Friday, December 16, 2011

Lawsuit Update

For those of you keeping tabs on the lawsuit against 16 current and former OFC Board members, there are many new documents to take a look at. On the case page at the Center for Constitutional Rights, you can find:

All of the original lawsuit documents (including the lawsuit itself and the defendants' response/special motion to strike)

New documents, including: Plaintiffs' opposition to Defendants' motion (as well as supplemental declarations from Susan Trinin, Jeff Trinin, Linda Davis, Kent Davis, Susan Mayer, Tibor Breuer, Jon Haber, Nancy Koppelman, and Michael Lowsky)

Defendants' reply to opposition (as well as supplemental declarations from Grace Cox, John Nason, and Jayne Kaszynski)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Proposed Board Agenda for this Thursday Dec. 15

My apologies for the lateness of this posting! We generally try to get these posted a week in advance of the meeting.

Board meetings occur at our downtown office location (610 Columbia Ave SE) and are open to the membership.

Proposed Board Agenda for December 15, 2011 6:30-9:30 pm

Announcements 2 min
Mission Statement/Agenda Review 3 min
Commitments Review/Minutes Review 3 min
Member Comment 10 min
BPC Report 5 min
New Vice President selection 5 min
Committee Reports 20 min
Expansion Committee Direction Brainstorm 45 min
2012 Budget 20 min
Executive Session [Personnel/Hiring] 60 min
Meeting Eval/Commitments/Next facilitator 2 min

Total Meeting Time: 2 hours 55 mins

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Golden Glen Butter Recall

Yikes, another dairy recall! The Co-op has actually discontinued Golden Glen products, but we have been selling the last of these butters at our Westside location. We've pulled the remaining ones from our shelves; please check to see if you have any on hand, and return them for a refund!

The following info is from Food Safety News

Golden Glen Creamery of Bow, WA is voluntarily recalling butter produced on Nov. 2, 2011 because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

A surveillance sample of the butter collected and analyzed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture was found to be positive for Listeria monocytogenes, according to the recall announcement. The creamery says it has ceased production and distribution of the butter as it, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Washington State Department of Agriculture continue their investigation to determine what caused the problem.

No illnesses have been reported.

The butter was distributed between Nov. 7 and Nov. 28 and is in circulation to date.

The recalled butter is in 4 oz. plastic round containers with tamper-evident seals. The labels read in part: "Herbes de Provence Butter" or "Northwest Mushroom Trio Butter," along with "GOLDEN GLEN CREAMERY"and "Natural handcrafted cheese produced by the Jensen ladies." The top label has the three-digit code 767.

Consumers are urged to destroy the butter or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information contact Golden Glen Creamery at 360-766-6455 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST Monday through Friday, or by email at

Earlier this month, Golden Glen Creamery recalled about 20 pounds of cheddar cheese distributed in Washington state after a surveillance sample tested positive for Listeria.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The dirt on composting plastic bags!

This is re-posted from Thad Curtz's OlyBlog post! Biobags, of course, are available at the Co-op.

The City's citizen Utility Advisory Committee got an update on various recycling issues from staff at our monthly meeting yesterday. Thanks at least in part to some steady negotiating by our Public Works staff, the company that composts the yard waste and organics from our big green bins has decided that it can deal with several additional brands of compostable bags.

(Unfortunately, lots of the plastic items that are advertised as "compostable" don't actually break down in the particular fast hot processes that commercial facilities use. Silver Springs goes from dumping to finished compost in 30 days. (They have some photos here. If scraps of plastic are left, they're completely sterile, but customers apparently hate how they look, so it's a big problem for the companies.)

You can now use:

1. All sizes of 1.0 and 1.2 mil Heritage Bio-Tuf bags
2. All sizes of EcoSafe bags (S011)
3. All sizes of BIOBAGS
4. All sizes of GLAD Compostable bags (78162, 78163)

(I'm relieved, because I really like using one of these as a liner in the plastic tub for kitchen scraps that the City hands out. You can just pull the bag out and throw it in the green bin when it gets full, and it makes keeping the tub clean a lot easier.) The Coop and Bayview both stopped stocking the ones I was using, because they had trouble getting them, so I hope this change will mean it's easy to buy some brand that works locally again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Toy Run closes West-bound Pacific Ave this Saturday 1-3!

Planning on shopping at the Eastside Co-op this weekend? You may want to plan around the 34th Annual Toy Run, which will be closing west-bound Pacific Ave on Saturday afternoon.

West-bound Pacific Ave will begin being closed down shortly before 1pm to accommodate the 17,000+ motorcyclists who ride to "provide toys for needy kids." It can take two hours for the parade of festive motorcycles to pass through, so don't plan on crossing town until after 3pm unless you want to stop and watch.

Find more details about the Toy Run, including the full route, at their website!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cozy Vale Milk Recall

Cozy Vale Creamery has voluntarily issued a recall of whole and skim milk, and cream, with a pull date of Dec. 6 or earlier. You can return any of these products to the Co-op for a refund or exchange.

