Big Long-term Planning Update!

As you may have heard, People’s has been hard at work developing a vision and a plan for the co op's future.

Last spring, we held public meetings to get feedback and talked with key folks in the community that are also doing work that is in line with our Ends. Since then, the Long-term Planning Committee has been synthesizing what we heard at those events and in those meetings, talking to the Collective and the Board about what feels feasible and realistic, meeting with community stakeholders and city planners in various neighborhoods, coordinating internal work on the Collective to make sure that the Co-op is ready to grow…. And tons more work.

Along the way, we’ve struggled with what to tell Member-Owners and at what point to loop you in to what we’re planning. There are reasons we didn’t want to tell you too soon: we don’t want our competitors to hear what we’re working on and do something to thwart our perfect plan, sure. But we also didn’t want to tell you a lot of plans and then not be able to follow through on all of them (like we did in our last expansion process in 2007).

Our research process has taken a lot longer than we anticipated or hoped, and we’ve heard that’s been frustrating for Member-Owners. We get that. It has been a while since we’ve told you new information. So when folks started getting mysterious phone calls suggesting that we would be opening in Lents or Milwaukie or Montavilla, or relocating within inner Southeast, we started to hear from folks. We heard enthusiasm and concern, and we also heard, “Why am I finding out in this mysterious phone call?” and “Why didn’t the Co-op talk to Member-Owners about this?”

Well…. That wasn’t quite our intention. Those phone calls were a part of a market study that we hired professional folks to conduct to help us get more information about the neighborhoods that we’re looking at for a second store or relocation. The goal of the study was to find out what areas might be more or less financially feasible so that the Collective can consider that information when we make a decision about where we want to locate. But we didn’t read the language of the market study’s questions, and so didn’t know just how un-hypothetical their questions sounded. So, for those of you that didn’t get a mysterious phone call and haven’t heard through the rumor mill: 

The Long-term Planning Committee is investigating these two options:

  • Opening a second location in Milwaukie, Lents, or Montavilla, or
  • Relocating our current store to somewhere else in inner Southeast Portland. We’d keep our current building and do something really exciting with it.

We honed in on the possibility of expansion when our research showed that the co op has maxed out in it's current space. Our sales per square foot are 2.5 times the national average for co ops, and sales have been flat for several years as a result. Without being able to sell any more in our physical space, we aren't able to keep up with sales inflation or the living wage. Expanding into more space is a possibility that would allow the co op to continue it's work while being financially and operational sustainable, maintaining accessible physical space for customers and staff, paying people throughout the food chain a living wage, and able to fund programs and projects that further nurture our community.

Engagements with Member-Owners, community members, and staff fostered many ideas of projects folks would love for the co op to create when possible. If it is necessary for the co op to expand, we will first tend to that project. Once it is stable and thriving, we vision researching and selecting one of the following projects to implement in time: a kitchen for the co op to carry prepared food, a community center of some sort, or a warehouse for larger orders that lower costs.

The Collective Management, which is made up of about 30 full time staff, will ultimately make the decision about which plan to pursue. Once the Collective decides where it wants to focus, we’ll hold more engagement events with Member-Owners and other community stakeholders to hear what you think about our plan. We’re expecting that those conversations will start happening in September and go into October. If you want to be involved in those conversations, just email the Long-term Planning Committee at

This definitely wasn’t the way that we wanted to start talking with Member-Owners (and everyone else!) about the specifics of our research and plans. And, we really welcome this opportunity to be more transparent with you all, and are so grateful for the feedback from Member-Owners and other folks in our community.

If you have any feedback, information, or resources that you want us to know about, email us (! We are really looking forward to hearing from you and bringing more of you into this process. If you want more context about why the Co-op is talking about expanding, check out and always feel free to be in touch with the Long-term Planning Committee by emailing

Without Women, We Wouldn't Have a Co-op!

When the Co-op first opened in 1971, the first all-volunteer crew running the store was also all women. Since that time, women have played an integral role at People's: as shoppers, as vendors, as farmers, as Member-Owners, as Hands-on-Owners,  as Board members, as staff, and as a part of our community. We wouldn't have a co-op without them. 

Today, we're taking an extra moment to thanks all the women who have had (and continue to have) a hand in building this community. Thank you. 

Ayers Creek's Farm-Direct Preserves

Farm-direct preserves are a very special thing: rarely does a farmer devote their time, energy, and dollars to transforming their produce into delicious jams, pickles, or hot sauce. Very lucky for all of us, sometimes they do! Such is the case with Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston, Oregon, where Anthony and Carol Boutard grow everything from berries to beans to chicories to popcorn. They partner with a local food processor to make preserves from the many varieties of fruit they grow. People's stocks three varieties of these special preserves -- right now Veepie Grape, Boysenberry, and Golden Gage. If your sweetie isn't a chocolate lover (and perhaps even if they are), these jars are a perfect gesture for that upcoming holiday. 

By Anthony Boutard, Ayers Creek Farm

Our preserves are made from the farm's fruit only. If the fruit is shy in the field, it is shy in the kettle and then in the jar, but we hope never shy on toast. The fruit is predominantly the first run from the field, the very best for processing because it has high acidity, along with high aromatic and pectin content. Lots of character and an outgoing disposition. Acidity not sweetness defines a fruit. Paradoxically, on most berry farms this highest quality fruit is left to over-ripen or rot because there is not enough to justify mustering a crew to harvest it, let alone the time and fuel needed to deliver such a small quantity. The economics of berry production are tight. Fortunately, we are diverse enough that staff can harvest for a hour or so in the cool of the day, and then set up irrigation and perform other essential tasks. And we only have to deliver the fruit to one of our freezers.

Anthony (left) at the vat. 

Anthony (left) at the vat. 

Because of the fruit's quality, we achieve a good set without adding commercial pectin. We freeze the berries whole in the harvest crates without crushing them. This preserves the aromatics and avoids any enzymatic degradation while the fruit is freezing. For the plum preserves, staff harvests a blend of firm, acidic fruit and riper, more aromatic fruit. The mix lends more character to those preserves.

Most are processed using 750 grams of sugar per kilogram of fruit, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The currants and jostaberry are prepared using 950 grams of sugar per kilogram of fruit. All are cooked in two gallon lots using a set of four small steam kettles. We use sensitive digital thermometers to track the temperature of the fruit. We generally shoot for 220 - 221°. However, each of the 15 fruits cooks differently, and they vary from year-to-year. This year, the purple raspberry set at 216°, the lowest we have ever seen in our fruit. Still scratching our heads over that. The behavior in the pot indicated a set had been achieved, but the reading on the thermometers didn't match, so we decided with our eyes rather than the instrument. An overcooked preserve is a terrible disappointment. As a general matter, we err on the side of a runnier set rather than risk a gummy texture and dull flavor.

