Decolonizing Turmeric with Diaspora Co.

By Sofie Sherman-Burton, Marketing & Membership Manager and Comanager

The prospect of building alternatives to totally unjust food systems built on the exploitation of people and the land for the benefit of a handful of corporate executives is… really daunting. Lucky for all of us, Sana Javeri Kadri wasn’t too intimidated to take on the spice industry. 

Sana founded Diaspora Co. turmeric in the summer of 2017. A year before, after graduating from college, she had seen turmeric exploding in popularity and questioned who was benefiting from this boom. So Sana flew home to India to find farmers growing turmeric to start her own single origin spice company.

At first, finding a farmer that was growing exceptional turmeric using sustainable growing methods was harder than Sana anticipated. Many turmeric farmers, stuck in the cycle of industrialized agriculture, spray their turmeric crops with pesticides. Thankfully, Sana connected with the Indian Institute of Spices Research, who had both seeds for heirloom turmeric and connections with farmers that were willing to grow it for her. 

Sana ended up partnering with Mr. Prabhu, a fourth generation turmeric farmer who grows his turmeric without the use of pesticides and is in the second year of the organic certification process, which takes three years. The heirloom turmeric that he grows requires less water and is higher in curcumin, the chemical that makes turmeric so yellow and delivers the spice’s health benefits; about 4.6% compared to less than 2.5% in most commercial turmeric (if it has any at all). Diaspora Co. turmeric is also super fresh. Batches of turmeric grown in the last year are milled three times annually which is great for making sure that turmeric’s floral flavor is intact and helps maintain the curcumin potency. 

Mr. Prabhu’s farm is run by his family except during the harvest season when he pays the workers he hires considerably more than neighboring farms. All of this is reflected in the price that Diaspora Co. pays him for his turmeric: $1.50 to $1.50 per pound, which is significantly higher than the market rate of 15¢ per pound. 

But that’s not even all of it. As a queer woman of color, Sana wanted to be sure to make social justice a central part of Diaspora Co. Paying Mr. Prabhu so much more than the conventional spice market and prioritizing heirloom, organic turmeric is part of that. Those efforts work to decolonize and disrupt the corporate spice trade, with its history mired in colonial conquest. Paying Indian farmers generously also creates a less exploitative system of buying and trading an indigenous, culturally significant crop. Sana is also always looking at other ways to make Diaspora Co. radically inclusive in everything from hiring to business operations. That means hiring queer folks and people of color and deciding to pack all of the turmeric in-house instead of hiring a larger packing company to do it for her. It also means wrestling with decisions like selling Diaspora Co. on Amazon and being transparent about why. 

When I get down thinking about just how bad our food system is and all of the powerful structures that keep it in place, companies like Diaspora Co. give me a little faith that we can build systems that are better for people and the planet. The only question is, how can I eat way more turmeric? Luckily, Diaspora Co. compiled a sweet zine of recipes, including the two hot beverages below.

Turmeric Coffee.JPG

Turmeric Coffee

This little recipe finally convinced me to put butter in my coffee, and now I am a zealot! It tempers the effects of the caffeine and is gentler on my guts. The Ancient Organics ghee is particularly delicious and offers delicious nutty notes. If you don’t have a blender, I’ve found that vigorously shaking this mixture in a mason jar (wrapped in a towel I don’t mind staining with turmeric) works pretty well. 

  • 1 cup brewed coffee

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon ghee

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric

  • ½ teaspoon coconut sugar or 1 ½ inch piece of jaggery

  • Pinch of ground cardamom (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened hemp or almond milk

Add your hot coffee to the blender along with the ghee, turmeric, sweetener of choice, and non-dairy milk. Add a pinch of cardamom if you’re feeling like it! 

Give it a quick high-powered blend (about 30 seconds), just to make sure the ghee emulsifies and the mixture becomes foamy. 

If you over blend, you risk the fat separating, which will give you a weird gloopy drink. Gloopy drink woes can be remedied by adding a splash more boiling hot water or coffee to the blender to melt the ghee back into the mixture. 

Pour the ghee coffee into a mug and enjoy!

Turmeric Tonic Tea

  • 3 inches whole fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch pieces

  • 1 heaping teaspoon turmeric

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 2 cups filtered water

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon raw honey (optional)

Add the ginger to a saucepan over medium-high heat, along with the turmeric, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil. 

Allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes to steep and infuse the ginger and turmeric. If you are sick or want a more fiery and strong tonic, increase the heat back up to medium high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Repeat the process of boiling and simmering three more times. Then strain the liquid into a mug and enjoy!

Herbal Infused Syrups for Winter Wellness

By Brita Zeiler, Bulk Herb & Tea Buyer and Comanager

Herbal infused syrups are concentrated herbal teas, preserved in sugar or honey. Historically, herbal syrups were used to sweeten the taste of bitter medicinal herbs to make them more palatable and prolong preservation. They are a versatile alternative to alcohol-based tinctures for children or people avoiding alcohol. The classic herbal syrup many of us employ during cold & flu season is elderberry syrup, used to stimulate immune function and fight infection. 

Herbal infused syrups can be made for both medicine or for flavoring. Syrups can be added to teas, cocktails or mocktails, made into herbal sodas, or simply eaten by the spoonful with delight. It is a fun and creative process: let your favorite sweet flavors guide you!

For adults, add a tablespoon of this syrup to hot tea, a hot toddy, sparkling water for an herbal soda, spoon over ice cream, or simply eat by the spoonful. Adjust dosage to 1 teaspoon for children. 

Herbal Sore Throat & Cough Syrup

This herbal syrup can be used to prevent a cold, or used during an acute cough or sore throat to soothe and increase recovery time. Syrups can be a great alternative to alcohol-based tinctures for children and people avoiding alcohol. They are also fun and delicious! 

Elecampane root is an expectorant, supporting the respiratory tract move excess mucus out of the system. It is also rich in inulin, a prebiotic that supports beneficial gut flora. Other herbs & spices bolster the immune system while adding a delicious earthy spiced flavor. 

  • ¼ cup dried rosehips

  • ¼ cup red clover blossoms

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon chips

  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger

  • 1 teaspoon dried elecampane root

  • 3 whole cloves

  • 1 quart water

  • 1-2 cups sugar or honey, depending on your preferred sweetness/sweetener

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium size pot. Add the herb and spice mixture to the pot of water, and reduce heat to a simmer. Maintain a simmer while stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 2 cups. Strain herbal infusion and return it to a clean pot. Add 1-2 cups of sweetener to the pot with strained herbal infusion. Dissolve the sugar or honey on low heat, stirring to ensure the pan doesn’t scorch. Once the sugars are completely dissolved, transfer syrup to a jar or bottle. Store herbal syrup in the fridge for up to 6 weeks – but it is unlikely it will last that long!

Endless Grey Days Creativity-Inspiring Syrup

This heart-opening blend is both delicious and tonifying to the heart and circulatory system. The sweet and spicy flavors of peppercorn, damiana, fennel cardamom, rose, and vanilla open the senses to joy, pleasure, and possibility. Together, these herbs open energetic and circulatory pathways to allow creativity to flourish. 