Cozy Vale issued the recall after a test found E. coli bacteria on the floor of their milking and/or processing facilities. E. coli was NOT found on the cows, processing equipment, or in their milk. WSDA collects multiple monthly and surveillance samples at Cozy Vale (as they do at all raw creameries), and has not previously found contaminated samples. The creamery has shut down in order to thoroughly clean and sanitize the whole facility.

Three illnesses have been reported in Cozy milk customers since August. However, it is not confirmed that their sickness was caused by Cozy Valley's milk products.

E. coli infections may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloody stools. Symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to appear. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact a health care provider, the dairy advised.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 360-264-4663.

To read more about raw milk regulation in Washington, check out WSDA's information page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Late night ballot counting!

Ballot counters hard at work at the Co-op office!

One member's envelope provoked delighted laughter with its combination of creative recycling and re-messaging!

Board Election Results!

After a late night of verifying and counting ballots, we are happy to welcome our three new Board members Cezanne Murphy-Levesque, Joshua Simpson and Joseph Webster. We also welcome back returning Board member Rob Richards for his second term.

We received 434 valid ballots, plus 47 that were unable to be counted due to inactive or unverifiable membership status. All votes were verified by two separate counts.

The final count was:

Cezanne Murphy-Levesque 275
Joshua Simpson 274
Rob Richards 256
Joseph Webster 241

Allyson Ruppenthal 232
Keith Dublanica 172

Many thanks to our group of late-night ballot counters! Volunteer Jackie Krzyzek verified piles of ballots, while Fern Moore, Jason Baghboudarian, and volunteers Laura and Jaime Kaszynski counted votes. Aurora Kaszynski-McGinnis (age "almost 8") provided levity, artwork, and helped us eat pizza.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Find GMO-free products with a simple search!

The Non-GMO project maintains a database of companies and products in their Non-GMO Product Verification Program. Click here to search for your favorite products and brands!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Annual Membership Meeting!

Join us for the Annual Membership Meeting!

Discuss current events and hear updates from the Co-op committees.

Meet your fellow members: staff members, volunteer working members, and the member-candidates for the Board of Directors.

All of this, of course, while sharing the gifts of our community, good wholesome food.

See you there!

Sunday, November 6th, 12:30 - 3:00pm

Washington Center for the Performing Arts
Stage 2 -- Black Box Theater
512 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98501

Response to lawsuit against Co-op Board members

Yesterday, lawyers for the sixteen current and former Co-op Board members (including three staff members) named in the lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Israeli product boycott decision filed a motion to strike the lawsuit.

Read a full copy of our joint press release with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

You can view the original lawsuit and the motion to strike as well as other information on CCR's case page.

To comment on the boycott or the lawsuit, please contact the Board of Directors at 357-1106 x13 or email ofcboard -at-

If you are a member of the press, please email publicrelations -at-

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ban plastic grocery bags in Olympia!

At the last meeting, the Co-op's Board of Directors joined Environment Washington's "Ban the Bag" campaign!

There's a lot happening in Olympia as they ramp up to ask our City Council to ban plastic grocery bags in town. Check it out, and contact Environment Washington to help get it passed!
From our friends at Environment Washington:

- We have 2 letters to the editor that have been printed in 2 different newspapers (here and here), one of which is in the Olympian. Check them out!

- We have generated more than 1,000 petitions state-wide from people who support a ban on plastic bags. Almost 200 of those are from Olympia!

- We have gotten over 50 Olympia businesses to sign letters endorsing the ban bag campaign – about half of these businesses also said they would put a sign up in their windows that says “ban plastic grocery bags”.

This is just the beginning. We will be working hard in the next couple of weeks to keep building momentum.

You can send a message or sign up for email alerts at their website!

Monday, September 12, 2011

This week's Board agenda!

Proposed Board Agenda for September 15, 2011 6:30-9:30 pm

Announcements 2 min
Mission Statement /Agenda Review 3 min
Commitments Review / Minutes Review 3 min
Member Comment 15 min
BPC Report 5 min
Accountability Team Update 5 min
WashPIRG/Plastic Bag Petition 10 min
Committee Reports 20 min
Executive Session [Expansion; Legal; Personnel] 1.75 hour
Meeting Eval/ Commitments/ Next facilitator 2 min

Total Meeting Time: 2 hours 50 mins

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Decide the future of the Co-op!

Join the "Co-op Conversation"!

The Co-op Conversation is a board-initiated effort to ask members about the future of the Co-op. Read the excerpt from the vision statement below, and stay tuned for more information! You'll have opportunities to join meetings, take surveys, and work with other Co-op members to decide the direction of the Co-op.