When finished, we have concentrated about a half pound of fruit in each 10-ounce jar. When we started making preserves, we found there were all of these baffling rules of identity defining jams, conserves, jellies, sauces, spreads and preserves. We artfully dodge the identity question by avoiding any description on the label. All we do is name the fruit and ingredients.

Carol prepping lemons for the juicer. 

Carol prepping lemons for the juicer. 

Our ability to make preserves of this quality rests on a very special relationship we have developed with owners of Sweet Creek Foods, Paul and Judy Fuller. Since 2005, we have produced more than 35,000 jars of preserves at their factory in Elmira, about 35 miles west of Eugene. They are set up to process large quantities of fruit in several 200 gallon kettles, thousands of jars a day. The physics of cooking in large kettles require the addition of commercial pectin, something we have avoided because those pectins bind with the fruit's acids and dull the flavor. We pay extra to use the little kettles that otherwise are reserved for testing purposes, and eke out about 1,000 jars each day. As Paul notes, he could do that in an hour if we weren't so damned picky. We sweeten the deal by bringing down a huge pot of soup for Paul, Judy and their staff.

Jam in the vat. 

Jam in the vat. 

The difference in price between the different types is not an indicator of quality differences. The difference reflects extra labor costs and shrinkage associated with deseeding, and removing the stems from the currants. In the case of damsons, labor associated with pitting such a small plum. Jellies are their own challenge because the juice and pectins must be extracted by slowly stewing the fruit, and then drawing off and decanting the clear liquid. They are our art project, the test of our mettle as preservers with their fragile, jewel-like essence. With jellies, there is no gracious exit from a mistake.

We don't have a favorite preserve as such; they all find their way onto our table. However, the one that is the true measure of our efforts is the red raspberry. Commercially prepared raspberry preserves, jams, conserves, spreads, however they are identified, are found in every grocery store in the land, and many of us had parents or grandparents who put up some raspberry jam. If we felt our red raspberry tasted the same as Smuckers or some tonier brand, we wouldn't devote the time and effort. On the other hand, we are not foolish enough to compete with memories and are very happy if the quality simply reminds you of the raspberry jam you enjoyed at your parents' or grandparents' table.

Coming Together to Understand Oppression

By Delphine Criscenzo, Member-Owner

I strongly believe that community cohesion and collaboration will bring about a future where we can all thrive. When we come together we are more aware, more creative and wiser -- which is why I invest a lot in community organizing. I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of two of Portland’s oldest, most democratic and ground breaking communities: our very own People’s Food Cooperative and KBOO Community Radio. I have been a Member-Owner of People’s for five years and have been a Hands-On-Owner just as long. 

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Our Ends Statement declares that we are "a passionate community working together for a safe, welcoming community where all are valued." I truly believe that in order to reach this End, we must intentionally create opportunities for dialogue and for learning within our community. This weekend, I will be helping co-facilitate an Info Session during which we will create a common language and commitment for addressing how oppression shows up at People's and how we will interrupt. I am currently involved with a similar effort at KBOO that I would like to tell you about.

 I have been a community journalist for the last ten years because community radio has introduced me to the power of people-powered independent media. At KBOO, community members like you and I produce, host, investigate, report, research and fact check every story or piece of music that is broadcasted through the air. For almost fifty years, KBOO has strived to create a space for a diversity of Portland communities to come together to express their talents, doubts, and progressive perspectives. Building a safe, welcoming and just environment has always been at the forefront and for the last three years, under the leadership of Monica Beemer, KBOO has been engaging in dialogues around creating a Beloved Community.


The Beloved Community concept popularized by Martin Luther King, Jr. has given KBOO a framework for ensuring we intentionally create space for dialogue amongst KBOO community members so our radio station continues to flourish as an egalitarian space for creative collaboration. To do that, we first started offering quarterly trainings for staff, board members and key volunteers on anti-oppression issues with a focus on how these oppressions show up at KBOO and what we can do to address them. These training opportunities soon gave birth to a group that has met monthly for the last two years to study oppression and anti-oppression strategies as well as to practice interrupting oppressive behaviors. This monthly group then proposed the creation a workshop for all KBOO volunteers to learn about oppression and practice using love, compassion and humility when interrupting other community members or when taking accountability for your own behaviors. Since last August, over a hundred KBOO volunteers have attended an Anti-Oppression 101 workshop and more will be trained every month. The monthly anti-oppression discussion and action group also continues to meet.

Though it is hard to admit that oppression happens in our community, we must realize how much we have been programmed to accept the racist, sexist, homophobic, size discrimination, ableist, (and the list goes on) realities of our current society. Unless we learn and reflect on the subtle ways we perpetuate oppression, change will never come. The good news is that we are a community, and therefore we are more aware, more creative and wiser together! At KBOO, the opportunity for volunteers to learn from each other has strengthened our community. I look forward to seeing how monthly conversations at People’s can help us grow as well!

Get all the details on the event page, linked below. 


Weekend of Resistance, Self Care + Community

I, for one, don't feel entirely prepared for this weekend. It would seem like I should have had plenty of time to prepare for the reality of Donald Trump's inauguration, but there are things that I thought would have happened by now. I thought I would have figured out what form my resistance would take these next four years: done more organizing, had more tough conversations, stood up more for people I care about, planned more ways for the People's community to gather around our Ends and talk about what they mean to each of us. 

But I still feel caught off guard that this — what the past few years of campaigning, the election, and month of appointments have been leading up to — is happening. 

Maybe you feel similarly unprepared. Maybe you are ready to stand up for your values. Maybe you're scared. Maybe you feel ambivalent. Or some combination of those, or none of them. 

However you feel or whatever this weekend is to you, we want the Co-op to be a resource. We've planned some events (find the details below!), are hosting round-up donation drives at the register for Unite Oregon, Planned Parenthood, and 350PDX, and are going to have free tea on hand all weekend. If you have ideas for how the Co-op can be a beacon of justice, hope and light in the years to come, please don't hesitate to be in touch with me. Just email 

See you this weekend, at the Co-op, and perhaps in the streets, 

Sofie Sherman-Burton, Marketing + Membership Manager/Comanager


Round up at the register for Unite Oregon, which works to build a unified intercultural movement for justice across Oregon. People's will match donations up to $200.

Inauguration Day Meditation + Despacho Ceremony


Join us during the presidential inauguration, as we take this opportunity to sit in stillness and ceremony. Together we can use the chaos and unrest we feel on the planet, as a vehicle for great change.

In the ancient Andean traditions of Peru, a despacho is a ceremonial offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and spirit, or the organizing principles of the universe. You could perhaps think of it as a focused, formal way to "dispatch" or "ship" your prayers off to the powers that be.