  • ¼ cup rose petals

  • 1 tablespoon hawthorn berries

  • 1 teaspoon damiana

  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 5 cardamom pods

  • ¼ teaspoon ground vanilla bean, or vanilla extract

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium size pot. Add the herb and spice mixture to the pot of water, and reduce heat to a simmer. Maintain a simmer while stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 2 cups. Strain herbal infusion and return it to a clean pot. Add 1-2 cups of sweetener to the pot with strained herbal infusion. Dissolve the sugar or honey on low heat, stirring to ensure the pan doesn’t scorch. Once the sugars are completely dissolved, transfer syrup to a jar or bottle. Store herbal syrup in the fridge for up to 6 weeks – but it is unlikely it will last that long!

What makes wine organic?

By Ryan Gaughn, Alcohol Buyer and Comanager

Curating the wine selection at People’s is so much fun, but not always easy. As the alcohol buyer, it’s my burden to make challenging choices between a beautiful world of all the wines I want to carry, and the limited space we have in the store for them. I am guided by one principle which you, loyal wine enthusiasts, have repeatedly asked for in the selection: organic wines.

Customers, Member-Owners, and staff often approach me with the question, “Why aren’t there more organic wines at People’s?” It turns out that many of the wines in our selection are made from grapes grown organically, but you wouldn’t be able to tell with a cursory view.  

Over the years I have cultivated relationships with vendor partners at People’s, who I meet with regularly to try out new bottles for our selection.  These vendors know in advance that the wines I’m interested in need to meet the Co-op’s buying guidelines; non-GMO, vegetarian/vegan, and organic, whenever possible. They also need to be affordable to most of the people who shop here.

As a result, there are many bottles on the shelf that contain organically grown grapes, and many others which also qualify as Biodynamic (a process of land stewardship that takes organic farming to the next level.) Montinore Vineyards of Forest Grove, OR, the largest organic and biodynamic vineyard and winery in the country, is strongly represented. There are other French and Italian bottles which also come from wine growing regions where organic farming has been a standard since long before the authorities gave it a name.

Why, then, aren’t these wines labelled clearly with a USDA “Organic” certification label, so that customers can readily see that information? The two most prominent answers are sulphur-dioxide, and economies of scale.

As a food ingredient, Sulphur-dioxide, or SO2, is used in preserving dried fruit. “Sulphurized” fruits retain more of their original coloring, and are generally shelf stable for longer periods of time. The addition of SO2 to food is considered by the USDA to be too much human intervention to qualify a product as organic. Thus, you will never find organic yellow raisins, or organic bright orange dried apricots.

In the world of wine making, sulphurization is very common. Fermented grapes, like most fruit, contain naturally occuring levels of sulphur. Winemakers will add SO2 to wine as a stabilizing agent. Because wine must often travel great distances, be stored in multiple settings, sometimes at fluctuating temperatures, sulphur plays an important role in preserving the wine between winery and consumer. Many wineries, such as Montinore, are certified organic, but also add SO2 to the finished product for quality control reasons.  

In contrast, you will find a select few bottles in our selection which do have USDA organic labels. These are produced by Frey Vineyards, of California. Frey sources grapes from Certified Organic vineyards, but they refrain from adding sulphur-dioxide to the finish product.

Because the addition of SO2 disqualifies U.S. wines from organic certification, many winemakers bypass the certification altogether. Emphasis on quality control and brand consistency outweigh the marketing advantage of a USDA Organic symbol, even if the vineyard goes to great lengths to grow grapes organically.  Furthermore, wine is unique in agriculture in that many consumers travel at length to visit the places where the grapes are grown. This exposure to the fields and techniques of wineries, generates a wine enthusiast culture in which growing methods must be of high caliber in order for wines to be valued as exceptional.

This winter, I invite you to try out some of my favorite wines featuring organic and biodynamic grown grapes!

Montinore Estate: Pinot Noir (Vegan) 

Forest Grove, OR

$17.99

It's hard to find a Pinot that reflects its place, is farmed biodynamically, and offers such complexity at this price point. Made to drink now, as a "go to" wine, but you'll feel like you're drinking a special occasion bottle. Plush red fruit, fine tannins and round texture. Delicious and balanced, and can pair with everything from savory slow cooked beans to fresh seasonal vegetables.

Frey: Agriculturist (Certified Organic & Vegan) Red Wine    

Mendocino County, California

$11.79

An approachable blend of family-farmed grapes. Bright garnet hue with a sturdy structure and grippy character that has a remarkable ability to pair with most foods. Gather around the table or fireside and enjoy a smooth, lingering finish.

Troon Vineyards: Vermentino

Applegate Valley, 

Southern Oregon

$14.49

Exceptionally fragrant and fresh, but not at all a light wine, it offers surprising richness on the palate with a savory, creamy freshness. All of Troon's vineyards are Certified Salmon Safe, and they are currently in transition to organic and biodynamic certification.  An incredible expression of Southern Oregon winemaking.

Wrestling with Values & Growth: A Long-term Planning Update

Since the summer of 2018, the Collective Management has been actively investigating opening a second store in the Lents Town Center near SE 92nd & Foster. That process has included gathering feedback from current Member-Owners, engaging with folks that live near the proposed second store about their thoughts and concerns, taking a look at our staff capacity, and putting together financial projections about how a second store could work out.

While some Member-Owners have expressed concern about the possibility of a second store in Lents, many others have shared their support for a People’s in a new neighborhood. We’ve also heard widespread enthusiasm from the Lents community about the possibility of a People’s there, as well as some questions about how to make sure that the store reflects the neighborhood and its needs.

As we consider both staff capacity and how it interacts with the financial projections for a store in Lents, things become more complicated. The Collective has struggled with high turnover for the past few years, and in 2018 that meant investing significant time (and therefore money) training and supporting new staff. At the same time, our financial projections tell us that if a second store in Lents is going to be successful, we need to decrease our labor hours and expenses significantly. And with sales declining steadily, maintaining that high labor percentage costs to the Co-op more, proportionate to what we’re bringing in. If we’re going to open a second store and run it successfully, we’re going to need to operate this business much more efficiently.

This presents a conundrum because of the way that we run our business. Of course, operating the Co-op sustainably and making a profit is an important part of our work – that’s a huge reason why we’ve invested so much time and money trying to create a long-term plan that will work for People’s. But there are other things that we value, too! We have a democratic workplace where all workers get to have a say in the decisions that are made about how the store is run. We’re also committed to confronting and dismantling systems of oppression that show up here, including: white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and classism. We make decisions about how to care for our building or supply the store that are sometimes more expensive because they are better for the earth or workers throughout the supply chain. And we try to compensate workers fairly for the work that they do here, including a generous health care package and a wage scale that doesn’t distinguish between different kinds of work.

Unlike many other businesses that prioritize economic returns over how they do business or decide to do the work outlined above only when its convenient, working to live out the values expressed in our Ends is a central part of our work at People’s. It’s what makes this place different and is one reason why the Co-op is so important to so many people.