From the Co-op Conversation Vision Statement:

The Olympia Food Co-op has grown and evolved to meet the needs of our membership, yet it’s been many years since our organization came together to decide upon our collective future. During this time our community and our world have changed in many ways. We face a weakening economy, rising inequality, and unprecedented ecological crises. The Co-op is also confronting challenges, such as the changing market, expanding customer demographics, and the cost of maintaining an equitable labor system. How can we respond to this climate as a collectively-run, consensus-based not-for-profit business, and what can our organization do to make the world and our community a better place for the next generation? As the Co-op expands to better serve our community, it is time to check in with the membership, staff, and the board to understand where best to put our energy and focus, and to build mechanisms for increased communication organization-wide, in order to foster unity and strength as a food co-op.

To achieve the goals of this engagement process, we will conduct extensive outreach to all segments of our membership, and prioritize engaging as many members as possible in an inclusive operation that seeks to bring many voices to the table. Then, with the guidance of a skilled facilitator, a series of discussions will be held, and other activities will be employed, to draw out our commonalities and expand upon our assets. Working with the Member Relations Committee, the board and staff, the facilitator will issue a report of findings and recommendations for our organization to use as a roadmap of priorities, and an indicator of our collective position. In coming together, we also seek to develop, in concert, methods that make sense for us as a group to allow communication to flourish, so that the organization can adequately respond to emerging needs and opportunities in an uncertain future.

This process will be a success with the enthusiastic participation of as many members, staff, and board as possible. The Co-op Conversation is an extraordinary opportunity for the Co-op to connect and create solutions for our community. The outcome will be an organization re-energized and clearly focused, with responsive and sustainable communication mechanisms, and a deeper understanding of how to move forward with our mission in a changing environment.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How sustainable are your eggs? The Cornucopia Institute's "Egg Scorecard" can let you know!

The Cornucopia Institute's Organic Egg Scorecard includes everything from how much space the chickens have to what the farmer does with his manure to the ownership structure of the company in their "1-5 egg" rating! Not every egg producer is accounted for, but producers from across the country have taken part.

You can see ratings for all of the egg producers or read about Yelm's Steibrs Farm "3 egg" rating.

If the Egg Lady was part of this, I bet she'd get a "5 egg" score!

Update: They do a dairy report, too!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Update to Branding RFP!

Answers to few typical questions about our Brand Design RFP (request for proposals):

Yes, we are willing work with designers who do not live nearby.

Examples of possible templates we might ask for include: a simple events flyer for in-store events or informational shelf tags for products.

We expect proposals to include (at minimum):
• a letter of intent/strategy;
• a proposed budget and timeline;
• information about the individual/company, including a resume and samples of similar work.

Do you have other questions? Send them to Jayne at!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you a rockin' graphic designer?

Check it out! We're looking for proposals from qualified graphic/brand designers to design the Co-op's new "look"!

Request for Proposals

Olympia Food Co-op Brand Design

August 11, 2011

The Request

The Olympia Food Co-op, a member based, collectively managed, not-for-profit, natural food grocer located in Olympia, WA is seeking the services of one or more qualified professionals to design a new look and feel for our external and internal marketing materials. Specifically, we are looking for a new or updated logo, font(s) and a coordinated color palette as well as a small selection of sample templates. Additional web and/or graphic design work may be available for the right person/company in 2012. We prefer individuals or companies with both graphic design skills and an understanding of brand management concepts. Previous work with co-operatives or within the natural grocery sector is ideal but not required.


The Olympia Food Co-op has been in business for over 30 years. We specialize in local, organic, and environmentally-friendly foods and household products, with an emphasis on affordability and social justice. The organization has grown from a volunteer-run buying club that operated out of a garage to two stores which now employ over 75 staff. The staff collectively manages the stores using a non-hierarchical consensus based process. The co-op has over 22,000 active members, some of whom volunteer in the stores.

Our marketing strategies and materials have not kept pace with our growth. Over time, multiple people have created different marketing materials (website, newsletter, flyers, store signage, etc.) without a common theme, leading to a disjointed brand identity. In 2010 we committed to a brand review and creation process which will culminate in creation of a new look and feel for our communications and stores, to be implemented in 2012.

Our work to this point has included: auditing our current brand identity; auditing the brands of competitors as well as fellow co-ops; assessing our current positioning and future positioning opportunities; engaging staff and members in a branding survey; and creating a design brief. At this point, we are ready to share this information with a design partner to bring our brand personality alive with shape and color!

The Process

As a member-based, collectively-managed cooperative, we are committed to engaging members and staff in the brand creation process. Our current logo has been in use since the early 1980s and although many members agree that it has drawbacks, it also has a long history within our community.

The designer will work closely with members of the Outreach and Education Committee to create mock-ups of three possible logos and color combinations. These three choices will be presented to Board, staff and members, both online and at staff and community meetings. After feedback has been received from stakeholders, the designer will complete work on the final choice. We expect the stakeholder engagement part of this process to require roughly three weeks. Although the designer is not required to be present at community meetings, we would welcome their participation.

Our goal is to complete the design process by the end of 2011 and begin implementation in 2012.

Proposal Timeline and Selection Process

The deadline for proposals is September 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm. Applicants may be contacted for a follow-up interview. The successful applicant will be notified no later than September 15th.

Please keep in mind when designing your proposal that we are a not-for-profit organization.