The intention of this ceremony is for personal and collective healing. To bring us back into "Ayni" or a right relationship with all life. Using our gratitude to steer our collective journey in the direction of the greatest good for all. Everybody will have the opportunity to add their prayers to the Despacho (all the supplies will be provided). Afterwards Rami will take the despacho home to be burned in a fire ceremony. Come sit with us, and create some time in your day to just be. Free and open to all! RSVP on Facebook.

Lead by Rami Abu-Sitta, a Portland-based Shamanic practitioner, trained in the Incan healing tradition of the Andes by Alberto Villoldo Ph.D and The Four Winds Society. In his healing practice he works one-on-one with clients to help them correct toxic patterns, and release the energy of the past, so that they are free to move in a new direction.

Sign Making for These Times


Come make signs for the Women's March, other marching, your yard, your window, or any other sign needs that you have. Materials, snacks, and inspiration will be provided. You're certainly invited to bring your own sign materials and slogans, too. RSVP on Facebook. 


Round up at the register for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, which offers essential health care services in our region. People's will match donations up to $200.

Grounding Before the March


Before we hit the streets for the Women's March, let's take a moment to come together to center, ground, and use our infinitely powerful creative minds to affect change on psychic and energetic planes. We will visualize and send healing light, speak affirmations of protection, hold space for each other to share and process, and join our hands and voices in unified, improvised, cathartic, atonal song (it feels really good). This will be love-based, heart-centered magic, and our circle is open to all beings. Free and open to all! RSVP on Facebook. 

Lead by Johanna Warren, a local songwriter, Reiki master and herbalist. She is the founder and facilitator of the Portland chapter of Moon Church, a lunar coven of female, trans, queer and nonbinary people exploring and breathing new life into the archetype of the witch.


Round up at the register for 350PDX, which words to address the causes of climate disruption through justice-based solutions. People's will match donations up to $200.

Serving the Land with Cider: Finnriver Farm & Cidery

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Grass/Roots. Read the whole issue here!

by Ryan Gaughn, Alcohol Buyer

It was a People’s customer who first clued me in to Finnriver products. Having tried a cocktail featuring raspberry brandy wine, they started to look around the city to buy a bottle, without much luck. I contacted Finnriver, who dispatched a sales rep to our store almost immediately. From the moment I first tasted that raspberry brandy wine, I knew these products were something special, and a cursory view of Finnriver’s business ethics, particularly with land and animal stewardship, fell right in line with our values as a co-op.

In late September 2016 I was invited to participate in a tour of Finnriver’s farms and cidery, located in the beautiful Chimacum Valley in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Along with other alcohol buyers and retailers from Oregon & Washington, I was treated to a first hand, in-depth look at how this cidery accentuates a regional growing and production focus, coupled with a commitment to responsible agricultural practices acting in harmony with the region’s lush natural ecosystem.

Finnriver maintains two farms in the Chimacum area. The central hub of production for the cidery is located just 3 miles away from Finnriver’s main apple & pear orchards. This property hosts vegetable, berry, and hoop-house gardening operations which provide supplemental ingredients in Finnriver products. It was here that I received a tour of the cider making process.  Large bushels of apples are primed and pressed, with juice separating from the pulp in a mechanized pressing. From there, the fresh juice is pumped into massive fermentation tanks, where the addition of yeast and other ingredients encourages the magic that brings cider to life. 

This production facility is seamlessly integrated with the certified organic farm that surrounds it. The entire property is also certified Salmon Safe. Through intentional efforts by Finnriver, spawning salmon have recently begun to return to a creek that runs through the property, after generations of absence due to environmental harm from livestock farming in the area. 

Later in our tour, we travelled to Finnriver’s newest property acquisition, a 50 acre certified organic orchard. Finnriver has been integral in converting this lush soil, which was used as dairy land since the late 1800s, into a magnificent orchard of several thousand apple and pear trees.  Many of these trees are traditional, tannic varieties of apples not commonly found in grocery stores. This location is also where Finnriver has its tasting room and bottle shop, where many extra special products not currently available for sale in Oregon can be tasted and purchased. 

Finnriver operates both properties in partnership with the Jefferson Land Trust. This partnership ensures that the land on which Finnriver operates will remain designated for agricultural purposes in perpetuity — an important protective measure in an area of the state where extra-urban development is increasing (the Chimacum Valley is located South of Port Townsend, across the Puget Sound from Seattle). Much like Our Table Cooperative, a farm operation based out of Sherwood, Oregon which also borders areas experiencing urban development, land trusts help integrate food resources, sustainability, and the needs of urban dwellers by maintaining legally binding regulations which protect agricultural land for future generations.

Oh, and Finnriver cider is really tasty, too! I strongly encourage you to try out some of my favorites!

The Contemporary Series of ciders are the most widely distributed and produced of Finnriver’s selection. The introduction of a small amount of organic cane sugar in the production process helps round out the dryness of the cider, without creating an overly sweet “apple juice” like effect. Two of my favorites are the Sparkling Black Currant, which has an amazing, deep purple wine-like color, and the Habanero, an infused cider that leaves a really exciting spiciness in the endnotes.

If you’re looking for something to bring to a special occasion or dinner, consider the Artisan Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Cider. This painstaking cider-making process requires a secondary fermentation process that takes place in the bottle, which results in a very effervescent sparkling beverage similar to champagne. This bottle is a great substitute for wine, and definitely more on the dry end of the cider spectrum.

For something completely different, pick up a bottle of Raspberry Brandy Wine, a higher alcohol content dessert wine. Raspberries grown on Finnriver farms are coupled with apple brandy wine, producing a dessert beverage to be enjoyed in small pours. Finnriver brandy wines are very versatile, and can be used as toppings on ice cream, in homemade salad dressings, and as a lively kick to sparkling water, to name a few.

Definitely keep an eye out for Finnriver’s Seasonal Botanical ciders. This is a rotating series of bottles that feature unique combinations of herbs and ingredients. In the beginning of 2017, keep an eye out for Cranberry Rosehip and Solstice Saffron.


It's Back! Grow Your Own Produce Series

Have you been wanting to start a garden, but don't know where to start? Are you a seasoned gardener looking to incorporate some more permaculture techniques? Either way, you're in luck! Marisha Auerbach of Permaculture Rising is back in the Community Room this year with a full series of permaculture class. Each of the ten monthly class focuses on a seasonally relevant topic, from planning to growing to maintaining to harvest. 

You can register for each class individually for $25 each, or get in on five classes for $100. Better yet, People's Member-Owners get 20% off classes -- just be in touch with Marisha to get the discount code. 

About the Course

This workshop series is designed to help you maximize your yields and endeavors in the garden by providing an overview of key activities to engage in at the right time each month from February through November.

