Category Archives: Blog

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).