oroblanco grapefruits.

While we wait for the Northwest produce season to begin, we can also enjoy the great deals we’ve been seeing on cruciferous crops such as Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Kales, Broccolini, and Romanesco. Looking forward to spring…!

By Erin, Produce Manager