Buying local has been a part of our Co-op since day one, back in 1977!
Over all these years, we are excited that our Local Buying Program has remained strong, with the ability to provide a great place for local produc1ers to share their products with our members. This program is one of the foundations to remain loyal to our mission statement. As well, when you purchase their products from us, you know they are getting a fair share of the sale, as we provide a very low markup.
The participants in our Buy Local Program fall under one or more of these definitions:
Grown or produced in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Pierce, or Grays Harbor counties
Grown or produced in Washington, Oregon, or British Columbia
Direct sales to the Co-op from the producer or farm with no middle distributor involved
Thank you for supporting the folks who work hard to produce food and products for our community, and for helping to make our Buy Local Program such a success!
The history of the development of our Local Farms Program is an interesting read. This innovative program was developed by our produce staff years ago, and continues to bring healthy food to our tables in a fair and unique way.
For more information, or to connect with the buyers, send an email here
40 Years of Co-op Local
In 2017 we celebrated 40 years, thanks to you, our community! Over all these years, we continue to chart the territory of collective management, becoming a model in the co-op world, and this is only possible with support from our beautiful community.
In celebration of our 40 years, we brought attention to our local programs – the ones that we rely on day after day to keep the stores stocked with the most incredible produce, and the folks who bring their time and talents to keep the stores humming…
Co-op Local is Fresh
One of our highlights is the Local Farms Program. Many years ago, the produce staff created an incredible way to work directly with the farmers that followed our mission statement, while filling our shelves with the fresh, high quality organic produce, grown as close as possible to the Co-op. Our chill department features many local vendors that supply us with delicious grab-n-go items, such as hummus, raw sandwiches, salsa, as well as many specialty chocolates. Milk? Eggs? Fresh and local, of course! The eastside salad bar is a great place to find a quick meal, with many options. Daily, there are two soup choices of meat or veggie, a large selection of innovative salads, and many veggies to mix your own blend of fixings. Everything is made on-site, with as much local and organic ingredients we can possibly find.
Co-op Local is Direct
We work directly with our local vendors, in all steps along the way, from first contact through providing a low margin (meaning they get most of the sale). In our bakery department, we open the shelves to local bakers, providing us with a beautiful and enticing array of local goods, hand-delivered, then arranged by our wonderful Olympia bakeries. In all our departments, we strive to fill our shelves with local vendors – look for the “buy local” stickers!
Co-op Local Builds Strong Community
Over our 40 years, with help from our vendors, customers and community, we are fortunate to have programs to encourage local buying, as well as getting healthy food to our members at lowest pricing possible to support folks in our community:
Local Farms Program
This is an innovative program where local farms work collaboratively with other farms and Co-op staff to determine crops for the year, creating cooperative community and livable wages.
Working Member Program
Daily, working members are ready to help you, with ringing up your selections, stocking the grocery and produce shelves, helping with opening and closing the stores, as well as developing policy by serving on the Board of Directors or various committees. Their work is core to a viable co-op model, providing us with foundational function such as connecting us directly with our community, providing opportunity for folks to acquire new job skills, and earn discounts.
Because we are a not-for-profit, focused on providing good food for folks, we charge very minimal to join, and do not require members to work in the stores. Free memberships are offered to seniors and members with a disability. We also have a unique membership to assist folks who are in economic need.
There is a 10% discount offered when members order products in large quantities – such as a case of beans comes in 12, or a bag of bulk goods of 25lbs. We also partner with a group of co-ops who purchase together, therefore becoming a large buying power with our main distributor. In this way, we are able to offer great bi-weekly sales periods and coupons. This group, National Co-op Grocers, also provide us with a special low-cost program, whereby they negotiate with main vendors, such as Equal Exchange, to bring down the price of one of their products, such that customers can have more readily access to healthy food at a lower price. These products are highlighted through the store as “Co-op Basics”, look for the purple.
For many years now, we have had much success in providing classes in gardening, food preparation, ecologically responsible living, and self-sufficiency. The cost is low, so they get filled up quick! You can find a full schedule of classes here.