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September Change for Change: Building Blocks of Kalamazoo

September's Change for Change supported Building Blocks of Kalamazoo. When you rounded up your purchase at PFC throughout the month of September, your change went toward creating opportunities one block at a time for residents to reclaim and revitalize their neighborhood in areas that experience challenges associated with poverty and disinvestment. Building Blocks provides resident leader training, project seed money, networking opportunities, and on-going organizing to support resident action. Together, PFC shoppers raised $1,057 for Building Blocks of Kalamazoo!

At the heart of Building Blocks is a commitment to empowering residents to take ownership through new connections to resources, community organizations, neighbors, and the government to make things happen. They hope to help facilitate the strengthening of the collective capacity of a resident group in areas and with residents who have been underrepresented in the conversations and decisions surrounding community development. 

They work in the Eastside, Edison, Northside, Oakwood, and Vine neighborhoods of Kalamazoo.

A couple of highlights from their programming:

  • Residents on a Sustained Program site in the Vine Neighborhood established a community garden in 2014 (still active) which has 16 raised beds serving approximately 14 households each year who steward their own plot and two raised beds committed to communal use for anyone passing by or living on the street.

  • Residents on a Sustained Program site in the Eastside Neighborhood helped each other to install solar yard lights in their yards to increase street safety and curb appeal.

For more information on Building Blocks, please visit their website.


More, Better, Stronger PFC

Hello PFC Peeps!

PFC is awesome. I know you know that. We are far from perfect, have lots to learn, and want to always improve, of course. And at the core, we are a community-owned grocery store and farmers market operator focused on creating access for everyone in our community to food that supports the health of all people, the planet, and local economies. That's awesome.

That's why we want more, better, stronger PFC. 
Declining sales at PFC are unsettling. There are so many options for you in our community to shop at, but we always want PFC to be on your list. We've asked folks if it's not on your list, why it's not. They've said price, selection and location.

Price: We'll continue to build on our Deals and Basics programs, and shopping at PFC is an investment in a more sustainable future for our community. We wouldn't charge for it if it wasn't important.

Selection: Gotcha. Our current store size is too small to offer the selection you're looking for to make the trip worthwhile sometimes, we've heard. We're working on our mix of products every day, and we want more space to work with, too. 

Location: Yep. Heard. We LOVE the location PFC is in, and we're hearing the feedback that it's more and more out of the way for many folks as the options change.

When we think More, Better, Stronger PFC, it is in the context of those concerns. So, we've begun thinking about how to solve for size and location, and have begun to do some research to learn about our options. Here's a place we could use some help from you: Would you be willing to take an hour or two from your day to volunteer with us? We need to complete a survey to collect market data. Scroll down to the Volunteer Opportunity block below to learn more.

More, better, stronger PFC can bring a community-centered approach to expanding access to great food in our community that sustains human and planetary life, and builds strong resilient local economies:

  • Local Producer Relationships - local products are throughout our store, and front and center at Kalamazoo Farmers Market. 
  • Anti-Oppressive Approach - We live in a very diverse community. PFC stands for ensuring that everyone in our community benefits from the work we do - from being a great employer, to being a great operator, to creating places for all. Want to learn more about our Anti-Oppression work, and that of others in our community? Check out this Wednesday's Institutional Anti-Racism panel at KPL.
  • Zero-Waste Lifestyle Support - PFC's commitment to bulk and package-free product where possible makes it easier to lower your impact. From grains, produce and beans, to household cleaning and body care products, fill up your own containers and reduce waste.

There's tons more, and none of it is perfected. We are so grateful to be in this endeavor with you. 

Every time you shop, you're supporting more, better, stronger: See you soon at PFC!




What's your co-op doing about food waste?

Hello PFC Peeps,

In an article I recently read on the WMEAC website, about preventing food waste in grocery stores, it's clear that we have a problem. As shoppers, we want the highest quality food all the time, and as grocers we know that the only way to do that is to over buy, and then toss what doesn't sell.

As owners of and shoppers at Southwest Michigan's coolest grocery store, you deserve to know how your business handles the fundamentals of running a great grocer. 

PFC is committed to wasting as little food as possible. To that end, we strive to purchase only what's needed. And when we over buy, we put it on sale and get it into your hands ASAP.

Additionally, we have a robust prepared foods program. JaRay, Isaac, Andrew and Natasha LOVE to use the locally and regionally produced meats, breads, and produce that we purchase in the store. Ordered an extra case of green beans from Crisp Country Acres? No problem! Let's roast 'em for the hot bar! A few too many Otto's boneless skinless breasts in stock this week? No problem! Bake them off, slice them, and add them to the Cobb Salads. 

Finally, some stuff does reach the end of it's life, either the trimmings from prepping this week's roasted vegetables, or because that case of strawberries wasn't up to snuff for shoppers or the deli. Those items go into a local loop composting system put together, monitored and maintained by our staff and Heather Colburn of Elder Fire Farm Arts. 

PFC ain't perfect. No way. But we are certainly committed to being a great grocer, and doing that in a way that aligns with our environmental values.

Thanks for listening. See you soon in the aisle!

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