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!