Facilitator Marisha Auerbach has spent many years observing and interacting in her garden and in the greater bioregion. She has been growing most of her own produce year round for the past decade. Each month, she will provide you with a checklist for the month ahead. We will discuss different subjects that are pertinent to the garden each month with supported handouts.

These classes are available as a five class series ($100) or as individual events ($25 each).  20% off discount for People's Food Coop members -- just be in touch with Marisha to get the discount code. 

For more information, or to register, email Marisha Auerbach or call (503) 454-6656

Planning, Design and Framework

Tuesday February 14th 7-9pm

This opening session will focus on garden planning and design.  From the Macro perspective to the microclimate, we will discuss Permaculture design strategies that can maximize your yields and diversity of crops throughout the season.  Fruit trees, berry bushes, and other large landscaping elements will be discussed as the framework for creating the context for your space.   Each participant is encouraged to come with a base map of their site. Please contact Marisha if you need support before class to have this available.

Indoor Seed-Starting, Early Plantings and Perennial Crops

Wednesday March 22nd 7-9pm

In March, it is time to begin planting seeds both outdoors and indoors.  This session will focus on those early plantings and the varieties that perform best for our climate.  Perennial vegetables can be transplanted at this time.  Since many perennial vegetables are new to gardeners, Marisha will share about growing and cooking some of her favorite types.  Seed catalogs and other resources will be available as references for each participant to make a personalized planting calendar.

Cole Crops, Greens and Soil Building

Tuesday April 11th 7-9pm

April is a key time for all of the Cole Crops, such as Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Collards, and Cabbage.  It is also a time of planting greens.  As many plants are being planted in the garden during this month and the months to come, we will highlight soil building strategies in this class. 

Warm-season Crops, Edible Flowers and Attracting Pollinators

Tuesday May 2nd 7-9pm

In May, the weather typically gets warmer and many flowers begin to bloom.  We will discuss reliable varieties of warm season crops to grow in your garden and ways to maximize microclimate and production.  Many of these plants require insects for pollination. You will learn about pollination, pollinator insects, and flowers that are useful for attracting these special critters.  Many of these flowers have multifunctions. We will highlight edible flowers, their functions in landscapes, and recipes. 

Maintenance and Harvest 

Tuesday June 6th 7-9pm

June completes our planting of the summer vegetable garden and then it is time to focus on maximizing the harvest.  For the urban gardener, this may mean optimizing a small space to produce as much food as possible.  We will discuss strategies for optimizing yield of your vegetable crops throughout the growing season.  We will highlight the best types of trellises for plants that like to grow up. 

Berries, Herbs and Water Catchment

Tuesday July 11th 7-9pm

This workshop will focus on different types of fruiting crops that are available right now. We will taste different varieties and discuss recipes and ways to put up the harvest of berries. We will talk about water catchment and how to determine what type of system would work best for your household. Handouts will include a to do list for the month, herbs for tea, and other pertinent information. 

Seedsaving and the Winter Garden

Tuesday August 9th 7-9pm

In August, it is time to save seeds.  The weather has been dry and many plants are ripening their seed.  This workshop will cover the basics of saving seed and offer you the opportunity to gather some hands-on experience.  August is a key month to get many starts in the ground for harvest in the winter and early spring.  This class will highlight what is happening in the garden in August, how to preserve your harvest, and prepare for the coming month. 

Putting Up the Harvest

Tuesday September 5th 7-9pm

The abundance from the garden and orchard is coming in and it is time to put it up for storage in the winter.  In this class, we will discuss the key ways to store food for the winter including:  canning, dehydration, fermentation, & freezing.  A key component of this class will be focused on how to assess what your family will eat in the winter and the space that you have available for storage.  The last of the winter crops should be in the garden by Equinox so we will cover the last of the plantings.  As always, this class will highlight what is happening in the garden in September, how to preserve your harvest, and prepare for the coming month.  Handouts will include a to do list for the month, information on canning and food preservation, and other pertinent information.

Garlic, Cover Crops and Compost

Tuesday October 3rd 7-9pm

October is a time for returning inward and thinking about nourishing the soil for the future garden.  This class will highlight soil building method including mulches, composting, leaf mold and more.  We will discuss types of cover crops for building soil tilth and fixing nitrogen.  Garlic goes in the ground this month for summer harvest. We will talk about the different types of garlic and best varieties for our region.  As always, this class will highlight what is happening in the garden in October, how to tend to your garden, and prepare for the coming month.  Handouts will include a to do list for the month, information on soil building methods, and other pertinent information.

Wildlife in the Garden, Nourishing Soups and Planning for the Coming Year

Tuesday November 7th 7-9pm

In November, the weather has become cold and the garden has been put to bed.  However, the birds, insects, and other critters still need habitat to keep them around.  During this class, we will discuss ways to encourage these allies to stick around in your garden.  By having active food webs in the garden, we invite collaboration and enhance fertility cycles on site.  As this is our final class for 2017, this class will provide juicy information to help you begin planning for the 2018 garden season.  We will also highlight nourishing soup recipes from local herbs, veggies, and stocks. As always, this class will highlight what is happening in the garden in November, how to tend to your garden, and prepare for the coming month.  Handouts will include a to do list for the month, information on wildlife, soup recipes, and other pertinent information.


We're Not Done: Solidarity with Standing Rock



As we wrap up our November drive for the camps at Standing Rock, things are escalating in North Dakota. The Governor has called for the mandatory evacuation of the camp on December 5th.  While the Army Corps of Engineers has stated that they will not forcibly remove anyone from the camp, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II said,

“This state executive order is a menacing action meant to cause fear, and is a blatant attempt by the state and local officials to usurp and circumvent federal authority....
If the true concern is for public safety then the Governor should clear the blockade and the county law enforcement should cease all use of flash grenades, high-pressure water cannons in freezing temperatures, dog kennels for temporary human jails, and any harmful weaponry against human beings … The State has since clarified that they won’t be deploying law enforcement to forcibly remove campers, but we are wary that this executive order will enable further human rights violations.”

I worry, too, about how the situation at Standing Rock might escalate along with tensions around the camps and the country. 

It's easy to feel powerless in situations like this. Oregon is far from North Dakota, and while we've been sending money and supplies since September, we're faced with the reality that our goods and our dollars might not be enough. 

Now more than ever, we will do what we can. That means donating the almost $5000 that we've raised at the register in November to the legal defense and medic funds, and continuing to work with people heading to Standing Rock to get the water protectors food and supplies. We've also decided to continue collecting donations, goods, and supplies at the register.

That also means making phone calls to the following folks, urging them to object to the executive order, the restriction of the water protectors to a "free speech zone," and ultimately to rescind the permits of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We can't all go to North Dakota, but there is plenty of action that we can take in Portland and even at home. 

