Understanding Gendering: Small Changes to Make the Co-op A Safer Place

By Comanagers Annie LoPresti, Tyler Rizzo, Devon Deering, & Sailor Winkelman

While checking out at People’s registers, you may be taking note of signs requesting: “Please refrain from gendering us. We appreciate it.” The signs are small, but have a big impact for staff members, Hands-on-Owners, and members of our community. Here, we try to tell you more about what “gendering” means, how it affects workers and community members, and how cultivating awareness around this is in alignment and activation of our Ends.

What is “gendering?”

Gender is deeply embedded in the language and interactions of our culture. It is common to use words like “miss,” “sir,” “ma’am,” “she,” “he,” “lady,” “man,” to describe a person. This is called gendering, because the language communicates about the gender of the person being spoken about, or to.

While we live in a culture in which some physical traits, personality traits, interests, or behaviors are often thought of to belong to a certain gender, a person’s gender identity is not something we can know based on observing any of these things. Gender is a very personal, internal experience of one’s identity and sense of self. Therefore, if we use gendered language to describe a person without knowing how they identify, it is very possible that we’re misgendering them – or calling them by a gender other than how they identify.

What is the impact of misgendering at the co-op?

Your authors are staff members at Peoples, are people who experience being misgendered regularly, sometimes many times a day. It is painful and frustrating every time. The effects of repeated misgendering during a shift, work-week, and years of working are profound. Quality of life, emotional well-being, and job security are just some examples of things that are impacted by repeated misgendering for customer service workers. We recognize that shoppers, Member-Owners, and members of our community are also affected by misgendering, and we want to extend our effort to create a more supportive culture to all who share space with us.

How can we avoid misgendering people?

What we are asking for are small changes to everyday language, which cultivate respect and inclusion of people of all gender identities.

1. Use gender-neutral language for people you don’t know.

Working in the store, we do not expect to get to know every person who comes through (though that would be nice!). We don’t expect everyone to know us, either. The expectation we would like to set for one another is to use gender-neutral language when addressing or describing a person whose gender you don’t know, keeping in mind that gender is something we don’t know just from looking at someone. We compiled a small chart to show some ways to replace frequently used gendered language with gender-neutral language:

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2.  Ask for a person’s pronouns as a part of getting to know someone new.

While we encourage gender-neutral language to avoid misgendering strangers, we often do get to know each other better. When meeting a new person, for example during a class, or volunteering together, we encourage you to ask their pronouns, and to introduce yourself with yours. Pronouns are words like “he,” “she,” and “they.”

Here’s a sample dialogue:

Person A: Hi, my name is Julie.

Person B: Hi Julie, my name is Sam.

Person A: Hi Sam. What are your pronouns.

Person B: They/Them

Person A: Ok. Mine are She/Her. Nice to meet you!

Sam and Julie can avoid misgendering one another, because they had a conversation about what pronouns work for each person.  

3.  Question your assumptions about gender.

Both using gender neutral language, and making gender part of the conversation when meeting someone new rely on questioning the assumptions about gender that we have been exposed to from the dominant culture.

We encourage you to reflect on how this cultural shift could put us more in line with the Ends Statement, which informs the work we do at the Co-op. As “a passionate community working together for human rights, social and economic justice,” it is in line with our Ends Statement to cultivate awareness around oppressive systems, and hear each other’s experiences within them. By practicing gender-neutral language in the Co-op and community, we participate in dismantling cultural norms that exclude and harm people of all gender identities. This is one of the many ways that our awareness and work help to create “a safe, welcoming community where all are valued.” By questioning our assumptions about the gender of people we do not know, our hope is that in doing so we can help make the Co-op, community, culture, and perhaps even the world at large a safer and more inclusive place for folks of all gender identities.

 

 

Process Update: Moving Forward Together

 

As we outlined in a previous blog post, the Collective met yesterday (Thursday, August 10th) to talk more about our long-term planning process. The original goal of this meeting was for the Collective to come to alignment on where to focus our engagement with Member-Owners going forward: either relocating in the neighborhood or opening a second store. 

Because of the feedback that we received from Member-Owners and some new information from our feasibility research, the Collective did not narrow down or rank the potential projects that are on the table. We spent the majority of the meeting talking about what getting meaningful engagement and feedback from the community looks like and how it will factor into a decision. We will be working to revise our process map and creating a comprehensive plan to allow for abundant Member-Owner input going forward. 