The Collective is working hard to figure out what it will look like for the staff to reduce our labor expenses while maintaining or even growing our sales. We’re reaching out to the broader co-op community for help and guidance, and communicating closely with the Board about the changes we are working towards. We hope that we can do this work within a time frame that will work for the Lents Town Center project because we are really excited about what we could bring to Lents and are invested in the relationships that we’ve already formed there. We’ll have more information to share about how we’ll be proceeding in the spring, but for now we are taking time to focus on our internal operations and the work that needs to happen for us to be ready to grow.

If you have skills, questions, or input to offer, we always welcome them. Feel free to reach out to the Long-term Planning Committee at planning@peoples.coop.

Stinging Kombucha Hot Sauce

By Paul Conrad, Member-Owner

In the beginning, there was Tabasco. Throughout most of the 20th century, supermarket shelves offered few other alternatives for folks that wanted more heat to their eats. But as diverse communities grew and thrived in this country, and as more eaters began sampling cuisines from all over the world, their palates were exposed to the distinctive burns of pepper sauces from Asia, Central and South America, and Africa that they may not have experienced before. Today, Tabasco Sauce shares the condiment shelf with hot sauces such as Thai Sriracha, Mexican Cholula, Korean Gochujang, as well as a selection of the hundreds of other hot sauces that have hit the market over the past couple decades.

Annual US hot sauce sales have passed the billion dollar mark after increasing 150% since 2000. There are hot sauces containing bourbon and other liquors, tropical fruits, green apples, blueberries, garlic, bacon flavoring, and on and on. There is, however, only one hot sauce made with kombucha, and People’s was the first store to sell it

Stinging Kombucha Hot Sauce was created by Portland chef Karel Vitek. For thirteen years, he and his wife Monka ran Tabor, a famed downtown food cart serving what Karel describes as Czech “grandmother” food, traditional goulash, stews, and dumplings. But as he was serving up food whose zingiest ingredients were black pepper and Hungarian paprika, Karel developed a taste for hot sauce. Starting with Tabasco, he kept searching for more and more heat, but while his taste buds craved the burn, his gut paid the price. Most hot sauces consist of roasted peppers and other ingredients in a vinegar base. As Karel’s palate developed an increasing tolerance for pepper heat, the unpleasant sour of the vinegar began to dominate.

More than a decade ago Karel began to experiment with kombucha as a hot sauce base. Kombucha is by far the most popular product in People’s Food Co-op’s beverage coolers, with 10 different brands and over 30 different flavors. These products all begin with sweetened tea fermented by a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Kombucha beverages are tangy, naturally effervescent, and are touted for their probiotic, antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Karel is definitely a kombucha believer and extols these benefits on the Stinging Kombucha website (kombuchahotsauce.com). But kombucha’s unique sweet/sour flavor and living nature are what inspired him to build his hot sauce around it. “A mature kombucha has about the same pH (acidity) as vinegar, but has sweetness and is less bitey and obtrusive. It doesn’t leave the sour aftertaste vinegar does,” Karel notes.

Since kombucha is a living, fermenting process, its sweet to sour ratio changes over time as its sugars are consumed. This gave Karel plenty of opportunity to experiment with different acidity levels. During the first year or so of the development process, it also left him with plenty of messes to clean up when early iterations of his recipe burst in the refrigerator as fermentation ran out of control.

After years of experimentation, he settled on a three-step fermentation process. First, ferment the kombucha to the point where just about all the sugar is digested and the culture is practically dormant. Next, revive the culture by adding a melange of four different carefully roasted hot pepper varieties and allow this mixture to ferment to near dormancy. Then, add the final ingredients, bottle the not-quite-finished product and chill it, allowing Stinging Kombucha Hot Sauce to continue a slow fermentation process while under refrigeration. It matures and develops more flavor and depth as it waits in your refrigerator.

What about those additional ingredients, eggplant and red-cabbage sauerkraut? The eggplant gives Stinging Kombucha Hot Sauce extra body so that it stays on your food rather than leaching through onto the plate. The sauerkraut is the result of further synergy.

“For years, some buddies and I have been having weekly get-togethers at The BeerMongers down on 12th and Division,” Karel recalls. “We drink beer and talk politics and whatever. Most evenings I’d bring in samples of the different recipes I was working on for the guys to try. They most always preferred the ones that had sauerkraut in them. It seems to bring everything together and seal the deal.”

And what a deal it is. The variety of peppers (serrano, habanero, cayenne and sweet chili) produce a complex flavor profile that changes as it lingers in your mouth. It’s a pleasant burn but not an inferno. Best of all, it won’t leave your taste buds blasted. It makes its statement and then subsides, leaving you still able to savor your dish. It augments without overpowering. As Karel says, “I believe the kombucha base gives the heat experience a soft landing.”

Dealing with a living product creates challenges for Karel’s growing business. The vast majority of hot sauces are shelf stable and inhabit the condiment section in the grocery aisles. Since Stinging Kombucha Hot Sauce must reside in the refrigerated section, it doesn’t get to grab the eyeballs of shoppers scanning the condiment shelf looking for a new flavor experience. Friends have suggested he cook his sauce down to stop fermentation and make it shelf stable. Karel won’t hear of it. He is passionate about his living, changing hot sauce.

Just how passionate is illustrated by the way Karel and family use Stinging Kombucha Hot Sauce at home. “We keep Stinging Kombucha in a small ceramic crock out on the kitchen counter,” Karel says. “It continues to ferment and gets fizzy and smells great and never tastes the same way twice.” 

It’s hard to imagine a more vivid and flavorful example of a “living food.” Look for it in the refrigerated section at People’s, next to the kombuchas that inspired it.

We've Reduced Our SNAP Match to $5 & We Are Really Sad About It

By Ashley Todd, Farmers’ Market Coordinator and comanager

Nearly four years ago I started working with Farmers Market Fund to secure federal funding to increase our Farmers’ Market SNAP Match from $5 to $10. This program gives folks using SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps) extra money to spend at the Farmers’ Market, which helps both folks on low incomes and local farmers and food producers. Doubling our match from $5 to $10  seemed like a total long shot, and I wasn’t sure how the more restrictive benefits required by the federal grant would be received by our shoppers. But I figured we had nothing to lose, so I gave it a go. 

When we received the funding, the impact on our community was immediate. Customers lined up each week, eager to spend their additional food dollars on local produce and handcrafted foods. Vendors benefitted too, watching their market earnings steadily increase as people spent more each market day. Over the 3 years we offered the $10 match, hundreds of families spent their additional food dollars supporting dozens of local farmers and producers. While all the work we do here at People’s is driven by our values, The Farmers’ Market’s SNAP Match program is one of the clearest ways I have seen us working toward our Ends of “access to healthful foods our customers can trust” and “thriving cooperative & local economies.”

Unfortunately, in late 2017 we found out that our federal funding was drying up, due to the Federal Government’s increasing demand that programs be “innovative” and tech-driven, rather than simply being helpful. But it felt so important – and so good – to provide such a tangible benefit to the community, so we decided to continue funding the program in 2018 ourselves. We worked out a plan to keep offering the $10 Match, using a combination of People’s money, round-up drives at the register, and a generous donation from Farmers’ Market Fund.