Calling Officials for Standing Rock

Every day of December has been declared a national day of action by organizers at Standing Rock and around the country. We can also show solidarity by calling officials during this time in particular (and taking other action as you are able!). Calling in numbers may get their attention - call once, call daily, share with a friend, host a calling party, or what you can!

Phone Numbers

  • White House: (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414
  • White House Situation Room: (202) 456-9431 
  • Army Corps of Engineers: (202) 761-8700
  • National Guard ND: (701) 333-2000 
  • ND Governor Jack Dalrymple: (701) 328-2200 
  • Morton County Sheriff's Dept: (701) 667-3330
  • Morton County Sheriff's Office: (701) 328-8118 

Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline owner: 

  • Lee Hanse, Executive Vice President: (210) 403-6455
  • Glenn Emery, Vice President: (210) 403-6762 
  • Michael (Cliff) Waters, Lead Analyst: (713) 989-2404

Sample Script for Government Offices & Officials

"My name is _______, and I am calling to object to the Army Corps of Engineers' directive to evacuate Standing Rock protesters to 'free speech zones'. I ask [name of organization or official] not to enforce this directive, to work towards rescinding all permits, and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of the Reservation and straight through treaty lands."

Sample Script for Sheriff's Offices

"My name is _______, and I am calling to object to the Army Corps of Engineers' directive to evacuate Standing Rock protesters to 'free speech zones'. I ask [name of sheriff or town/county] not to enforce this directive, to allow water protesters to exercise their right to peaceful assembly/protest, and to immediately stop attacking water protectors with tear gas, water cannons, hoses, or other violent means, and refrain from
arresting/interfering with peaceful demonstrators."

Thank you to Kathleen Rose for the use of these scripts. 

Background & Additional Information

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, based in Houston, Texas. The pipeline would transport 450,000 barrels of fracked crude oil per day from the Bakken fields in North Dakota to Illinois. 

The builders of the pipeline did not consult tribes or produce an environmental impact statement. The proposed route crosses the confluence of the Missouri River and the Cannon Ball River, an area of cultural and spiritual significance for area tribes. It also poses huge environmental risks. DAPL would cross over the Ogallala Aquifer (one of the largest aquifers in the world) and under the Missouri River twice (the longest river in the United States). The possible contamination of these water sources from a pipeline leak makes the Dakota Access pipeline a national threat. 

Craft Fair Applications Are Now Available!

craft fair call for vendors.jpg

Applications are due Monday November 21st! 

We're excited to be hosting the Holiday Craft Fair again this year on Wednesday, December 7th from 2-7pm in the Community Room. 

Vendor spaces are available in two sizes:  Large (~6ft x 6ft) for $30 or Small (~ 3ft x 6ft.) for $15. Tables are not provided, but chairs are available.  You will be required to stay within your allotted space.   

Spaces are limited.  For the most part, vendor applicants are accepted on a first-applied, first-placed basis.  However, we like to provide the community with variety at the Fair, and our Craft Fair Coordinator will have the final say on which vendors participate.

How to Apply

  1. Review the Reminders, Rules, & Guidelines below before filling out the application. Please be sure you feel confident you can fulfill them before applying.
  2. Complete the application below, or pick one up in the store. Payment needs to be included to secure your application. Checks are preferred and can be made out to People’s Food Co-op. You can mail them to: 

People's Food Co-op

attn: Sofie Sherman-Burton

3029 SE 21st Ave

Portland, OR 97202

If you are selected as a vendor, Sofie, the Craft Fair Coordinator, will contact you no later than Friday November 25th to discuss next steps and placement.

If all spaces are filled, you will be placed on a Wait List. In the event there is a cancellation, we will call vendors on the Wait List.

Reminders, Rules, & Guidelines

The fair begins at 2pm, Wednesday, December 7th, and ends at 7pm. 

All vendors are expected to participate for the entire 5 hours.


  • You can begin setting up your booth at 12pm, but no earlier.
  • Set-up must be completed no later than 1:45pm.
  • Tables are not provided, but chairs are available.
  • Tear-down and clean-up should be completed no later than 8:30pm.


People’s does not provide change for artists or craft vendors. Each vendor is responsible for bringing enough cash to complete transactions with your patrons.

We strongly, strongly encourage vendors to:

  • provide patrons with receipts,
  •  provide patrons with business cards or some other format communicating your contact information (this can be on the receipt).


  • Should you need to cancel, please notify us as soon as possible by emailing
  • People’s Food Co-op will retain booth fees for cancellations occurring less than 24 hours before the event.
  • Vendors on the waitlist will be notified should cancellations occur.

EXPECTED BEHAVIOR: People’s Safer Space Policy

People’s Food Co-op strives to create a safer and accessible space that values everyone.  When present on Co-op property, each person is expected to respect all aspects of people’s identities including their ethnicity, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, religion, political affiliation, nationality, size, age, and ability. 

Physical or verbal abuse, sexual or any other form of harassment, theft, or damage of property is simply not tolerated.  Someone who is unable to meet these expectations will be asked to leave the property. 

If you feel that someone is in violation of this policy please talk to a staff member. 

Thanksgiving Baskets

All the baskets are called for, but you can still fill out the application to be placed on the waiting list. 

For those in our community that need support this November, People’s Food Co-op and some of our vendors have partnered to provide 80 free vegetarian food baskets. 

Basket pick up will be on Wednesday November 23rd from 4-7pm.

Only 80 food baskets are available. Baskets are limited to one per household.  After the 80 are spoken for, we will start a wait list. You will be notified by Thursday, Nov 17th if you will receive a basket.  Sign-ups are recorded in the order they arrive. 

Basket pick-up will be in our Community Room, located up a flight of stairs. There is an elevator available if you need it – just let a cashier know that you need to use it and they will help you.

Food baskets are designed to feed about 4 people and will likely include:

  • Organic produce: yams, potatoes, winter squash, yellow onions, garlic, greens, apples
  • Pumpkin Pie Fixings: 1 pie crust, 1 can pumpkin pie mix
  • $10 voucher for the People’s Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays 2-7pm
  • Other food items: 1 can cranberry jelly, Vegetable bullion cubes, 1 Dave’s Killer Bread Powerseed Thin Sliced Loaf, Three Sisters Nixtamal Tortillas

Basket contents may change slightly. 

Big thanks to our generous vendors that donated! We couldn't do this without them. 


Introducing: Humans of Color Yoga!

About the class

This class has been thoughtfully created by humans of color for humans of color.  Our intention is to provide a safe space for those who identify as a person of color to come together to move, learn, talk, and create community with other humans like themselves. This will also be a gathering place for connecting and building communities of color. 

We hope to create support for each other and share our experiences of being in this world with one another.  This class will include an opening circle that provides time for each person to introduce themselves, mindful movement and breathing, and a look into the history and different branches of yoga.  We will also address issues that people of color are facing in our current social climate using yoga as platform for release and restructuring.