Interested applicants should submit their proposal via e-mail to

For additional information or questions, contact Jayne by email or at 360-357-1106, extension 11.

Join OFC's Board of Directors! Applications due Sept. 10th.

Applications are out and ready to go. Apply yourself, or forward this to your friends!




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 Mission Statement For the Organization from Section I.2. of The Bylaws:
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
13. BOARD DUTIES 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 volunteer working member credit for their time spent in Board and committee meetings. The monthly hour commitment ranges between 5 and 15 hours.

The Board meets once a month and committees may also meet once a 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, Personnel, Outreach and Education, Newsletter, Ecological Planning, Hiring, Local Farm, and Member Relations. Temporary committees may be formed to deal with specific short-term projects.

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 2-year commitment. Board members are elected for two-year terms and may serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms. This year the Board has four positions to fill. The newly elected Board members will receive an in-depth training on consensus decision-making, anti-oppression, the Co-op’s finances, policies and general procedures, and a history of the organization.

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 the current Board members, and they 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.

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

For more information contact Fern at


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. NAME:

2. Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?

3. What general abilities would you bring to the Board? What specific abilities and experiences would you offer to help provide direction in dealing with the Co-op’s challenges?

4. What do you see as current strengths of the Co-op that you would like to see maintained? What would you like to see changed?

5. What vision do you have for the Co-op for the next five years?

6. Other comments

*Applications will only be accepted by email at, unless a reasonable accommodation is needed and requested.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Court cases help organic farmers fight pesticide & GMO contamination!

For years organic farmers have been on the losing sides of battles with GMO producers who sue the farmers when their "proprietary" seed floats from nearby farms onto the organic farms. Organic farmers whose crops were contaminated have lost organic certification for their fields AND had to pay the GMO companies for the favor.

But the tide may be turning with two new cases in which organic farmers have sued - and won - suits against nearby conventional farms who have contaminated their fields. The courts are considering it "illegal trespassing" and have ordered the pesticide-sprayers to pay restitution.

Natural News has a great overview of the cases and what it may mean for the future of organic farmers. Support organic!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Co-op Shopping Guide by OFC member!

Check it out! OFC member and Westside shopper Heather wrote up a fantastic shopping guide on for new Co-op shoppers everywhere, complete with pics of our lovely store! Good tips for frugal shopping, and we love the shout-out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Interrupting Racsim

The Co-op presents a hands-on workshop:

Interrupting Anti-Semitism & Anti-Arab Racism.

Sunday June 26th, from 2-5pm, at the Governor Hotel.

Please note that there is limited space for Co-op members; please bring your current membership card. Attendees will be seated on a first-come basis.


About the Facilitators:

Selma Al-Aswad Dillsi
is a Palestinian American activist and social worker who uses radical activism as a means of challenging systems. Selma is passionate about using media as a tool to educate and transform and has a particular interest in the intersections of race, queerness, and popular culture. Selma is active in Palestine solidarity campaigns locally and abroad and sees anti-racist organizing as central to the work that she does and pivotal to breaking down borders and binaries of all kinds. Selma currently resides in Seattle, WA.

Socket Klatzker
is a conflict mediator and group process facilitator for radical collectives. She is currently earn- ing her Masters in Counseling at Saint Martin’s University. Socket is a trained anti-oppression organizer who adores hands-on and expressive techniques for working towards personal and collective liberation. She is a self-loving, practicing Jew and a Palestine solidarity activist who believes in justice, dignity, and healing for all.  Socket is a fierce, sweet, white, queer, disabled, Ashkenazi, American Jew. She currently lives in Olympia, WA.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Trike Giveaway

The Co-op is teaming up with United Natural Foods Inc. to provide this Tricycle Raffle.  One adult-sized Trike will be given away in each store.  No Purchase Necessary -- just fill out a raffle ticket (one per person please) by May 31st to enter.  The drawing will be held on June 1st.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Match the Board's $5000 to Duwamish Legal Defense Fund

Back in November of last year the Co-op began raising funds for the Duwamish Tribe, First People of the Seattle area.  They are currently in the process of defending their Federal recognition as a Tribe.

They need $100,000 for legal fees, the details of which are on their website.  The Co-op Board has donated $5000; and the general membership has donated $2161 so far by Rounding Up their purchases at the register.

The Co-op will end its fundraising for the Duwamish Tribe on April 30th.  Let's see if we can match or exceed the Board's donation before then!

"If everybody in Seattle would give us one dollar, we could raise the money for our legal defense"  -- Cecile Hansen, Chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Visit the OFC Arts Walk space downtown! (#82)

Come mingle with other Co-op members while savoring organic snacks and perusing art!

Five Co-op members (2 members at large and 3 staff members) will show their art this Friday and Saturday at the Co-op's downtown meeting space.

You can cuddle Christine's ferociously cute stuffed creatures, try on Erin's felt flower pins, peer into Mian's detailed mixed media works, contemplate Kaia's photography, and linger over Jasmine's charcoal drawings.