In late 2018, as we neared the end of our fiscal year, we were again faced with the question of how to continue funding the $10 SNAP Match. Alas, the outlook was not as good as it had been the year before. While the success of the program was certainly a boon to our shoppers and vendors, it was fantastically expensive for People’s; in 2018 we distributed nearly $24,000 in SNAP matching funds. 

In addition to not having adequate cash available to  continue funding a $10 match ourselves, we also can not afford to pay staff to work on the intensive fundraising campaign that would be required to cover the nearly $12,000 budget shortfall. We are super bummed to have cut a benefit that we know really impacts people’s lives. More than 60 families per week have been using the SNAP Match program, and spending nearly $24,000 in matching dollars alone with our vendors. The impact of reducing the match to $5 is not insignificant, and we know some folks in our community will really feel that loss.

We still believe, deeply, in the power of communities to support and take care of each other. And we believe that the Co-op has a role in building that kind of community of support & care. In 2019, we hope to find a way to bring the match back up to $10. If you have ideas or fundraising skills you’d like to share, or if you’d like to make a contribution to our SNAP Match fund, please contact me at ashley.todd@peoples.coop.

On Sale: Wreaths by the Mujeres Luchadores Progresistas

We are thrilled to be able to sell wreaths made by the Mujeres Luchadores Progresistas this December! The wreaths are on sale for $40, with $35 going straight to the Mujeres Luchadores Progresistas who make 1000 wreaths each year.

The wreath-making project employs at least 10 women part-time during three months in the winter, when farm work is rare and families struggle to pay for basic necessities. The money made selling wreaths goes to families’ household expenses like rent, utilities, warm clothing, food, and holiday expenses, as well as to support the year round efforts of the Mujeres Luchadores Progresistas.

cropped-img_1820.jpg

Since 1992, the Mujeres Luchadores Progresistas (or Women Fighting for Progress) have been making wreaths every winter to support work of the nonprofit. The organization of farmworker women, born out of Oregon’s farmworker union PCUN, creates economic development opportunities and promotes leadership for women in their communities, as well as advocates for improved living and working conditions. Their goals include:

  • Developing stronger women’s leadership within the farmworker movement and larger community through plans created and carried out by farmworker women to address their needs and reality;

  • Creating a vehicle for mutual support among farmworker women;

  • Developing an organized, collective response to home and workplace issues and conditions which discriminate against or oppress women;

  • Continuing their radio program “Mujeres de la Comunidad” on 95.9FM Radio Movimiento: La Voz del Pueblo in order to share basic health information for women;

  • Creating paths through which farmworker women can provide themselves greater economic independence.

You can read more about the Mujeres Luchadores Progresistas and their work by visiting their website.



Supporting Indigenous Communities This Thanksgiving

While many of us take time every November to see family and friends, share a good meal, and express thanks, the Thanksgiving holiday has a past that is mired in the violence of colonization. Support Indigenous people this week by donating to and sharing information about these organizations doing incredible work to support native communities:

This might even be an opportunity to pass the hat at a gathering that you attend and start a conversation about the different causes each of these organizations seek to address.

Celebration Wines for the Season of Feasts!

This week, our Alcohol Buyer Ryan Gaughan put some of our favorite organic wines (and a cider, too!) on sale to help you make meals with friends and family extra special. These wines also make fantastic gifts and would be welcome at any dinner party, making it well worth your while to stock up or order a whole case for all the special celebrations ahead. These deals are all good through the end of the day on Thursday, November 22nd. We’ll also be sampling a handful of these within the next few days, so stop by and try before you buy!

Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

montinore pnot noir.jpg

$22.99 (reg. $26.99)

From certified Organic and Biodynamic vineyards. This is the best expression of Pinot Noir from the estate in Forest Grove, OR. It is high toned and elegant with a velvety texture and a lingering finish with notes of cherry, plum, spice and earthy quality. This wine drinks far higher than its price point and is good now but will age beautifully for years to come.




Montinore Pinot Gris

montinore pinot gris.jpg

$11.49 (reg. $12.49)

From certified Organic and Biodynamic vineyards. This dry style Pinot Gris begins with aromatics of bright citrus and tropical fruit that lead to a firm foundation of apple, mango and a hint of savory and spice on the palate, finishing crisp and bright.



Montinore Vivacé Sparkling Wine

montinore vivace.jpg

$15.29 reg. $17.99

From certified Organic and Biodynamic vineyards. Vivacé is Italian for, "in a brisk, spirited manner," which perfectly describes this aromatic sparkling wine full of citrus, honey, melon, and floral notes. It is fun, fresh, and vibrant with a creamy texture and bright finish. The Gewurztraminer, Muller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Riesling that make up this blend is all estate grown in Forest Grove, OR.


Woodbox Ice Cider

$16.99 (reg. $19.99)

Ice cider is a special alcoholic apple cider made from frozen apple juice, which concentrates the sugars and results in a higher alcohol content than other ciders. Woodbox’s Ice Cider is aged 6 months in whiskey barrels – the result is layer upon layer of dark caramel, bourbon notes, and a balanced flavorful finish. Cryo-concentrated to four times its normal strength for a warming feeling through and through.

Try it in the store this Tuesday, November 20th from 3-6pm!


Syncline Seduction Red

syncline.jpg

$16.99 (reg. $19.99)

A Washington red inspired by the Rhone valley, this blend mimics a great Cotes du Rhone. It exhibits black cherry, raspberry, baking spice, and black pepper aromas and flavors. The bright, fresh finish provides a versatile wine that is compatible with many foods and occasions. This winery is Organic and Biodynamic.

Try it in the store this Wednesday, November 21st from 2-5pm!



Reyneke Vinehugger White Wine

reyneke.jpg

$12.49 (reg. $14.49)

Reyneke is certified organic and is the first farm in South Africa to achieve Demeter International biodynamic certification. This wine is dry and extremely food friendly, expressing notes of honeysuckle, melon, yellow apple, with a lingering minerality.

Try it in the store this Wednesday, November 21st from 2-5pm!




J. Christopher Pinot Noir

j christopher.jpg

$23.99 (reg. $27.99)

An outstanding representation of naturally made Oregon wine, this is light-medium weight with lots of complexity of strawberry, cola, and spice. It has depth and complexity that lasts long beyond the finish with velvety smooth texture. This wine will pair well with cooked grains and roasted vegetables.

Try it in the store this Wednesday, November 21st from 2-5pm!







Bounty Baskets 2018

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

We donate these baskets every November to support those with limited access to healthful foods. Around Thanksgiving especially, we are called to address the harm caused by colonization. Settler colonialism and white supremacy limit many of our community members' access to resources, and we aim to share the abundance and generosity of local vendors to directly support those at the intersections of these oppressions at this time of year. This work fulfills our Ends of social and economic justice as well as progressive land stewardship.

Bounty Baskets will be allotted on Friday, November 16th by a random number generator. You must have completed an application to be eligible for a basket. We will update this post if any baskets are still available after November 16th. As we have a limited quantity of baskets available, please assess your personal need before applying for a basket.

