70 Years of PCC Community Markets
The co-op celebrates seven decades in 2023 with deeper investments in local food systems, community events, expanded perks and surprise and delights for members, the first annual Member Month in October, and more!
(SEATTLE, January 17, 2023) – PCC Community Markets (PCC or “the co-op”), the largest community-owned food co-op in the U.S. and one of Seattle’s original grocers, is marking seven decades of advancing the health and well-being of people, their communities and the planet. PCC began as a food-buying club of 15 Seattle families in 1953. Since then, the mission grew to ensure that good food nourishes the communities the co-op serves while cultivating vibrant, local, organic food systems.
“2023 is a momentous year to both reflect on the co-op’s legacy and look to the future,” said PCC Community Markets CEO Krish Srinivasan. “Participating in our co-op’s mission has long been a deeply meaningful way to invest in the Pacific Northwest’s food systems and community while also putting high quality food on the table. Our members, today numbering more than 110,000 strong, have contributed immeasurably to keeping the co-op focused on these priorities. There isn’t a better time to acknowledge our members’ care, to express our deep gratitude to the community, and to reiterate our commitment to feeding it well for the next seven decades.”
CELEBRATING AND ADVANCING PCC’S HISTORY OF SUPPORTING LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS
2023 is an occasion to celebrate how the co-op and the broader PCC community work together to strengthen food systems. From founding what is now the City of Seattle’s P-Patch program to advocating for organic standards and protecting local farmland, the community of PCC staff, members and shoppers has created lasting change. Throughout the year, the co-op will remember some of these legacy projects with community partners who continue to advance this work and drive innovation. Shoppers and members can look forward to these stories in the Sound Consumer, products supporting these organizations in PCC’s stores, educational experiences for members and opportunities to be directly involved with projects PCC’s partners will be leading.
Moreover, PCC will continue to make and facilitate significant investments in Pacific Northwest food systems as the co-op marks seven decades.
In partnership with Harvest Against Hunger and the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets, PCC recently announced that Growing for Good secured the next three years of community funding. Growing for Good is a pandemic-borne innovation designed to support the stream of fresh, organic produce from small farms in the Puget Sound region to local hunger relief agencies. Since its development in April of 2020, Growing for Good has been funded by the community for the community, with contributions from PCC’s staff, members and shoppers totaling $300,000 between 2020 and 2022. Over the next three years PCC will shepherd another $300,000 of funds raised in-store, specifically designated to support the purchase of local food from farmers by hunger relief agencies, along with an additional $75,000 from the co-op. That combined $375,000 in funding will evolve a pandemic relief program into something with long lasting benefits to the local food system.
Additionally, the Friends of PCC program will expand statewide in a new collaboration with Northwest Harvest to facilitate new and greater sourcing opportunities for food bank partners to obtain organic products. In 2021, the co-op partnered with United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) to launch Friends of PCC to connect hunger relief organizations with our supply chain in partnership. This program allowed 18 neighborhood food banks to participate in the pilot that provided greater purchasing power and the ability to select foods that best met their unique client’s needs. Focused on improving equity in the local food system, Northwest Harvest supports a state-wide network of over 400 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. PCC will contribute $20,000 in fundraised dollars to support this launch, which Northwest Harvest will dedicate to purchases by Alimentando el Pueblo, a Latinx food bank based in South King County. UNFI will match with a $15,000 contribution to support this program’s expansion.
PCC is humbled by what is possible as a co-op community and is so excited to continue this collaboration.
OCTOBER IS MEMBER MONTH!
PCC began as a community of people committed to each other and to good food. The co-op has always been and remains member-owned and operated — for a $60 lifetime investment, each member owns an equal share of the co-op. Members elect the Board of Trustees each year to represent their interests and participate in advocacy around local and national food systems. Unlike other grocery stores, PCC sends its profits directly back to its members, its stores and to the communities it serves.