Humans of Color Yoga will start at People’s on Saturday October 8th, and then be held every other week in the Community Room.

From the instructor Ayomide Njo

When people think of yoga they usually think of the physical practice of yoga, or Hatha yoga, but there are actually six distinct branches of yoga in the Indian tradition. I have been practicing yoga in one form or another most of my life. As a movement instructor I have been studying body awareness and movement for 20 years, but only in the last 5 years have I enjoyed and felt truly centered in Hatha yoga. 

This was inspired by an encounter with an older woman of color who practiced yoga. This woman was beautiful, strong and centered in her body and I was inspired! I had never been exposed to an instructor of color except in yoga books, where they were primarily Indian men. When we talked I explained to her my disconnection to hatha yoga as practice. She then explained to me that there are many styles of hatha to choose from and that my exploration was part of the journey of finding a practice that was in harmony with my center. That moment changed my life.  Her presence showed me that anyone could be a yogi.

This is the kind of experience that I hope to share through Humans of Color Yoga at People’s. It is important for humans of color to be able to investigate what it means to be in their skin in a safe and supportive environment, and the aim of the class is to provide a place for them to do so. 

Ayomide Njo currently teaches dance at Portland Community College. You can also find her every Wednesday at The Co-op teaching Kaleidoscope community yoga. When not teaching movement she is busy raising a teen, creating art and bridging communities. 

October is Co-op Month!

What is Co-op Month?

Every year, we celebrate Co-op Month in October, as co-ops all around the country do. We offer incentives for folks to invest in their co-op share or to become a Member-Owner, decorate the store, host co-op related events in the Community Room, and take a minute to celebrate our Member-Owners, our store, and the somewhat miraculous thing we’ve built together.

And there are great reasons to invest! Employees at food co-ops make almost a dollar per hour more, on average, than at conventional grocers, and more get health insurance through their workplace. Co-ops work directly with more farmers and producers, and sell way more organic and local food – almost eight times as much as a percentage of sales. They also recycle more, and are more energy efficient. Plus, their owned by the people that use them, rather than individuals. We share in the wealth that we create, and create wealth beyond profits. 

This October in particular, as we nail down our long-term plan, the dollars that you invest in your Co-op go toward growing our store and the positive impact that it has in our community. So thanks for investing, shopping, and supporting – together, we own it! 


Become a Member-Owner, or invest in your share! In October, there are a few extra incentives for your investment. 

$15: An Equal Exchange chocolate bar

$30: A limited edition People's mug + an Equal Exchange chocolate bar

$60: A Chinook Book + a People's mug + an Equal Exchange chocolate bar

Plus, every investment made during Co-op Month enters you to win an awesome gift basket from Equal Exchange, a worker-owned co-op!


During Co-op Month, we're offering special sales to show appreciation for our Member-Owners and co-op community!

All Hard Cider is 10% off, all of October!

From Finnriver to Cider Riot, all hard cider is 10% off for all of October! Stock up on your favorite brands and flavors, or try all the others we have in stock! 



Looking to learn more about the Co-op and connect with more with your co-op community? 

Pick up a Co-op Passport!

Portland's food co-ops - People's, Food Front, and Alberta - have teamed up to offer a special coupon to anyone that visits all three during Co-op Month! Pick up a passport at a register at any of the co-ops, and get it marked when you visit each one. When you've filled it out, enjoy $10 off of a purchase of $30 or more at the co-op of your choice! And relish in the feeling that you've shopped at all of these community institutions. 

People's Food Co-op Harvest Ale: In Stock Now!

It's back!  Our amazingly popular Harvest Ale returns to the Co-op, available while supplies last! 

We've teamed up again with Captured By Porches to bring you this pale ale, featuring ingredients entirely grown in Oregon.  Slightly hoppy, with a mild sweetness to round everything out, it's the perfect companion to watch the seasons change and celebrate the bounty of our harvest season.  Pick up a bottle for $4.99 at the Co-op, or stop by the People's Food Co-op Harvest Festival on September 14 to enjoy a freshly poured pint in our beer garden. 

This beer makes a perfect gift for friends and family, and a wonderful compliment for your own pallet!  Cheers!

Why Black Lives Matter

Why Black Lives Matter

By: Rebecca Jamieson, Substitute Staff

The woman standing across the cash register from me was starting to cry. As I had begun to ring up her groceries a moment earlier, our conversation had started in the usual way: “Hello, how are you?” But instead of responding to that question with the routine “Fine, thanks,” we had each told the truth: our hearts were hurting. This was the week that two more unarmed Black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, had been killed by police. This was not a week for “fine, thanks.” What had happened was not fine, and neither were we. In our brief conversation, the woman shared that she was terrified her two young sons would be in danger their whole lives, simply because they were Black. As tears filled both of our eyes, all I could do was ask her if she wanted a hug. She said yes.

Hugs are a good start, but they aren’t enough. The magnitude of the racism our country is grappling with is apparent to anyone who reads the news. Racially influenced, state-condoned shootings of innocent people continue, with no justice for the victims or their families. Unfortunately, these larger systems of oppression are the repercussions of the often-unconscious racial conditioning that we all receive as people living in the U.S., with its long history of genocide, slavery, and oppression. As a White person, I’ve come to realize over and over again that if I want real change, I have to work not just to heal racism on an institutionalized level, but on a very personal level as well. And that personal healing and unlearning of racial conditioning is a lifelong process.

Something I deeply value about working at People’s Co-op is our commitment to anti-oppression work and social justice. Two of our Ends statements directly address this, striving to be: “a safe, welcoming community where all are valued,” and “a passionate community working together for human rights and social justice.” People’s has been working to address issues of oppression in many different areas for a long time. In the last few years, we’ve been working even harder to address the systemic forms of oppression that affect our community, our store, our staff, and shoppers, whether they show up in obvious or more subtle ways. We’ve brought in speakers, held anti-oppression trainings for staff, and formed ongoing “caucus” groups that serve to educate staff around issues such as White and male privilege. Caucus groups also exist to support staff who deal with oppression on a daily basis, including groups for those who are women-identified and people of color.

The reason People’s has been working harder to address oppression is that we’ve seen how our own oppressive conditioning, if left unaddressed, creates an environment that is not “a place for all people” - another thing we strive for. Our increased effort to address how privilege and oppression affects us was largely spearheaded by People’s staff who face the most oppression, even though it is not their responsibility to educate those of us who have more privilege, or are less aware. Just like me, People’s still has room to grow in learning how to address these painful patterns. But this work can’t be done alone. We need each other - for learning, for healing, for support, for inspiration, for change.