Applications are now closed.

Only 80 baskets are available, and baskets are limited to one per household. A link to the online application is available above, and paper applications are available at the register in the store. If there are still baskets available after that Friday, Nov. 16th, the remaining baskets will be allotted first-come, first-serve based on application date and time.

Basket pick-up will be on Wednesday November 21st from 4-8pm in the Community Room. The Community Room is located up a flight of stairs. It is accessible by elevator lift as well – 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:

  • Tofurky and Tofurky Gravy

  • Organic produce: yams, potatoes, squash, onions, garlic, greens, apples

  • One pie crust & one can of pumpkin pie mix

  • $10 voucher for the People’s Farmers Market on Wednesdays 2-7pm

  • Other food items: 1 can cranberry jelly, a loaf of bread, and tortillas

Basket contents may vary. If you have any questions, please email marketing_membership@peoples.coop. If you need any help in filling out an application, please feel free to call the co-op, and a worker will walk through the application and fill it out on your behalf.

Many thanks to our generous vendors who donated! We couldn’t do this without them.

 

Melchemy Craft Mead: Makers in the Forest

By Ryan Gaughn, Alcohol Buyer

As the alcohol buyer at the Co-op, it’s one of my great pleasures to discover new, exciting beverages for our shelves – products which stand out from the crowd and speak to the place we share on this planet.  Mead is one of these specialties that, with a somewhat undeserved bad reputation, is nevertheless perhaps one of the truest expressions of our region’s flora.

Mead is known as the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage. It is the end product of fermented honey, water, and additional botanicals. Evidence of human production of mead dates as far back as 7000 BC in China, where found pottery remnants contain chemical clues of the beverage. Mead has played a prominent role in Greek and Scandinavian early civilization, where it was often produced in places or times when making wine from grapes was not available (or not yet known of). Several centuries of innovations in alcohol production – beer and various liquors, primarily – and the international transport of wine resulted in greatly decreased mead production, to the point where it was almost forgotten.

03-IMG_5404.JPG

In recent years, the Pacific Northwest has seen a burgeoning revival of this ancient delight. Spurred by innovation (and an overtapped beer market) but definitely rooted in a quest to continue the legacy of PNW craft beverage exceptionalism – mead producers in Oregon & Washington have dug up the old techniques, and thrown out the overly sweet amateur mead stand-ins. Just as wine and cider consumers have grown accustomed to terroir – the idea that the ingredients in an alcoholic beverage can impart a sense of the place in which they are grown – so, too, does honey production suggest the flavors of plants and crops in our bioregion. Bees, afterall, are critical players in modern human survival, being responsible for a massive portion of the pollination required in industrial farming, both conventional and organic.

I’m very pleased to present Melchemy Craft Mead as a harbinger of the great things to come for this category of alcohol.  Produced by two friends, Tim and Jeffree, from their beautiful communal home and farm property in Carson, WA, Melchemy Mead holds many values – as a brand and a product – that are in alignment with the Ends Statement at People’s:

A passionate community working together for sustainability, progressive land and animal stewardship, human rights, social and economic justice.

My visit to Melchemy began shortly after a trip over Bridge of the Gods, and into the beginning of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Southern Washington. The property is nestled into a  tree lined mountain side, and it doesn’t take long to feel as if you’ve left much of the contemporary world behind. It’s difficult to believe that not that long ago colonizing interests coordinated the large scale clear cutting of timber in this region. In fact, the land we were standing on was probably devoid of vegetation in the mid-20th century, like much of this part of the Columbia Gorge, as trees were pulled from the land en masse to fund the accumulation of capital.

“We have a neighbor who logged in this area,” Jeffree tells me.  “He can tell you exactly which acres came down, for miles. It’s a source of pride for him, and many people in this community.”

07-IMG_5012.JPG

Jeffree’s speaking to a reality of life and economic existence in the region which has profound implications. The land we’re standing on as we talk is the ancestral home of the Wishram Tribe, members of what is currently known as the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. For centuries, the Wishram harvested food from the forest and the great river which flowed below it. As this area was colonized, workers from around the world were imported to extract seemingly endless natural resources.

In current Carson, WA – as in much of Skamania County – the remnants of small, colonizer communities linger around a severely diminished timber industry. For much of the latter part of the 20th century, environmentalists and the timber industry in this region engaged in struggles mutually held as critical for human survival and prosperity under the backdrop of the Gifford Pinchot, some of the last remaining, pristine rainforest in the state.

“How do you make money in the forest, other than cutting down trees?” Jeffree asks. It’s a great question, because the geography of land here – mountainous, rugged – prohibits large scale agriculture and urbanity from sprawling along its surface.

Addressing this question, and breathing new economic (and sustainable) life into Skamania County is a key component of Melchemy’s mission. Tim and Jeffree routinely participate in the South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative, a democratic multi-stakeholder advocacy organization frequently attended by the U.S. Forest Service. It’s part of a next generation of forest preservation, in which environmentalists, logging communities, tribes, and business owners meet to talk face to face about balancing the survival of the forest with the economy of sustainable logging. Melchemy Craft Mead has a place in that, operating as a small business with a big mission: build a producer and service economy in the region with as minimal environmental impact as possible.

Beehives kept on the land represent that work. The homestead employs biodynamic farming practices, in which the plants and animals of the surrounding area, along with the seasonal elements of wind, sun, and rain, are integrated into land use decisions. The bees here collect pollen from the Wind River Valley, imparting terroir into the honey they produce. While some of the honey harvested from their hives ends up in Melchemy products, much more is needed to achieve the 17 gallons required for a 275 bottle batch. Priorities are placed on sourcing the most local honey possible, with 10% coming from an ultra local network of beekeepers, and the remainder being sourced from elsewhere in the Columbia Gorge and the Willamette Valley.

Jeffree and Tim are quick to dispel what appears to be a growing piece of misinformation, perhaps promulgated by new mead producers, that increased production of honey counteracts the diminishment of bee populations. Many consumers have become aware of Colony Collapse Disorder, and other complications in bee survival that have been publicized in recent years.  Much of the threat to bees is directly correlated to their interstate transportation for agricultural purposes – primarily to California, and especially for almond tree pollination – and the bees’ exposure to transport stress, pesticides, and herbicides throughout the duration of their work in the fields. While it would be ideal for Melchemy to source honey exclusively from beekeepers who do not participate in this practice, it is simply not economically feasible for them to do so and keep their prices accessible. “The economy values bees for pollination fees,” Tim tells me. “The honey is a by-product.”

Melchemy believes very strongly in this degree of transparency in what they do – from the ingredients sourced for their mead, to their place as landowners and business people in their community. Each bottle produced is hand numbered; you can view the ingredients used in the bottle and their sourcing by visiting their website and correlating the batch number. Their website, www.melchemy.wine, also contains a great deal of information about the mead making process and the founders’ philosophy of land stewardship and community development. One exciting piece of this for me is their commitment to developing Melchemy as a worker-owned business. Both partners want to participate in a business that directly profits the people who produce its products, rather than a small group of investors.