Also as a part of the meeting, we spent some time in small groups brainstorming new and innovative ways that the Co-op could adapt the plans on the table to be more financially viable (a clear need arising from our feasibility research) as well as fulfilling community needs that we haven't actively considered up to this point. 

We also spent some time sharing perspectives about what the last few weeks have been like for folks on the Collective: what feedback they've heard, what they've been wrestling with, what emotions have come up for them, as well as how we're generally very encouraged by the participation and passion of our Member-Owners. 

This meeting brought us to a pretty open place in terms of what our next steps are. We're in the process of planning a community forum so that we can hear from more community members and also share some information with you all -- plan to hear an announcement about that very soon. We're also planning more feedback sessions in September and opening them up to more people (though still keeping them small enough to have meaningful conversations -- we're planning to cap them at 20 folks). We'll save conversations with vendors and other community stakeholders until we have a clearer idea of what our plan is.

We're not putting this planning process on pause, but we are making space for more research and more input from our community. At the same time, we're actively tending to our financial responsibility to the Co-op given the expense of this process. 

If you have questions, input, or ideas that you'd like to share, you can send them to the Long-term Planning Committee at planning@peoples.coop. You can also get in touch with the Board of Directors at bod@peoples.coop. For more framing about our planning process and a catalogue of past blog posts and articles, check out people.coop/vision. 

From the Board: Our Special Meeting

Dear Member-Owners,

The Board of Directors (Board) and the Long Term Planning Committee (LTPC) have received many comments over the last few days regarding the nature of Member-Owner involvement in considering any specific expansion plan and the long term sustainability of the Co-op.  In an unprecedented action, the Board and the LTPC convened a special Board meeting on Tuesday,  August 8th. Nearly all Board members and the full LTPC were in attendance, and were joined by three Member-Owners, who were able to participate in a portion of the meeting and share their concerns.

This letter is one of the results of the special Board meeting and its purpose is to provide an overview of why we are planning for the Co-op’s future, what that process has looked like thus far, and what it will look like going forward.

The Co-op has been in a long-term planning process for over three years. This work began at the urging of the Board in 2014, when it was clear that the Co-op needed a directive for how to stay resilient in a changing Portland. Sales were flat, in 2014 patronage wasn’t paid out for the first time since the Co-op adopted the patronage system, and competition in the natural foods industry was only increasing, as it still is today. However, despite being a Co-op-mandated policy-governance reporting requirement, the Collective Management (CM) did not have a strategic plan for the Co-op’s future at that time. And that’s where this whole process originated -- from a clear need to address the growth and sustainability of People’s to ensure that our Co-op has a future.

Over the past two years, the LTPC has been creating that strategic, long-term plan. They held community events engaging Member-Owners around our collective vision for the future, did research into different growth possibilities, and engaged experts to gather market data and other information that will help ensure that any decisions we make  will be fiscally sound, as well as reflective of our Ends. Throughout this process, the LTPC reported to both the CM and the Board to keep the planning process in check.

We’ve come to the place where we’ve narrowed the possibilities to a couple clear options: (1) relocate to a larger location in inner SE - while keeping our current building and doing something in pursuit of our Ends here, or (2) open a second store in Lents, Milwaukie, or Montavilla. These options inadvertently became public as a result of a market study conducted in July, and were discussed with Member-Owners at our Annual Meeting on July 15th. (You can read more about that here.)

Now it’s time for us to discuss how to make a decision so that we can move forward, and stay competitive and responsive to our community’s needs. This will include outreach to the membership to inform our options and get more feedback. Events and surveys will happen in the next few months, after which a decision will be made.

The Board and the CM have already heard from a lot of Member-Owners about these plans. Some are excited about the ways that the Co-op might grow and some are very concerned that our current store might close. Many are concerned about how these decisions will be made.

It became clear to members of the Board and the LTPC that a special meeting was necessary in order to answer questions, gain clarity on the input that’s been received, and to hold space for the feelings alive in our community. Unfortunately, we were not able to broadcast this meeting to the entire Member-Ownership because of its last-minute nature.  This is the first time that a special meeting has been called on such short notice in as long as anyone can remember.

We understand that the Co-op is on the precipice of something really big, and that we collectively need to be looking closely at this decision and the process from a wide variety of perspectives.  

Stay tuned for more ways to lend your input as we move into the fall. The LTPC will be holding info and feedback sessions, possibly conducting an electronic survey, as well as holding other special informational and engagement events as part of the decision-making process. Please be in touch with the LTPC if you would like to be involved. For more details about overall the planning process, see peoples.coop/vision.