In the spirit of learning from and supporting each other, and taking meaningful action in alignment with our Ends, People’s will be holding several events and actions coming up soon:

  • During the month of August, we’ll be holding a donation drive at the registers to support the Portland chapter of Black Lives Matter. Just tell your cashier you’d like to make a donation, or round up your purchase. More information about Black Lives Matter can be found here. This article is a good place to start if you are wondering why saying “All Lives Matter” is so upsetting to many who are working for racial justice.
  • People’s will host letter writing sessions in support of Campaign Zero to end police violence. The sessions will take place on Friday August 12th 5:30pm-7:30pm, and Sunday August 21st 3:30pm-5:30pm in our community room. Snacks will be served. Everyone is welcome.
  • People’s will be partnering with the Portland Underground Graduate School to offer a class in our Community Room called: Elegizing Black Lives. This class will explore how African American poets elegized victims of lynching and state violence, as well as celebrating acts of resistance. The class will run on Wednesdays August 10-31, from 6-8pm in the People’s Community Room. Space is limited. Read more and register here.
  • Starting in October, People’s will offer an ongoing yoga class for people of color. Details to come.
  • Also in October, People’s will start a White privilege discussion group. Details to come.
  • Black Lives Matter buttons are available for all shoppers at the registers!

Elections are here! But why vote?

Earlier this spring, I turned in my ballot for the Oregon Primary. My 17 year-old daughter (on the verge of being able to vote herself!) asked if I had ever missed the opportunity to vote.  No, I proudly responded... but I realized quickly that this answer only applies to state and national elections. When given the opportunity to vote for something like the Board of Directors at People’s, I am much less likely to vote.   Hmmm... feeling a little less proud now.

Yes, national and state elections are important, but People’s is also important on a local scale.  People’s provides our local food providers with a place to offer their goods; the neighborhood a human sized store, year-round farmer’s market and meeting space; and the community a chance to be not just a shopper, but also a Member-Owner.  Keeping People’s thriving is to keep many others thriving as well.  And a healthy, thriving People’s needs a healthy, thriving board.

Taking a few minutes to read about the candidates and casting a vote is a way each of us Member-Owners can show our appreciation for what People’s provides for us and our community.  It also might bring us one step closer to appreciating the employees and Hands-On-Owners who give tirelessly each month so the rest of us can have this gem of a grocery store in our neighborhood.  For me, I needed the question from my daughter to reset my attention between large-scale national politics and small-scale local efforts.  Each election is truly important in its own way, and by participating in both, I find myself feeling just a little more proud.

- Member-Owner Ellen Weeks

2015 Patronage Dividends are here!

2015 was a landmark year for People’s Food Co-op.  In 2014 we did not post a profit and so were unable to pay out patronage dividends.  Faced with significant competition and increasing costs all around, would we be able to turn the tide in 2015?   What did this mean for the long-term health and viability of our co-op?  Well, this past year our Collective Management was able to tighten belts, get creative, and end the year with positive net income and sales growth!  This has positioned us well for 2016 as we begin in earnest to craft our Long Term Plan.

With the recent release of our 2015 Annual Report, active Member-Owners also received a Patronage Dividend.  If you did not receive your Annual Report and Patronage Dividend - it is likely that we have the wrong address (click here to update your address).  There are a number of dividends at the co-op that were undeliverable, stop by and ask a cashier to see if yours is here. 

What is patronage?

Patronage is the amount of our store's net income that came from Member-Owner sales.  As a consumer-owned co-op, when the co-op makes a profit, we are required by law to pay out at least 20% of that patronage to Member-Owners; we can choose to pay out 100%.  This year, your Board of Directors has chosen to distribute 60% of 2015 patronage back to Member-Owners.  This is the highest percentage ever paid out since the beginning of the patronage system in 2007!  

Due to a modest amount of profit made in 2015, this equates to each household receiving about 0.83% of their 2015 total spending back.  When deciding if and how much patronage to pay out, the Board of Directors balances many factors.  This year we wish to celebrate our financial turnaround, distribute as much profit back to owners as is financially responsible, and recognize the increasing economic pressure many among us face.  We also wish to safeguard the long-term health of the co-op, keep the amount of profit in perspective and remain mindful of the challenges we are likely to face together in the coming years.  Retained patronage helps the co-op build collective wealth for use in years to come.  

Your dedication to People's and steadfast patronage of our store are the reasons we are here.  As Member-Owners of People's we share in both our successes and challenges - we are in this together and WE OWN IT!  





MAY 21 & 22

No catch, no fine print,

just one screaming weekend deal. 


All the chips we have in the store will be 50% OFF their regular price. 

Stock up for all your upcoming summer barbecues and picnics. 

No special orders with sale price. 

We're open 8am -10pm at 3029 SE 21st Ave.

We Stand with Workers: Endorsing the Burgerville Workers Union

Foodservice workers in Portland and across the country are struggling to make ends meet. Most of these workers earn minimum wage and are nearly twice as likely to be at or near the poverty level compared to the overall workforce. Women, people of color, Latinxs, and non-citizen workers are overrepresented in this group and often struggle to provide for their families.

People's has recognized this for a long time, and that is why we try to do things differently. Our full time staff is organized as a collective, with each co-manager sharing an equal voice and responsibility in running the store. We strive toward paying all of the people that work here a livable wage, and provide health care for all employees working 30 hours per week or more. An empowered and fairly-compensated workforce is what we are striving towards.

It's also why, when the Burgerville Workers Union asked us to endorse their union, we did so enthusiastically and with the support of the Collective, our Board, and our Member-Owners. These workers are asking for respect, a living wage, and control over their jobs and their futures. They deserve all of those things, and shouldn't have to demand them from their employer. 

As it reads on the union's homepage:

We are fast food workers – mothers, fathers, students, grandparents. We are young and old. Everyday going into work, we're made to feel that we're at the bottom of the American economy. We make near minimum wage and struggle to make ends meet. People say, "It's fast food, what do you expect?" But no one should expect to live in poverty.
We formed our union because we matter, we work hard, we want respect, and we need a raise. We want to see the company do right by us, agree to a $5.00/hour raise, and listen to our voice.

The struggle that these workers are engaged in clearly relates to our Ends -- the values that drive the Co-op forward. 

Because we value human rights and social and economic justice, when members of our community can barely afford rent, transportation, and healthy foods (much less the other things that fulfill them) we should be working together to support them. Our local economy cannot truly thrive if people are struggling to afford the things they need. Our community will never feel safe and welcoming if its members do not feel valued, compensated, or heard. People cannot access the food that we provide if they can't afford groceries. And a workplace is not democratic if its workers aren't paid fairly or listened to.

Staying devoted to our Ends means standing in solidarity with people who are fighting for those values, especially when we're invited to. And so here we are, standing next to the BVWU and championing their demands. 

