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Tuesday
Apr162019

Cooperative Principle #6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Hello PFC Peeps!

It's time to talk about cooperation! Cooperatives are a different kind of business. We are designed from the ground up to serve the needs of the community that birthed us. We know that part of that is problematic, as even though PFC was created in direct response to certain pressures in the dominant culture related to food, farming, and access, we were also founded in a way that was not challenging the status quo around race, gender, and other bias. However, as we explored in Principle 2, we are democratically controlled. So, as we become aware of how we need to better serve our community or live better into our values, we are structured for change to happen.

Cooperative businesses make better communities. Cooperative businesses provide better jobs.

So, it's no surprise that PFC looks to support other cooperatives as we do our work. The Sixth Cooperative Principle is Cooperation Among Cooperatives. There is a whole P6 cooperative trade movement in which cooperative groceries seek to connect consumers to products make by cooperative producers.

Also on the national level, PFC is a member of the National Cooperative Grocers, a cooperative of cooperatives! We purchase as a group allowing us AMAZING prices on Co+op Deals and Co+op Basics items. We also support each other in training, challenging situations, and so much more.

On a local level, PFC strives to work with other cooperatives where possible, from banking with Consumers Credit Union, to working closely at times with Kalamazoo Collective Housing on expanding access to good food.

Cooperation is so fun!

As I wrap up today's enews, and as the weather continues to improve, I wanted to lift up a cool program that happens at your PFC: Bike Benefits. Whether you go to PFC Natural Grocery & Deli, or Kalamazoo Farmers Market (or two other businesses in town), once you have a Bike Benefits sticker on your helmet, you will receive a deal! At the store it's $2 of a purchase of $10 or more, and at Kalamazoo Farmers Market, it's $2 in Market Bucks to spend on market.

Just another reason to love where you live. Thanks for being part of this place!

Chris

Tuesday
Apr092019

Cooperative Principle #5: Education, Training, and Information

Hello PFC Peeps!

If you made it out to the Racial Equity in the Food System Summit and/or the Foodways Symposium this past weekend, as I did, you were treated to some excellent conversations, programs, and cooking classes.

One thing that people mention over and over about PFC is our great selection of cooking classes. Have you looked at the schedule of upcoming cooking class events lately? Here's a taste:

All the classes are $20, and kids under 12 (1 per accompanying adult) are free.

As we ready ourselves for farmers market season, Gaby and Grace are preparing to delight market goers with food demos every Saturday. 

Do you have a group that does activities? How about a guided tour of our store or Kalamazoo Farmers Market? We'd love to show your group around and talk about all the work we do at both sites to create access, support local business, do business in environmentally sound ways, and address structural barriers to good food access. Email me directly to get something scheduled.

Whether it's cooking classes, vendor signs at the market, farm location info on local produce in the store, anti-racism training, or tours of our store, PFC is all about educating our community, and sharing information to allow us all to make the best choices possible for ourselves our families and our community.

That's Cooperative Principle Five: Education, Training and Information at work!

Thanks for being part of something special!

Chris

Tuesday
Apr022019

Cooperative Principle #4: Autonomy and Independance

Hello PFC Peeps!

As spring embraces us slowly in its warming days, it's nice to feel more comfortable spending time outside. Have you started to think about your garden? We've got seeds starting in our dining room at my house. At PFC we have Seeds Savers Exchange heirloom seeds for your gardening, regularly priced at only $2.79 per pack (on sale for 2/$5 this week!). And please put Saturday, May 11 on your calendar for our Grow It Yourself on Mother's Day event. More on that to come in future weeks.

Several weeks ago, JaRay Reese, PFC's Deli Manager, and I were in Milwaukee presenting about PFC's Anti-Oppression work at a startup food co-op conference. The energy there was AMAZING. There are 40 or so community groups across the country that are working on starting their very own food co-ops. They are so excited about building something real in their community to meet the needs of their community in a way that only they can do. We have that. We have our community store and a vision for sourcing food in ways that our community wants and needs. The 3400 of us that own PFC make decisions about our cooperative with no one else to serve but our community. It puts me in the mind of food sovereignty, a philosophy I describe as our community making decisions for ourselves about how and what we want to feed ourselves. 

This is the Fourth Cooperative Principle: Autonomy and Independence. 

It can be difficult to balance the needs, beliefs and wants of 3400 individuals and families, but we do. We survey you. We talk to you in the store. We listen to you about the products you want, about mitigating impact on the planet, and about improving social justice. And the board and staff make decisions based on the info we get, balancing as best we can the often conflicting feedback. We are not beholden to a corporation someplace. We are us.

Thanks for being us with me. It's such a wonderful way to be.

Until next week,
Chris