Our office art space will be open from 5-10pm on Friday night and 12-7 on Saturday. Stop by and say hello!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Proposed Board Agenda for April 21st 6:30-9:30pm

Co-op Board meetings are open to the public and take place at 610 Columbia St SE (across the street from Olympia Supply) on the third Thursday of each month. To request an addition to this agenda or a future agenda, email Your email should describe the issue that you wish to discuss, why you think it's something the board should consider, and actions you would like the Board to take. Include any additional resources such as links or attachments to your email.

Proposed April 21 Board Agenda

Announcements 2 min
Mission Statement /Agenda Review 3 min
Commitments Review / Minutes Review 3 min
Member Comment 10 min
Accountability Team Update 5 min
BPC Report & overview of structure proposal 30 min
Sensible Washington Endorsement Request 10 min
Boycott Subcommittee Update/Revisit Board Participation 20 min
Boycott Email Response 15 min
Report back from John R/Venezuela 10 min
BOD planning/retreat continuation 20 min
Committee Reports 15 min
Consent via email proposal 10 min
Expansion (Executive Session) 20 min
Meeting Eval/ Commitments/ Next facilitator 2 min

Total Meeting Time: 2 hours 55 min

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Get involved with the Co-op: Join the Member Relations Committee!

Olympia Food Co-op Member Relations Committee
Member-at-Large Application

Name: ______________________________
Phone: ______________________________
E-mail: ______________________________

Purpose: To facilitate communication between the membership and the organization.

Committee Members:

• 1-2 Board Members
• 1-2 Members-at-Large (one vacancy)
• 1-2 Staff Members


1. Describe any experience you have working in groups, especially involving facilitating the communication between an organization and its community. (Including your resume would be appreciated but not required.)

2. Why would you like to be part of the Member Relations Committee?

3. This committee typically meets once a month for an hour and a half. Other commitments include communicating via email and working on projects for an average commitment of 3 hours, or more as needed, per month. Are you able to make this volunteer commitment? (Note: You will earn volunteer credit or discount on purchases at the Co-op for hours spent on the committee.)

Submit by email at or or by mail with attention to either Heather or Keziah at OFC-Eastside, 3111 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia, WA 98501, or drop off at either east or west store locations at the Customer Service station. Deadline for submission is April 30, 2011.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are you the professional facilitator we're looking for?

Request for Proposals

Member and Staff Engagement Process

The Request
The Olympia Food Co-Op, a member based, collectively managed, natural food grocer located in Olympia, WA is seeking the services of one or more qualified professionals to co-design and facilitate a process to engage our members and staff in a conversation about values, priorities, challenges and opportunities to increase our presence and impact in the community.

The Olympia Food Co-op has been in business for over 30 years. The organization has grown from one to two stores which now employ over 75 staff and last year sold over $13 million in products. The staff collectively manages the stores using a non-hierarchical consensus based process. The co-op has over 17,000 active members who have paid capital fees and dues to the organization. Many of these members also volunteer for the organization in exchange for discounts on their purchases.

As a member based business it is important to ensure that the business operates in ways that are consistent with our member’s values and priorities. The co-op has a clear values based mission statement that was developed with member input in the mid 1990’s.

As we look to the future we are seeking clarity about where to put the organization’s energy and focus. With this in mind, the time has come to convene a conversation with our members, staff and community that can set the stage for the success of the business for the next generation.

Engaging staff and members in this conversation is one of the top priorities identified by the Board of Directors for 2011.

The Process
While the specific process used to structure the conversation will be co-designed between the successful applicant and the board’s Member Relations Committee, we would expect the process to include at least the following components:

1) General meetings using open space technology or World Café type formats. The meetings are intended to bring together a broad cross section of the co-op community to generate ideas and build a shared vision for the co-op.
2) Structured focus groups or small work groups that would build from the ideas generated at the general meetings and begin to shape proposals and recommendations.
3) A final report to the board summarizing the process, information gathered and recommendations. The report will be used by the board to develop a positioning statement for the organization.

The successful applicant will work closely with the co-op’s Member Relations Committee to design an inclusive approach that ensures a wide cross-section of the co-op community participates in the engagement process.

The project will be completed by November 15, 2011.

Proposal Timeline and Selection Process

The deadline for proposals is April 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm. Applicants may be contacted for a follow-up interview. The successful applicant will be notified by May 15, 2011.

Interested applicants should submit their proposal via e-mail to or

For additional information or questions, contact Jayne at 360-357-1106, extension.11.

Friday, March 18, 2011

UPDATED: Info from Dr. Robin Moore re: Prevention Measures for Radiation Exposure

Dr. Moore re-wrote and updated her her information that she posted last week (and that we blogged previously). Read on for the newest version, or read it at Olympia Natural Medicine.

Prevention Measures for Radiation Exposure

-First of all, don’t panic. We have not received any radiation from Japan’s damaged nuclear power plants and, in the event that we do, it will be low levels, not high. We would have to be close to the reactor to get high levels. Very trustworthy data has shown us that it is impossible to get a high level of exposure this far away.