MELCHEMY meads.JPG

I invite you to enjoy Melchemy Craft Mead this upcoming fall and winter. This mead is a perfect compliment to feasting in the colder months, and a lively addition to cheer around the dinner table. We currently carry “Uprooted” – infused with ginger, turmeric, and peppercorn – and blackberry-infused “Triple Bee”. Both are aged in oak barrels, and are not overly sweet or syrupy.

These meads retail at $21.99, but are on sale at $18.99 throughout the month of October. Come give them a try!






Apply for the Winter Craft Fair!

Every December, we invite artists, crafters, and artisans to help us put on a winter craft fair in the Community Room! This year, the fair is on Wednesday, December 12th from 2-7 pm during the Farmers’ Market. We’re hoping for a diverse array of offerings, and are inviting potential vendors to apply for the Winter Craft Fair by Wednesday, October 24th. If you are interested, please apply!

We’ve had a wide array of vendors in the past, including:

DSC_0964.jpg
  • Woodworkers

  • Clothing makers

  • Zinesters, card makers, journal crafters and other paper product creators

  • Candle creators

  • Folks that make body care products

  • Ceramicists

  • Knitters

  • Stained glass makers

  • Jewelers

  • Jam makers

  • And more!

If you have any questions or concerns, please email gabi@peoples.coop.

October is Co-op Month!

Own it this October!

It’s Co-op Month, the best time to invest!

Member-Owners are the reason that our Co-op exists. From the very beginning, People’s has been formed and molded by folks that saw a need to put in the time, work, and money to make this place get started and keep going. Member-Owner investments in the Co-op mean that we can tend to the needs of our space, our business, and our community.

We’re able to keep this special kind of business going because of all of the people that show up and invest in their belief in an alternative and the difference People’s offers. Every year during October, we take a moment to appreciate the work that we all do to keep this place going: whether that’s shopping, working, or purchasing a share of the Co-op.

To say thanks for being here, for investing, and for sharing this Co-op with us, there are some special incentives for investing in People’s:

incentives_onblue.jpg
  • Invest $15+: Equal Exchange Chocolate Bar + Reusable Stainless Steel Straw

  • Invest $30+: Chocolate + Straw + Reusable Produce Bags designed by local artist Tess Rubinstein

  • Invest 60+: Chocolate + Straw + Produce Bags + Equal Exchange Palestinian Olive Oil

& Golden Tickets!

Three lucky Member-Owners will find a golden ticket in with their chocolate, straw, bags, or olive oil. If you find a golden ticket, you will get some amazing prizes:

Plus!

→ Be one of the first 50 folks to invest in your share, and you’ll get a free bottle of Dr. Bronner’s!

→ We’re having a 10% off sale on October 20th! Let’s celebrate Co-op Month by saving on all our favorites, and maybe even trying something new.

→ Join us for a screening of the film Food for Change all about the history of co-op’s in America on Saturday, October 13th at 7pm! We’ll have popcorn and time afterward for discussion.

→ Get to know other folks here! Come to the Co-op Community Potluck on Tuesday, October 30th at 6:30pm.

All you have to do to become a Member-Owner or invest in your share is to ask a cashier next time you are at the Co-op. It’s quick, convenient, and you’ll get to go home with a bunch of great stuff!

If you’ve already invested $180 (the full cost of a share), don’t worry! You can invest up to $300 in the Co-op and still get all of these great incentives. Those extra dollars mean a lot here!

Invest & Win: Bags from North St.!

This Co-op Month, we are thrilled to be offering a few special prizes for folks that become a Member-Owner or make an investment in their share throughout the month of October. There are already some great incentives for investing this month (you can read more about them here), but in with the chocolate bars, reusable produce bags, and other prizes will be three golden tickets: one for a skillet from Finex, another for a People’s tote bag stuffed full of our favorite fall essentials, and another for a pair of bags from North St. Bags.

North St. Bags are made a quick bike ride away in Ladd’s Addition near Hawthorne Boulevard. Owner Curtis Williams started the company from his basement in 2009 with one industrial sewing machine and the desire to make a super functional pannier that could be converted into a backpack. Without any significant sewing experience, it took a while to get the design right, but since then Curtis has grown the company and the product line to include a range of panniers, bags, backpacks, and more.

A tour of the North St. Bags show room and work space.

While the company has grown, the commitment to making bags in house from predominantly materials made in the USA has stayed the same. Bags from North St. are also made to order, and customers get to pick their color schemes and other details whether they’re ordering a fanny pack or a pannier. North St. bags also carry a lifetime guarantee, and the nice folks there can handle all kinds of repairs.

During Co-op Month, one lucky Member-Owner will find a golden ticket in with their other incentive that is good for their choice of either a pair of Gladstone Grocery Panniers or two Tabor Totes with a matching Pittock Pouch.

northst_spring_shoot_samples_3 (1).jpg

The Tabor Totes in the large and regular sizes make the best diaper bag, gym companion, or grocery shopping tote. They are super durable, made from 1000 Denier CORDURA® nylon. The matching large Pittock Pouch help to keep your bag organized and small items from getting lost in the bottom of your bag.

grocery-onbike2.png

The Gladstone Grocery Panniers are perfect for running errands, picnic rides, and trips to the farmers market. Made with 1000 Denier CORDURA® nylon, these panniers can stand up to the Portland rain and look great doing it.

Come by the Co-op to become a Member-Owner or invest in your share, and with any luck win some of these terrific bags!

Invest & Win: A Finex Cast Iron Pan!

This Co-op Month, we are thrilled to be offering a few special prizes for folks that become a Member-Owner or make an investment in their share throughout the month of October. There are already some great incentives for investing this month (you can read more about them here), but in with the chocolate bars, reusable produce bags, and other prizes will be three golden tickets: one for bags from North St. Bags, another for a People’s tote bag stuffed full of our favorite fall essentials, and a cast iron pan from Finex!

Finex was founded by Mike Whitehead in 2012 after his wife started throwing out all of their nonstick cookware. He couldn’t find a suitable, healthier replacement on the market, but became obsessed with vintage cast iron skillets from the 1940s and ‘50s and decided to start making the pan that he had been looking for. Finex set out to recreate the classic 12-inch skillet and tried a lot of different designs, ultimately settling on a unique octagonal shape and coiled handle. The octagonal shape a big advantage: it eliminates the need for a pour spout on the side of the pan. You can easily pour from any of its eight corners, while a lid will still fit tight without releasing steam or heat to help your cooking. The squarer sides can also make flipping food over easier if you use the corners for leverage. The coiled stainless steel handle doesn’t get hot and cools faster, making the pan easier to handle.

The finishing and seasoning of the Finex pans also makes them something special. They are crafted in a way that gives them the same nonstick sheen of old cast iron pans, and lightly seasoned with organic flaxseed oil for a perfect cooking surface and an almost golden sheen. The pans are all polished by ceramic stones (check out the video on your right), and then tossed in oil-coated birdseed for the perfect application.

Finex pans are made in the USA of pure iron, just like the vintage cast iron that Mike was originally ogling. Each pan passes through the factory here in Portland to be polished and assembled, with most of the components coming from within 25 miles of the Portland factory. Each 12-inch pan has four parts that have to be assembled by hand.

