Cooperatives: the Business Model of the Future

Whether you consider the cooperative model to be market socialism or an alternative, both are opportunities to position it in opposition to pure capitalism. Cooperatives are one strategy to transition from a society that focuses on capitalist profit to one that focuses on human needs.
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Growing Local: Grain, Flour, Bread

Most of the millions living in the Pacific Northwest forget that the drylands of eastern Washington and Oregon on the west of the Rocky Mountains and Montana to the east are also part of the nation’s “bread basket.” They’ve been raised to think that wheat comes from Kansas. The truth is that eastern Washington and Oregon, and central and eastern Montana produce millions of bushels of wheat, most of which is sold by the train carload to one of just a handful of huge commercial flour mills or is exported.
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What's the world coming to? Amazon buys Whole Foods for $13.4B!

Waking up to a headline like “Amazon buys Whole Foods for $13.4B” is pretty good considering the alternatives. The news has been a whole lot darker lately! Some “off the top of the head” thoughts here.
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Why a Winter Farmers Market?

Support your local winter market! Yes, winter market! So often we think of farmers markets as a summer thing. After all, summer is the growing season. Here in Montana we’re not ready to give up on markets when the snow starts to fly. The Bozeman Winter Farmers Market runs from the end of September to the end of April, and you can get your “fresh local food fix” every two weeks through the season. While you’re not going to find tomatoes and cucumbers on offer, you will find a wonderful array of products from 30 plus vendors.
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The Car: Giving Grocery Shopping Consumers Choice and Convenience… or Not?

PCC Natural Markets has jumped ahead of the competition by offering multiple online ordering and delivery choices: Amazon PrimeNOW and Instacart.
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It's a (Wo)man's World: Meet Carole Willis, Meat and Seafood Manager, PCC Columbia City

Carole Willis, Meat and Seafood Manager, PCC Columbia City

When someone says “journeyman meat cutter,” what image comes to mind? Probably a big burly guy in a bloody apron throwing a chunk of beef on a chopping block and wielding a cleaver… Today’s skilled and licensed meat cutter is miles from that stereotype. Stop at PCC’s full-service meat and seafood department in the center of the new Columbia City market, and you’re likely to be greeted by Carole Willis, a charming woman in a clean white jacket with a warm and friendly smile.
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Another One Bites the Dust: Wedge Co-op's Gardens of Egan Farm Auction

Gardens of Eagan, Northfield MN, 2010

As we face climate change and continuing issues of food security, how will natural food markets and co-ops source healthy local food and provide a living wage to farm and retail workers?

In 2007, the Wedge Co-op, Minneapolis MN, believed the simple answer was to buy the Gardens
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PCC Columbia City - Back to the Future

Known for its fresh produce, bulk selection, and wide offering of local and organic products, the PCC’s newest store is not only built on the company’s successes and new shopping trends, but also pulled a few ideas from the past to expand services.
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Beating Whole Foods at Its Own Game

Whole Foods has been neck in neck for some time with Puget Sound’s PCC Natural Markets (the largest and one of the oldest food cooperatives in the nation), however the corporate structure of “whole” just couldn’t match the cooperative foundation of “real,” at least as far as good food principles.
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The Business of Baking at SHIFT

If you see fudge sauce or marshmallows on the dessert menu, you can bet they’re made from-scratch. No food dyes, corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. Fruit is used when it’s in season and bulk ingredients are organic. No, the sugar’s not local and neither is the chocolate; these are fundamental building blocks of dessert as we know it. I can’t figure a way around that one, but considering everything else we do I’m comfortable with the compromise.
Read more: The Business of Baking at SHIFT