-We will have plenty of warning that the low level of radiation is coming because our navy’s ships will detect it at sea.

-Also, there is no shortage of supply of potassium iodide from pharmacies and they can make it up quickly, so don’t worry if the health food stores run out. And remember…it is very unlikely that you will need the potassium iodide anyway.

-Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to start any treatment now. Starting ahead of time has no value and may even be less effective than starting at the start of exposure.

In response to the recent damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, I have written this hand-out to review methods to decrease health problems from low dose radiation exposure. Thus far the levels of radioactive material released are not high enough to have international effects. However, in case a meltdown disaster does occur and low levels are reported as heading our way, you will have information to help minimize the effects on your health. How long to do this treatment is discussed later, but do not take it for more than a month without reviewing with your physician if it is safe for you. Also, if you take any prescription medications, interactions with these supplements must first be checked.

Iodine: Radioactive iodine is released from power plant meltdowns. It then is absorbed into your thyroid gland because your thyroid uses iodine to function. The radiation increases your chances of developing thyroid cancer and various thyroid growths years later. (Other glands also use iodine such as your adrenals, but to a much lesser degree.) For high levels of exposure people are told to take iodine which will prevent the radioactive version of iodine from attaching to your thyroid gland.

The official advice for the dose of iodine to take for low level exposure is none because low levels of radiation do not appear to cause thyroid cancer. However, if you still choose to take it, I do not recommend the very high dose of 130mg per day which is the government health agencies dose for acute, high level exposure. Also, please note that the RDA dose of 150mcg is not intended to saturate your thyroid so I am recommending 1,000mcg/day for low level exposure. If and when you may need or choose this, it can be purchased at a compounding pharmacy with a prescription from your physician. Each physician, myself included, will prescribe for only their patients. (Remember that the health department will take care of everyone if we really did have a high level of exposure.)Do not take iodine if you are allergic to it or have hyperthyroid. (not the more common hypothyroid, which is ok)

Anti-oxidants: Most of the damage from radiation is from oxidative damage which can lead to cancers, tumors, and dysfunction of the affected organ. Therefore, the best preventive measure is to increase anti-oxidants or “free radical scavengers”. Fortunately, there are many strong anti-oxidants available to you via both food and supplements. Those mentioned here are just a few examples of good anti-oxidants. Many of you will know of other examples. You do not need to take all of the following supplements. Pick half of them until the radiation exposure has cleared.

1. Beta carotene- 25,000 IU/day.

2. Vitamin C- 1,000mg 2 x day.(If diarrhea, decrease dose to 500 2xday)

3. Vitamin E-1,000 IU /day.

4. B-complex- such as is in a multiple. Aim for about 10mg 2 x day with food. (Brewer’s yeast ½ oz 2xday) B-vitamins are not anti-oxidants, but they help the other nutrients do their jobs.

5. Selenium- 400mcg per day.

6. Glutathione-1,000mg 2 x day preferably away from meals ie ½ hr before or 1 ½ hr after meals. (It’s ok, but less effective with meals.)

7. Cysteine- 500mg 2 x day.

8. Ginseng (either the Siberian or American type)-one capsule (1/4tsp)

2 x day. Higher doses may be too stimulating for some people.

9. Berries of dark color are also good anti-oxidants.

Doses for children: The doses given above are for adults. None of the items are contraindicated for children, especially when taken for a limited time. Decrease the dose according to their weight. Calculate what % of

120 lbs your child’s weight is and use that % of the above doses. For example, if your child weighs close to 60 lb, this is 50% of 120 so use 50% of the doses.

When to start and stop this treatment: Start as soon as we hear that radioactivity is clearly heading our way. If this happens, the radiation will not reach us for a day or two (watch the news) so you will have time to start.

Continue taking the supplements until we hear that the radiation exposure has diminished to a safe level. Remember that the anti-oxidant mentioned above will likely be all you need.

Do not take any of the above supplements if you are allergic to them or anything related to them. Read the labels for any of your allergens, if you have any. In particular, iodine can be allergenic so do not take it if you have reacted to iodine dyes or other sources of iodine. You would usually already know if you have an iodine allergy. As already mentioned, if you have an overactive thyroid, do not take iodine.

Robin E Moore ND 3-12-11

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why the Pacific Coast is not currently at risk from radiation...

We at the Co-op having been hearing a lot of concern about radiation these days. Requests for iodine keep rolling in (fyi, we have an order in for Thursday delivery) and seaweed has never been so popular.

Being prepared is always good, but so far we're not at risk for high radiation levels here on the west coast.

Cliff Mass is a climatologist at UW who has written the book on PNW weather (literally) and his blog - for those of us nerdy enough to follow such things - is the best place to get detailed, yet utterly readable, information about our weather.

Cliff says we're not in any danger of radiation problems right now, based on the weather (among other things). You can read his post on why this is the case here.