October will be devoted to thanking the co-op’s 110,000 active members with its first-ever Member Month centered around the shared passions of food and community. The co-op will surprise and delight with member-only specials, prizes, and giveaways as it celebrates the collective impact of PCC members over the past 70 years.
EXPANDED MEMBER PERKS
PCC’s community stretches beyond its members and shoppers. It also includes the farmers, fishers, bakers and makers who fill its shelves, and other businesses in the neighborhoods it serves. The PCC Partner Program offers co-op members exclusive deals and discounts with local businesses who share its values. The program tripled in 2023 with more perks for members than ever! From local arts and culture institutions to fitness studios and wineries, this list of PCC partners is abundant with free items and discounts available across the Puget Sound.
Moreover, PCC members can look forward to special offers each week to discover more delicious deals. Members will enjoy more than $300 in value in 2023 — that’s fivefold the one-time fee of $60 to become a member.
MORE TIME TOGETHER
As the world passes the third anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic this month, the co-op is delighted to safely gather and rediscover the joy of shared space. 2023 and PCC’s anniversary are the perfect opportunity to invite shoppers and members back into stores for more than just their weekly grocery shop. Join the co-op for events throughout the year that will celebrate each season, spark conversation about local food systems, and create connections that support the local community. Stay tuned about events at PCC.
PURPOSE IN PERPETUITY
Care for the impacts of business and food systems on communities and the planet has been built into PCC’s mission, vision and values. It has laid many of the bricks on the road of the 70-year co-op journey, from being one of the first retailers in the region to eliminate plastic grocery bags to achieving some of the most stringent green building certifications for its stores.
A substantial advancement during that journey was the establishment of PCC’s first-ever set of five-year social and environmental goals in 2017: science-backed, measurable and ambitious. These goals have guided and inspired the co-op towards new sustainability accomplishments — such as carbon negative store operations and a 32 percent reduction in water use — and aligned the co-op with rapidly advancing environmental, social and governance standards and requirements. For 2023, PCC will identify its next-generation sustainability pathway.
Moreover, when customers shop at PCC, they support a more conscious impact. The co-op’s focus on natural and organic foods was established in the early days of PCC. That has been upheld through the honest product standards and by looking for new ways to raise the bar on everything from animal welfare to prohibiting potentially harmful additives in packaged foods. 2022 codified all of PCC’s existing standards and establish a new process for collaboration and documentation.
Moving forward, the co-op will establish two new standards this year. One of those standards will be designed specifically to support suppliers from marginalized and underrepresented communities while the other will be focused on cleaning products.
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME
This year, PCC’s 16 neighborhood stores around the Puget Sound will welcome shoppers with interior updates, including signage, wayfinding, and community and membership boards that celebrate the people, places and fresh, quality food at the center of the PCC community. Each neighborhood market is an epicenter of cooperative goodness. Look forward to artwork coming to the culinary education classrooms and fresh signage that helps create a sense of place and community along with product and quality standards in departments from Meat & Seafood to the PCC Market Kitchen.
About PCC Community Markets
Founded in Seattle in 1953, PCC Community Markets (PCC) is a certified organic retailer and the nation’s largest community-owned food market. With an active membership of more than 110,000 members, PCC is committed to a triple bottom line that balances environmental, social and economic goals while reducing environmental impacts and giving back to its community. PCC is a haven for those who share a dedication to fresh, organic, seasonal food that is sustainably sourced from over 800 local producers, farmers, ranchers and fishers. The co-op’s mission is to ensure that good food nourishes the communities it serves, while cultivating vibrant, local, organic food systems. PCC operates 16 stores in the Puget Sound area, including the cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Ballard, Central District, Columbia City, Downtown, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op also plans to open a new store in Madison Valley. In 2021, PCC gave more than 65% of pretax earnings to members and the communities it serves. This includes the co-op’s member dividend and support of nonprofits around the Puget Sound area such as Ventures, Washington Farmland Trust and FareStart.