We hope you'll join us in the Community Room on Saturday May 14th at 6pm, when workers from the Burgerville Workers Union will come to tell us about their experience on the job and in organizing. Find out more about the event by following the link below. See you there. 

Coming Soon: More SNAP Match at the Market!

$10 SNAP Matching at the Farmers' Market Starts May 11!

Close your eyes. Imagine a farmers’ market. What are some things that come to mind? Heirloom veggies and wildcrafted mushrooms and herbs? Organically grown, non-GMO produce? Artisan cheeses, chocolates, and breads? Handcrafted hot foods and sweet treats? Chatting with a farmer or producer about the food you’re buying? What about affordability?

If you’ve been shopping at Portland-area farmers’ markets for a while, affordability may be one of the first things that comes to mind when you think about farmers’ markets. That’s because many farmers’ markets - including People’s - are helping improve access to farmers’ markets by giving people using government food benefits (like SNAP, EBT cards or WIC vouchers) matching funds to spend at farmers’ markets. At People’s Farmers’ Market, for example, we give folks using their EBT cards up to an additional $5 to use at the Market. In fact, in 2015 we gave matching funds to more than 80 people per week on average. That’s over $19,000 that went to our local economy and helped our community eat healthy, local food!

In 2016, we hope to do even more to provide our community with access to food they can trust, through a new program called Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB). DUFB is a statewide nutrition incentive program funded by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture that is designed to make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable while supporting family farmers and local economies. The program will provide SNAP recipients with a dollar-to-dollar match up to $10 each market day to purchase fruits and vegetables.

DUFB will be offered at People’s Farmers’ Market beginning the first week of May, and will replace our current matching program. For our SNAP shoppers, this means a couple of changes:

1.     A new currency that can be used at over 40 farmers’ markets statewide. For a map of participating markets, pick up a brochure at the info booth or see

2.     New restrictions on what matching funds can be spent on. Whereas EBT funds (including Farmers’ Market tokens) can be spent on any SNAP-eligible foods, the Double Up Food Bucks can only be spent on fresh, dried, or frozen fruit and vegetables (including mushrooms, herbs, and beans) without added sugars, fats, oils, or salt.

The process to get the matching funds will be the same, though: stop by the info booth with your EBT card, swipe your card for EBT tokens, get matching tokens, and shop! If you are not using an EBT card but want to support the program, you can make a donation at the register to help us keep the program going throughout the 2016 season.

While People’s is looking forward to offering this new $10 match to our community, which helps us move towards our Ends of providing “access to healthy foods our customers can trust” and supporting “thriving local and cooperative economies,” some members of the Collective Management (myself included) have some hesitations about the program.

First, in restricting the use of the matching funds to such a narrow range of products in the name of promoting healthy eating, the USDA seems to be ignoring the well-documented health benefits of fermented foods (including sauerkrauts and tempeh) and honey. We also feel that such restrictions suggest that people using SNAP benefits are not able to make good food choices on their own. However, we see the fact that people are using their SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets as evidence to the contrary. [P1] Finally, the restrictions against masa, tortillas, pickles, and ferments create explicit barriers around culturally appropriate foods for many people in our community.

Despite these issues, People’s is excited about providing additional food dollars to people in our community when housing costs are going up and up, wages are stagnating, food costs are increasing, and government benefits are being cut. People can still use EBT tokens for anything allowed under the SNAP rules, which means $10 in Double Up Food Bucks for all your fruit and veggies, and $10 of your own EBT dollars for any other SNAP-eligible foods at the market. 

Everyone deserves access to the great foods that the farmers’ market offers. It is exciting to be able to join the Double Up Food Bucks program with more than 40 other farmers’ markets across the state to help increase that access, while supporting the farmers and small producers who help our local economy thrive.

-Ashley Todd, Farmers' Market Coordinator & Comanager

Better Business: Earthly Gourmet, Natural Foods Distributor & Social Change Activists

Better Business: Earthly Gourmet, Natural Foods Distributor & Social Change Activists

By: Jenna Chen, Marketing & Design Co-Manager

Earthly Gourmet is a vegan, gluten free natural foods distributing company based out of SE Portland, OR.  Heman and Marlena Bhojwani started Earthly Gourmet in 2006, and in a short 9 years now supply many of the top vegan, organic restaurants and businesses in our city including Laughing Planet Cafe, Sip Juice Cart and Canteen, Harlow and Prasad Cafes, Next Level Burger (a vegan burger joint that just opened on 4121 SE Hawthorne) and your very own People’s Food Co-op.  

People’s Food Co-op was Earthly Gourmet’s first customer.  In 1996, former Grocery buyers Melody Anderson and Sarah Barnard bought fair trade chocolate syrups and ginger chews for the store. They also worked with Heman and Marlena to inaugurate Earth Balance into our bulk section.  Earth Balance did not sell 30 lb boxes of their product until People’s and Earthly Gourmet expressed high demand and guaranteed an order.  This is an example of how values driven businesses can use their collective power to directly impact how something is produced, sold, and distributed – for the better.  

People’s commitment to buying in bulk not only reduces wasteful packaging but is more cost-effective for the consumer and producer.  Now, Earthly Gourmet distributes a wide array of almost exclusively vegan and gluten-free products to the greater Portland area, Olympia, and Seattle, and almost 95% of these products are produced on the West Coast.    

In addition to being a growing, values driven food distributor, Earthly Gourmet is working with Immigration & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) to employ refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and other places.  They currently have five full-time employees working for them that have come from overseas to seek asylum in the US.  These staff members often were employed as engineers and in other highly skilled trades in their homelands and now work at Earthly Gourmet.  Earthly Gourmet goes through rigorous and thorough questioning and investigation by the IRCO before being permitted to hire.  After they are hired, Earthly Gourmet trains them extensively on job tasks and serves as a resource as they adjust to living in the US.   Heman and Marlena’s willingness to open their workplace and hearts to those less fortunate than us and use their business as an example of how social justice can be actualized is truly inspiring.   

When asked what is next for Earthly Gourmet, a company that is meeting growing demand for vegan and gluten-free natural foods, Heman replies “The question is not how can we grow bigger - it’s how can we grow better”.  As People’s embarks into a future yet to be written, the idea of better growth rings clear and relevant.  How can we stay connected to our roots, our community, support the farmers and food producers around us in a sustainable way and thrive in our city?  The answer is up to us. 

A delicious lunch of vegan, gluten-free pizza, made in Earthly Gourmet's on-stie commercial kitchen which houses the headquarters of gluten-free bakery Sift.  All ingredients on the pizzas are ones that Earthly Gourmet distribute.  

A delicious lunch of vegan, gluten-free pizza, made in Earthly Gourmet's on-stie commercial kitchen which houses the headquarters of gluten-free bakery Sift.  All ingredients on the pizzas are ones that Earthly Gourmet distribute.