Your co-op, December 2002

This article was originally published in December 2002

PCC Greenlake is officially certified organic!

PCC Greenlake

On November 15, the Washington State Department of Agriculture notified PCC that our Greenlake store was granted organic certification as a retailer. The organic retail certification provides an extra level of assurance that what we sell as organic is truly certified from farm to fork. It also means that Greenlake is subject to periodic inspections and audits.

Congratulations to the Greenlake team that earned this distinction. Each of PCC’s other stores is in the process of being certified in 2003.

USDA grants provided to farmer co-ops

The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) is applauding action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $18.5 million in new funding to 81 farmer-owned co-ops to help them develop value-added cooperative ventures.

“Cooperatives have always been innovators in rural America, developing new businesses not just to enhance farm income, but to create jobs and economic opportunity in the countryside,” said NCBA President and CEO, Paul Hazen.

“I applaud Department of Agriculture Secretary Veneman and Under Secretary for Rural Development Tom Dorr for their support of cooperatives and their recognition of the co-op model as an engine of economic growth.”

The grants, announced in October, total more than $37 million. They were distributed as part of crop insurance legislation in 1999 and reauthorized and enhanced in the 2002 Farm Bill. Co-ops received half of the total funds awarded under the program.

NCBA sought expansion of the program in the Farm Bill to allow non-traditional value-added projects — including wind energy cooperatives — to be eligible under the program.

NCBA is the lead national membership association for all types of cooperatives. Based in Washington, D.C., it represents cooperatives across all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, food retailing, childcare, credit unions, housing, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, and many others. NCBA says there are 48,000 cooperatives in the U.S. and 120 million cooperative members.

Top 100 cooperatives doing well

(Reprinted with permission from the National Cooperative Bank)
For the second consecutive year, the 100 cooperatives on the National Cooperative Bank’s (NCB) Top 100 Cooperatives list — ranging from agriculture to hardware and lumber — earned more than $130 billion in combined revenue, demonstrating the important role cooperatives play in the economy.

“When I look at the revenues reflected in this year’s NCB Co-op 100, for agriculture and other co-op industries, I can’t help but be impressed at the growth of U.S. cooperatives,” said Charles E. Snyder, NCB’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“From their beginnings more than 100 years ago, America’s cooperatives have not only survived, but flourished. They have prevailed through adversity and economic downturns and have brought economic stability and prosperity to millions of people.”

While privately held firms have been hard hit and continue to struggle, the cooperative sector continues to thrive — producing increased earnings for its members even through difficult times. During fiscal year 2001, Fortune 500 companies posted a record 53 percent drop in their profits. In contrast, agriculture, grocery, energy, communications, and finance sectors all earned higher revenues than the previous year.

Cooperatives play a vital role in America’s economy. There are nearly 50,000 cooperatives in the United States, owned by some 120 million Americans, and outnumbering public companies by four to one. Co-ops exist in a number of industries — agriculture, grocery, hardware and lumber, financial institutions, energy, housing and others. Many cooperatives on the NCB Co-op 100 list are household names such as Land O’Lakes, ACE Hardware, and Ocean Spray.

A cooperative is similar to other business models, but has several unique features. A cooperative is owned and controlled by members who have joined together to use the co-op’s goods, services, and facilities. A board of directors, elected by the membership, sets the co-op’s policies and procedures. By pooling their resources through cooperative ownership, members can increase their power to buy, sell, market, or bargain as one group.

They can join in economies of scale and share in any profits the co-op generates. In addition, the financial and social benefits that co-ops deliver reach beyond their members, enriching communities nationwide.

NCB produces the NCB Co-op 100 annually. The only publication of its kind, it is an important indicator of cooperative business activity across the country. The entire NCB Co-op 100 report, as well as additional information on cooperatives, is available at

Bag reuse donation report

Every time we use one of our own full-size bags to carry our groceries home, one cent is donated to the Farmland Fund and to Cash for the Hungry, PCC’s program with local food banks. This applies to paper, plastic, and cloth bags, backpacks, wheeled carts, or any container that conserves resources.

The bag reuse donation has been in effect since November 2000 due to overwhelmingly positive response to a month-long shopper survey. So far in 2002, we’ve raised $7,964 through bag reuse, $3,982 each for Cash for the Hungry and the Farmland Fund.

Mention your wishes to the cashier to ensure your donation is counted! If you need a durable cotton canvas bag that’s good for continual reuse, look for the one printed with the PCC logo or check out the Farmland Fund tote.

Also in this issue