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!