If you have any questions or concerns, please be in touch with the Board at bod@peoples.coop and the LTPC at planning@peoples.coop. We look forward to talking more with you as things move forward, and hope to see you at upcoming Board meetings and events!

Cooperatively,

The Board of Directors

How We're Deciding: The Long-term Planning Decision Making Process

With the recently announced long-term planning proposals, a lot of Member-Owners have been asking how decisions about our long-term plan will be made, and how decisions are made at the Co-op in general.

Broadly speaking, the Board (elected by you, our Member-Owners) has delegated operational decisions to the Collective Management, a group of about thirty staff members who work in teams and as a whole to run the store. Operational decisions include everything from the products we carry, to worker health care benefits, to the annual budget, to what events we hold, and so much more. The Board's job is to ensure the Co-op is run in a way that is financially responsible, legally sound, and in line with our Ends. The Board keeps tabs on how the Collective and the Co-op are doing via reports about a variety of things: our Ends, financials, our public image, staff satisfaction, and more. To ensure that communication is clear and ongoing, three Collective Managers are currently tasked with providing a link between the Collective and the Board. Additionally, one Collective Manager also serves on the Board of Directors. Of course, Collective Managers and Board directors have individual and positional relationships that encourage other communication and conversations, too.

Included in this, the Board has delegated the decisions regarding growth and expansion to the Collective within certain parameters: that the process takes Member-Owner input into account, that the project is researched for financial feasibility and meets particular financial benchmarks, that the Collective engages appropriate experts outside of the Co-op to support our process and inform our decision, and that our long-term plan advances the Co-op's work towards our Ends.

If the plan or the planning process doesn't meet those qualifications, the Board can require the Collective Management to re-evaluate or change directions in order to fulfill them. The Board also has jurisdiction over real estate acquisitions and any major loans that the Co-op takes on. This means that ultimately they have to be on board with any major plan that the Collective generates in order for it to be able to be implemented.

The long-term planning process that we're currently engaged in started two years ago with the formation of the Long-term Planning Committee. The Committee was charged with investigating how the Co-op could grow in order to move us towards our Ends, but also to address issues arising at the Co-op: that we're maxing out our space which has resulted in low sales growth and that space is tight for customers and staff, among other reasons. (You can read more about that here.)

Our original process map outlines how we're making the decision about our plan! We're almost to Step 4!

Our original process map outlines how we're making the decision about our plan! We're almost to Step 4!

To kick off our research of potential projects, the Long-term Planning Committee organized a series of listening sessions with Member-Owners and community members to hear what their priorities for the Co-op were. There was also space for Member-Owners to share their biggest, wildest dreams for the Co-op as well as what their particular needs from the Co-op are. We also conducted interviews with a number of community organizations (OSALT, Adelante Mujeres, Sisters of the Road, the Portland Mercado, and the Healthy Birth Initiative) that are also doing work towards our Ends to hear about any gaps that might exist that the Co-op would be able to fill. We also surveyed vendors and farmers.

We took the information that we heard during those outreach sessions and came up with some concrete ideas of what long-term projects the Co-op could undertake. As we were narrowing down our ideas, we did so in conversation with the Board of Directors to keep them apprised of our choices. We also had conversations with the Collective and the Board about what might actually be feasible -- financially, logistically, and in terms of our staff capacity.

Not unexpectedly, all of our ideas included expanding our grocery store. After all, running a grocery store is our expertise and increasing our sales is a major way to work on our financial feasibility. From that narrowing by the Collective, the Long-term Planning Committee started to research where else we might be able to open another location in the Portland area. We looked at where our competitors are located or have planned locations, followed leads suggested by Member-Owners and other community members, and talked to lots of folks: community groups and organizations, business associations, nonprofits, city planners, other business owners, and more. We also invited National Cooperative Grocers to do an organizational readiness assessment at People’s and make suggestions. This process narrowed our expansion options to Montavilla, Milwaukie, Lents, as well as relocating to a larger location in our current neighborhood. We enlisted a market research company out of Seattle to look closer at those neighborhoods in terms of their financial capacity to support a new or larger co-op.

Throughout this process, the Long-term Planning Committee has been in conversation with the Board of Directors, bouncing ideas off of them and talking about what the implications of different plans might be for the Co-op and our Member-Owners. We’ve also been really open to other feedback from Member-Owners throughout the process, fielding emails and suggestions -- especially with the recent news break about our narrowed project ideas. We really do want to hear from you, really do value your input, and certainly respect the stake that our Member-Owners have in this business.