A tour of the Finex factory in NW Portland.

Another great thing about this special cast iron is that you can really beat it up and still return it to fantastic working condition. Scorch it, scratch it, or even leave it to rust, but with some good oil and a little elbow grease you can fix it back up and have it ready for cooking again in no time. Finex pans also come with a lifetime guarantee, and are made to be passed down from generation to generation. The helpful folks there will help you with any pan challenges that you come across.

Come by the Co-op to become a Member-Owner or invest in your share, and with any luck win a lifetime of cooking with this awesome cast iron!

Skillet Baked Savory Cornbread

AA6CA4F9-0AEC-4E8E-819A-0F834B73FE8F.JPG

I enjoy cooking in cast iron on the stove top, but I also love baking in a skillet. This cornbread recipe makes use of delicious local fresh corn that we currently have in the produce department, as well as the terrific cornmeal and polenta from the bulk section. I love this cornbread with the savory flavors of jalapeño and onion, but leave them out if you would rather slather your cornbread with honey or jam.

  • ½ cup of polenta or grits

  • 1 cup buttermilk, or vegan milk or regular milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice added

  • 1 cup cornmeal

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup or 2 ounces grated cheddar cheese (optional)

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, or 2 flax eggs (recipe follows)

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup

  • 1 cobs worth of sweet corn kernels or ½ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (optional)

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced chives or green onions (optional)

  • 5 to 6 tablespoons butter, or substitute olive oil or other vegan option

For the topping:

  • ½-1 jalapeño thinly sliced (red or green is great!)

  • ¼ of a red onion, sliced as thin as you can!

  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese

Heat your oven to 400°. In a medium bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, stir the polenta and buttermilk together. In a separate, large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. If you are adding the cheese, stir it into the dried ingredients. Stir the eggs into the buttermilk and polenta mixture, along with with the sugar, corn, and/or chives.

Meanwhile, melt your butter in your 12-inch skillet in the oven. Once it is melted, add all but 2 tablespoons to the polenta-buttermilk mixture. If you are using olive oil, add 3-4 tablespoons of room temperature oil to the polenta-buttermilk mixture, and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix carefully until the dry ingredients are just moistened – don’t overmix it!

When the butter or oil in the skillet is hot, pour the butter into the skillet. It should sizzle a bit! Sprinkle the top with jalapeño, onion, and cheddar cheese. If you want a spicier cornbread, add the whole jalapeño or mix some into the batter with the wet ingredients. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean out of the middle and the cornbread is firm. Slice the cornbread and eat up!

For Two Flax Eggs:

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water

Stir the water and flax meal together in a small bowl. Let rest for five minutes, and then use in this recipe!





Invest & Win: People's Fall Essentials!

This Co-op Month, we are thrilled to be offering a few special prizes for folks that become a Member-Owner or make an investment in their share throughout the month of October. There are already some great incentives for investing this month (you can read more about them here), but in with the chocolate bars, reusable produce bags, and other prizes will be three golden tickets: one for a skillet from Finex, another for a pair of bags from North St. Bags, and another for a People’s tote bag stuffed full of our favorite fall essentials.

Here’s what’s in that bag:

Montinore Estate 2016 Pinot Noir

(For winners 21 and over!) Montinore Estate makes fantastic wine from grapes grown biodynamically in the Willamette Valley.  This Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with the rich soups, stews, and cheese that you might be eating as the days get colder. You can read all about Montinore here.

Triple Berry Granola

This delicious, organic granola from our bulk section is loaded with raisins, cherries, cranberries, and mulberries which make it a very nice way to start the day. Sweetened just with maple syrup, this granola is just sweet enough. The oats are gluten-free, too!

Golden Lotus Herbs Lung & Throat Herbal Lozenges

These cough drops are essential any time I have a cold or are congested. They are super tasty, sweetened with honey, and have just enough of a menthol touch to clear out the sinuses. It wouldn’t be fall without a few of these kicking around the bottom of my backpack.

Camamu Laranja Chamomile Shampoo

This bar shampoo, made by Camamu in Sellwood, smells delicious and has the nice tingle from added citrus. Bar shampoos are great for travel (they aren’t liquid, of course) and are beloved by zero waste folks for being plastic free!

Rose Black Tea from Two Hills Tea

This keemun black tea is highly scented with fresh organic rose petals. It has a wonderful rosy fragrance and a subtle and rich taste. It is good both hot and iced and should not be missed!

Rooibos Chai Tea from PlantSpeak Herbals

A lot of my time in the fall is spent drinking tea. I always crave the warming spices of chai when the weather gets colder, and this rooibos chai is caffeine free so I can drink it all day without getting the jitters! It’s also delicious.

Winter Squash!

It wouldn’t be fall without a few winter squash-filled meals, and these local, organic squashes are super delicious. We’re including a couple of varieties that are particularly delicious roasted, but also make awesome soups, salads, and pies.

Sprouted & Salted Pecans

Pecans are usually delicious, but these are something else. They are extra crunchy and salted just right. The pecans make an awesome snack by the handful but are also delicious on salads (or anywhere else you can imagine them).

Ayres Creek Loganberry Preserves

Ayres Creek is a very special farm located in Gaston, Oregon. All of the crops that they grow are incredible but they are particularly well known for their fruit crops. Ayres Creek partners with local Sweet Creek Foods to turn their delicious fruit into very delicious preserces. I love a dollop in my morning oatmeal this time of year, and of course its terrific slathered on toast. You can read more about Ayres Creeks preserves here, from farmer Anthony Boutard himself.

Plus:

  • Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Hand Cream

  • Fire Brew Citrus

  • Casper Candle Company Candle

  • Source Naturals Vitamin D-3

  • Thai Home Red Curry Paste

  • Jem Cashew Cardamom Sprouted Almond Butter

  • Theo Chocolate Bars

The bag is also super cool! It’s sewn and printed by women's cooperatives in India by Re-wrap with an awesome design from local artist Lettie Jane Rennekamp. It’s sturdy enough to carry all of your groceries and even has a pocket! Learn more in our Spring 2018 Grassroots.

Come by the Co-op to become a Member-Owner or invest in your share, and with any luck win an extra terrific prize!


Elections Results Are In!

The winners of our 2018 Board of Directors Election are Liz Robertson, Vishal Dhandia, and Chris Eykamp (pictured from left to right). Welcome to the Board! You are welcome to come see them in action at the monthly Board meetings on the 4th Tuesday of every month from 6-8:30 pm, with a free vegetarian meal at 5:30 pm. Board meetings are held at the Co-op in the Community Room.

Green-Aceres-logo.png

Our community voted for Green Acres Farm Sanctuary to win the People's Cooperative Community Fund prize of $1000! The mission of Green Acres Farm Sanctuary is the prevention of cruelty to, and the commercialization of animals, especially farmed animals. They provide shelter, care and board to abused, abandoned, and unwanted farm animals. They look to inspire change through creating a place where members of the public can have positive interaction with farm animals by providing for their care and the animals can, in turn, educate them about the abusive use of farmed animals.