You can also read the Washington State Department of Health's online FAQ about the Japanese nuclear power plants and radiation here on the west coast. The department of health monitors radiation levels throughout the year at four spots in Washington state, and if higher than usual levels are detected, this is where you would read about it.

Lastly, if you're the kind of person who thrives on up-to-the-minute, straight-from-the-source news, check out NHK World News. NHK is a Japanese news agency with an English language version that they stream online.

Co-op Branding Survey!

To take the Co-op's branding survey just click here!

Then pass the link on to your friends, family and colleagues who shop at the Co-op. Here's the link:

Not sure what all this "Branding" stuff is about? Read the article from our most recent newsletter, below!

What color is the Co-op?

By Jayne Kaszynski (staff member)

Five of us leaned over the table in the tiny back office, looking at a jumble of class flyers, annual statements, volunteer requests and local Co-op advertisements. We threw out words: “chaos” and “random” came immediately to mind, but so did “home-grown”, “organic”, “bright” and “community”.

As members of the Education and Outreach Committee (generally referred to simply as “Outreach”), we were taking one of the first steps in developing a recognizable “brand” for the Olympia Food Co-op: a brand audit. We gathered as much external Co-op communication materials as we could find and then sat down to interpret what it all said about us. Who is the Co-op? What are we like? What do we stand for? Each of us could answer these questions – we’re all familiar with the mission statement – but did it come across in our communications? The answer was, well, sometimes. But the rest of the time… well, let’s just say that it wasn’t pretty.

Say the word ‘branding’ and many of us feel an apprehensive shiver. Green washing campaigns by big oil companies come to mind, or soda manufacturers pushing high fructose corn syrup as energy drinks. We think of products designed to break, and the constant push to own the new “must-have” item; in other words, the entire consumption process that harms our community’s and the planet’s health.

Shake that shiver out, my friend! The Co-op is not planning to go that way. What we’re embarking on is a community process to determine what the Olympia Food Co-op is all about, and how to translate that into colors, fonts, and pictures. The end result will be a better website, clear and readable signs in the stores, and hopefully flyers and newsletters that make you think, “Ahh! That’s my Co-op!”

Our goal is to create a “brand identity” that’s authentic, that reflects what we are really trying to do. It could be funky, colorful, earthy, bright, clean – whatever we decide it should be. It could look like other Co-ops or be completely new. It’s up to us.

The Outreach Committee (which includes several staff members, a representative from the Board of Directors, and a member at large) has begun laying some of the branding process groundwork, and we want to invite your help. In mid-February, we’ll have an online survey available for you to take, and in March we’ll gather small discussion groups to talk about the results in more detail. Later on in the year, you can expect community meetings to discuss different color and font options and eventually, a get-together to celebrate the new “look” and all of the work we’ve done.

To keep up on the process, keep an eye on the Co-op Blog ( or “like” us on Facebook. If you have questions, comments, or would like to volunteer special expertise, contact Jayne at

Prevention Measures for Radiation Exposure

Please see Dr. Moore's updated information on prevention measures for radiation exposures on our blog or at Olympia Natural Medicine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winter Produce Drive: Both Stores Sat March 12th from Noon-3pm

Please support Thurston County Food Bank

Produce donations to the Food Bank drop dramatically in the Winter months, yet the need is as great as ever.  Food Bank volunteers will be available to accept donations at both stores.  Purchase and donate some produce at the Co-op and make a big difference for hundreds of households in the community!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Proposed Board Agenda for March 17, 2011

Olympia Food Co-op Board meetings run from 6:30-9:30 pm and take place at the Co-op's office at 610 Columbia st (downtown, across from Olympia Supply.) You can contact the Board at to suggest changes to the agenda.

Announcements (2 min)
Mission Statement /Agenda Review (3 min)
Commitments Review / Minutes Review (3 min)
Member Comment (10 min)
Accountability Team Update (15 min)
Boycott Subcommittee Update (10 min)
Meeting Notes Consent via Email (10 min)
BOD planning/retreat continuation (30 min)
BPC Report (10 min)
Committee Reports (10 min)
Expansion (Executive Session) (40 min)
Meeting Eval/ Commitments/ Next facilitator (2 min)

Total Meeting Time: 2 hour 25 min

Facilitator: Ron Lavigne

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Working Member Appreciation Party!

In support and appreciation of our volunteer working members, we're holding a great party on Saturday March 5th:

Where:   Capitol Theater downtown
            10:30         Film The Future of Food
            12:15         Discussion and Organic Food Lunch
            1:30-2:15   Tallhouse Consortium Acrobats
            2:30-4:00    Music by Erev Rav

Whew!  That's one great day of partying!  Free to all Working Members +1 -- each working member is invited to bring a guest.

So please come on by the Capitol Theater and enjoy a great day with us!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Boycott Policy Sub-Committee

The Boycott Policy Sub-Committee is the group that will re-write the Co-op's boycott policy for future boycotts. After a period of reviewing and choosing members, and then trying to find where everyone's schedules intersect, they've just begun to meet. The members of this committee are listed below.