So, to summarize:

  • Our Member-Owners and broader community provided their dreams and needs for the co-op

  • The Collective Management figured out how those dreams and needs can be met in a way that’s feasible for the Co-op in the long-term, with guidance and boundaries from the Board, while also addressing our primary reasons for creating this long-term plan.

That brings us to where we are at now! In the next few weeks, the Collective Management will meet to make a final decision about which development project we’re going to pursue: opening a second store in one of the neighborhoods we’ve narrowed to, or relocating to a larger location near our current store. Once we make that decision, we’ll talk more with the Board. We’re also working on organizing feedback sessions for Member-Owners to share their reactions and hear more about the Collective’s decision-making process. We’ll hold at least two of these with twelve Member-Owners each, chosen randomly from folks that express interest in participating (email us at planning@peoples.coop if you’re interested, too). We’ll also have online surveys for folks that want to provide feedback but can’t make it to one of the sessions. We’re planning a third feedback session with other stakeholders, including other members of the co-op community in Portland. These meetings (and all of the other ways that we hear from Member-Owners) will help us to figure out whether we’re on the right track. From there, we’re aiming to make a big formal announcement in the fall Grassroots in October and kick of Co-op Month celebrating that we have a plan (finally!) and talk to more Member-Owners about it.

That’s when implementation starts: working hard to find a location for a new store (whether that’ll be a 2nd store or single larger store) that will meet our practical needs and be as much of an anchor in our community as our current building is; planning a fundraising campaign and seeking loans; figuring out how to grow our staff and maintain our Collective while becoming more nimble and efficient; working out what new things will be in our new space (a deli? a cafe? a bakery?); and so many other details. We’ll need your help with lots of that, and know that this passionate community is ultimately what grounds us and moves us towards our Ends.

Our aim has always been to be transparent and open with our Member-Owners. We know that this process has taken a long time, and that a lot of you have probably been waiting for information and affirmation that you’re central to what we’re doing here. It’s been hard for us, too, that this has taken so long. But we’re moving through the planning process, and we’re beginning to work out the details of our plan. Upcoming phases of our expansion will also be hard and they will also probably take longer than we want them to.

This is also really, really exciting, though. We’re taking this big step together, in an effort to move us toward our Ends and to keep the Co-op viable for another 50 years. What we’re doing at the Co-op is really important, and has started to feel even more crucial lately: we -- this community of Member-Owners -- are providing terrific food to our community, in a way that advocates for the land, animals, farmers, workers, and eaters throughout the food system. We’re doing this not to make profit, but to provide a service to our community and an alternative to corporate business-as-usual. That’s important, compelling work that we can only keep doing if we figure out a way to grow together. That’s what this long-term plan is for.

So, let’s talk about it! If you have any questions or want any clarification, we really urge you to be in touch with the Long-term Planning Committee at planning@peoples.coop. Please let us know, too, if you are interested in being a part of our feedback sessions in September. Here’s another recent blog post with updates about the options that we are currently considering. If you want more context about why the Co-op is talking about expanding, check out peoples.coop/vision and always feel free to be in touch with the Long-term Planning Committee by emailing planning@poeples.coop. A reminder that Member-Owners are also always invited to attend Board of Directors meetings, which happen on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 6pm, with free dinner starting at 5:30pm. 

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 operationally 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.

Once the initial project of relocating or opening a second store is established, we vision researching and selecting one of the following projects to implement in time: a kitchen for the o-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 planning@peoples.coop.

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 (planning@peoples.coop)! 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 peoples.coop/vision and always feel free to be in touch with the Long-term Planning Committee by emailing planning@peoples.coop.

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.

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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 sofie@peoples.coop. 

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

Sofie Sherman-Burton, Marketing + Membership Manager/Comanager

Friday

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

10:30-11:30am

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

3-5pm

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. 

Saturday

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

10-11am

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.

Sunday

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

From sacredstonecamp.org

From sacredstonecamp.org

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!

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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.

SET-UP, TEAR-DOWN, & CLEAN-UP

  • 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.

TRANSACTIONS WITH PATRONS

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).

CANCELLATIONS

  • Should you need to cancel, please notify us as soon as possible by emailing sofie@peoples.coop.
  • 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. 

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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! 

INVEST

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!

SHOP

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! 

 

LEARN

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!