Your co-op, December 2009

This article was originally published in December 2009

2009 fall member meeting

Nearly 400 PCC members met at Seattle’s St. Demetrios Hall on October 27, celebrating National Co-op Month and the ongoing success of two of the country’s largest co-ops — PCC and Organic Valley/CROPP.

A delicious, fall meal was planned and executed by PCC staffers Blake Caldwell, Birgitte Antonsen, Alex George and Jill Edwards. (See menu and recipes.) Each dinner table was hosted by a member of the board or management.

Members reported interesting conversations sparked by a trivia contest on PCC accomplishments. See the quiz on the fall meeting page.

CEO Tracy Wolpert reported to members on a good three quarters of 2009 for our business. He noted that we have been impacted to a degree by the difficult economic conditions in this recession but will be close to even for the year, which is quite satisfying. Wolpert pointed to zero staff layoffs in 2009 and nearly $2 million returned to members in bonus discounts so far as two business highlights.

Kathryn Gardow, executive director of PCC Farmland Trust, updated members on trust activities, including a new challenge grant that will reap an extra $5 (up to $15,000) for each new donor.

Our keynote speaker, Jon Bansen of Organic Valley dairy cooperative, gave an inspiring presentation. Bansen talked about the reasons he moved to organic farming, citing the benefits for his cattle and consumers. “It’s all about the health of the cow,” he says. “It starts with healthy soil, and that relates to a healthy plant, and it just goes all the way up the food chain. If an animal is healthier, what they produce will be healthier.”

The cattle eat the food nature intended, are able to exhibit natural behavior and live longer. Organic dairy provides its consumers more healthy fats — up to 500 percent more conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) and 71 percent more omega 3 fatty acids.

Bansen also touched on the importance of the co-op model for the Organic Valley co-op’s farmer-owners. He showed comparisons of the pay scales for nonorganic dairy and Organic Valley co-op members, noting that instability in the nonorganic dairy industry is due in part to pay rates that don’t sustain farmers.

The board thanks everyone who helped make the meeting a success. Members who attended the meeting but did not complete the meeting evaluation form, or those who may have additional comments, may do so on our Web site.

A slide show, the menu and recipes, and a more detailed report are posted on the fall meeting page.

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