Boycott Policy Subcommittee Members:

General Membership:
Muhammad Ayub
Anne Fischel
David Scherer
Michi Thacker

Summer Bock
Polly Hawver
Michael Lowsky

Ron Lavigne
Rob Richards

Proposed Board Agenda Feb. 17th

Proposed Board Agenda for February 17, 2011 6:30-9:30 pm
at the Co-op office - 610 Columbia St SE (across from Olympia Supply)

Announcements 2 min
Mission Statement /Agenda Review 3 min
Commitments Review / Minutes Review 3 min
Member Comment 10 min
Accountability Team update 15 min
Boycott Subcommittee Update 10 min
Tulip Credit Union 20 min
‘Queen of the Bees’ request 10 min
Board Retreat Check In and Next Steps 20 min
BPC Report 10 min
Committee Reports 10 min
Expansion (Executive Session) 40 min
Meeting Eval/ Commitments/ Next facilitator 2 min

Total Meeting Time: 2 hours 35 min

Next Facilitator: John Nason

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

UPDATE: Board approves new language on "what will end the boycott" of Israeli-made products

**Note: This is the same boycott wording that was posted to this blog several weeks ago. A member asked us to revise some language in the introduction that they considered misleading, and we did so. Otherwise, this is the same.**

One point of confusion and disagreement in the recent boycott of Israeli-made products has been the question of “What will end the boycott?” The original language that the Board of Directors consented to was broad, and ambiguous enough to lend itself to a variety of interpretations - many of which were far from what the Board intended when they originally consented to the proposal.

After many long, late-night meetings, and frequent communication with members of differing viewpoints, the Olympia Food Co-op Board consented (with two stand asides) to a new definition of “what will end the boycott.”

Below is the rewritten version of the last section of the Co-op’s original boycott statement. The first part gives an overview of the Palestinian Civil Society’s conditions for ending the boycott (the original language), and the second part outlines the actions that will end the Olympia Food Co-op’s participation in the boycott (the new language.)

What will end the boycott.

The Palestinian Civil Society call for Boycott, Divest and Sanction of Israel outlines the following conditions for ending the boycott.

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

The Olympia Food Co-op's participation in the boycott will end when the following conditions are met:

1A. Israel ends its occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. These lands have been identified as occupied by organizations and agencies as diverse as the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. State Department, the International Court of Justice, International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

1B. Israel dismantles the Wall in accordance with the 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice.

2. Israel recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.

3. Israel agrees to a plan to allow Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours” to do so, or to receive just compensation for their losses.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Proposed January 20th Board Agenda

Board meeting are held at 610 Columbia ST, across the street from Olympia Supply Co.
Please contact for more information.

Proposed Board Agenda for January 20, 2011 6:30-9:30 pm


Announcements 2 min
Mission Statement /Agenda Review 3 min
Commitments Review / Minutes Review 3 min
Member Comment 10 min
Boycott Subcommittee Update 10 min
Sulah Peace Project (Staff: Jim Shulruff) 30 min
Strategic Planning/ Board Retreat Planning 20 min
Board Schedule 10 min
BPC Report 10 min
Anti Oppression Training Update 15 min
Committee Reports 10 min
Restorative Circle commitment plan 15 min
Accountability Team Update (Executive Session) 20 min
Expansion (Executive Session) 20 min
Meeting Eval/ Commitments/ Next facilitator 2 min

Total Meeting Time: 3 hours

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Golden Glen Creamery

Golden Glen Creamery makes the switch away from their delicious glass-bottled milk and cream to focus exclusively on their delicious cheese and butters.

From their letter:

"We would first like to thank you for your commitment to buying and selling our products over the last several years.  We have enjoyed delivering to your stores and working with your staff."

"We had hoped to continue delivering glass-bottled cream topped milk for many years to come; however after carefully examining the cost of production and distribution, we have found that it is impossible to continue while maintaining a reasonable price structure."

"We would like to take this opportunity to recommend two farms whose philosophies and product quality is comparable to ours: Straus Family Creamery out of California (for glass-bottled milk), and Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy out of Lynden, WA (for organic, small family farm milk in plastic jugs)."

"Golden Glen Creamery will continue to focus upon our lines of cheeses and butters that we will be expanding upon in the very near future."

We wish them the best in their future endeavors, and are looking forward to exploring their new offerings.

From their Facebook page :

"Please return all of your glass bottles to your place of purchase for full credit by January 15th. We will not be accepting them after that point, and apologize for any inconvenience."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Arts Walk with the Co-op

Calling all artists!  The Co-op is accepting artist applications for our 2nd year at the Spring Arts Walk in Olympia.

Download the application form to show your art with other Co-op members!

Arts Walk is April 22 from 5-10pm  & April 23rd from 12-7pm

Little House Party

We had a good turnout for our Westside Open House.  Here are some pictures from the event.  Thanks to all who could make it a warm and fun time.

Little little house.


Big Space in the Little House

Stairs up to the 2nd floor in back.