Thanks for casting your ballot, and participating in the democratic governance of the Co-op!

Looking Into Lents

As we’ve been considering how People’s can grow into the future, it’s become clear to us that the opportunities that come our way are going to, in large part, determine the outcome of this planning process. We can work and think and research and plot all we want, but there’s little use in making a plan if it can’t adapt to unexpected opportunities and challenges that present themselves.

In the Annual Report, which was published in the middle of June, we stated that we were looking to open a warehouse by the end of 2019 and to open a second store by 2023. Those were our best guesses at the time, based on the research that we had done so far and a philosophy of incremental growth. Since writing that update, we’ve dug deeper into opportunities that we first heard about in mid-May, and the cadence and timeline that we outlined in the Annual Report has changed a bit! We are still researching both a second store and a warehouse, but now we’re looking into switching the order: opening a second store in the next year or two and opening a warehouse once we get our footing at the new location.

This switcheroo is all because of a particular opportunity. As you may be aware, we’ve been interested in opening a second store in the Lents neighborhood for some time now. If you’ve been around for a long time, you might remember that the Co-op was actually considering a second store in Lents during a development process ten years ago. So when a developer that’s working on a number of projects in Lents reached out to us about a possible site for a store there, we were eager to learn more.

As we’ve learned more about the development opportunity in Lents, we think that it could be a terrific next step for People’s for these reasons:

  • The space has the potential to be built out to about 6,000 square feet, which is our ideal size for a second store.

  • It’s right next to the Lents International Farmers’ Market, Green Lents’ Community Tool Library, and Zoiglhaus Brewery, all organizations that create important resources in the Lents community.

  • It’s really close to the Boys & Girls Club, the Asian Health Center, Zenger Farm, and lots of homes, including new mixed-income apartment buildings.

  • There is great transit access: the MAX Green Line, 10 & 14 buses, 205 bike bath, and Interstate 205.

  • The company developing the site is interested in installing solar power and other green technology.

  • Lots of folks from Lents have reached out to us to ask us to open a store there, and a grocery store has been a priority for the residents for a while.

  • There are plans for a permanent farmers’ market pavilion on site.

  • There are a number of Member-Owners that live closer to Lents than our current store. If they shop there instead, it might relieve some pressure on our current store.

We also know that there are a lot of questions that we will have to seek answers to:

  • Just like here, there isn’t currently a loading dock. Deliveries could be complicated, especially big ones, unless we can find a solution in renovating the building.

  • Lents is a really different neighborhood than where we are now! How can we be a store that is relevant to the community there? Will we need to sell different kinds of food?

  • How can we avoid contributing to the gentrification happening in Lents, or be a resource to folks that are at risk of being displaced?

  • How many people will shop in Lents instead of here? Can we sustain our sales, or find a way to make up for the loss?

  • Opening a second store is a huge undertaking, and it will take a lot of dedication from our staff and current Member-Owners to make it happen. Do we have the support that we need to create another People’s on this timeline?

Over the next few months, we’ll be doing more work to find out if this is a project that we want to move forward with. That work will include talking to lots of folks in Lents about what they want from a grocer, as well as getting feedback from our current Member-Owners about their thoughts on this opportunity. We’ll also need to do more specific financial feasibility research, and conduct another market study based on this particular site. As we learn and process more information, we’ll share it with Member-Owners through the blog, Grassroots, and in-person events.

Like everything we do at the Co-op, we know that whatever development projects we decide on will have to be a community effort. We’ll depend on our Member-Owners and other folks in our community to help us make this happen, from installing store fixtures to helping us fund the project. At this stage in the process, here are ways that you can help us move forward:

  • What do you think about this project and the idea of a second store in Lents? Let us know!

  • Do you live in or near Lents? Who should we talk to about opening a store there?

  • Do you know about resources that might be helpful? What about skills you might be lend to the cause? Let us know about them!

  • Be on the lookout for more opportunities to get involved.

As we hone in on the specific projects that will shape the Co-op’s future, we as a committee are feeling a variety of feelings! We’re excited about many of the details of this particular opportunity and it feels really good to be talking in concrete terms. After talking about the future of People’s so abstractly for so long, it’s energizing to visualize the possibilities at a particular site.

We also feel some nervousness about the whole thing: concentrating our resources on one opportunity and moving a bit faster than we were anticipating a mere month ago both create some anxiety. We anticipate that Member-Owners might feel a similar mix of emotions! That being said, we are very enthusiastic about the opportunities that this site in Lents offers, and are eager to explore the relationships that we can build there, both with individuals and like-minded organizations. We’re looking forward to the next few months of research, and continuing to engage our Member-Owner community as we learn more and move toward making a final decision about this project.

If you have questions, concerns, or input, please be in touch with the Board of Directors! You can email them at bod@peoples.coop. You can also get in touch with the Long-term Planning Committee at planning@peoples.coop.
 

July Long-term Planning News

The Collective Management has been working on creating a plan for the Co-op’s future for a number of years now. Our strategy has been to gradually narrow our options over time until we settle on a combination of projects that can meet our needs and that we feel secure moving forward with. This process hasn’t been totally linear, but we are getting closer to making a final decision in the fall. The Collective narrowed our options in February - hopefully you read about it in Grassroots - and we did so again at the end of June with the full support of the Board of Directors. We decided:

  • To open a small second location by the end of 2023, and continue to pursue retail opportunities or other innovative ventures thereafter.

  • To not expand our current store. Instead, a committee of the Collective Management will form to conduct smaller-scale improvements on-site.

  • To continue to look into ways to collaborate with other local co-ops and rad food businesses, but not formally merging with any other local co-ops at this time.

  • To improve efficiency of systems and structures at the current store with the primary focuses of reducing labor and sustaining or slightly increasing sales.

  • To acquire and incorporate a warehouse into our operations.

  • To establish some kind of prepared foods venture (deli, juice bar, café, grab n go, etc.)

We shared that we were bringing these items to the Collective and the Board in the summer Grassroots, but a decision hadn't been made when we went to print. We wanted to be sure to share with Member-Owners that the Collective and the Board agreed that these are the ways to move forward, with minor changes to what we shared in Grassroots. 

This decision is exciting: these are the projects and elements that will guide the Co-op into the future and secure our footing for many years to come. We’re looking forward to seeing how they take shape, and where they take us.

The Collective also made these decisions with full support of the Board of Directors, which passed a resolution at their June meeting in support of the six decisions above. You’ll be able to read their statement in the Board meeting minutes by the end of July, on the bottom of this page

In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback about these decisions, feel free to get in touch with the Board of Directors at bod@peoples.coop or email the Long-term Planning Committee at planning@peoples.coop.

Take Our Survey!

Your voice really matters here. 

Every few years, we ask our Member-Owners and shoppers to tell us how we're doing. We take these surveys super seriously and they really help our staff to figure out what's going well and where we need to do better. Especially as we approach decisions about our long-term plan, your voice is critical in shaping our grocery store and our community. Plus, you'll get a free bar of Equal Exchange chocolate for weighing in and might even win a $100 gift card!