Farm Microloan

Your co-op launched a farm microloan program aimed at getting more local products to market. The co-op recognizes one of its niches is providing local food, including that produced from small farms in our coastal region. As we prepare to open a bigger store later this year, we’ve been seeking ways to support an anticipated increase in demand.

“As we grow into a bigger space there’s going to be even more demand for local food and we want to help support our farmer’s ability to increase their capacity,” Produce Manager Danny Rasmussen said.

The co-op is piloting this new program with 46 North Farm in Olney. The co-op has invested $1,500 in the farm, essentially pre-paying for goods the farm will be selling to the co-op. The money will cover the cost to build four caterpillar tunnels, a type of cover for keeping plants warm. This will help the farm expand cut flower and produce production.

Farmer Teresa Retzlaff says she’s wanted to do this for a long time but doesn’t have that kind of money, especially this time of year when the farm is investing in supplies for the growing season.

“Sometimes it’s just these key pieces of infrastructure that can make such a huge difference in what we do, so I’m super excited,” Retzlaff said. 

If this pilot microloan is a success, the co-op hopes to continue investing in other small local producers. The farm has agreed to pay the loan back over the summer in produce, flower bouquets and plant starts so keep an eye out for these at the co-op.

Astoria Co+op offers farmers loans for produce July 26, 2019

Record Donation

Since Change for Community’s inception a little more than a year ago, the co-op has raised more than $16,000 for local non-profits.

We raised more than $4,700 to donate to three local non-profits in the second quarter of 2019 through our Change for Community program. This includes the co-op’s biggest donation ever: $2,000 to Wildlife Center of the North Coast.

The wildlife center takes in injured, orphaned or sick native wildlife with a goal of rehabilitating the animals and releasing them back into their natural habitat. The organization relies on donations, fundraisers and grants to provide veterinary care, food, supplies and facilities maintenance. 

“It is comforting and inspiring to know that we have that kind of support locally,” Executive Director Joshua Saranpaa said.

Change for Community provides funds for local nonprofits and incentivizes the use of reusable bags. There are three ways for shoppers to contribute: bringing a bag and donating their bean (token worth 5¢), rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar and sharing pocket change.

Three non-profits are selected to be Change for Community recipients each quarter and each month, one gets a turn to be the round up recipient. In addition to the wildlife center, the co-op also raised $1,370 for Camp Kiwanilong and $1,382 for Astoria Parks, Recreation & Community Foundation during April-June.

 “A healthy planet and a strong community are important to the co-op and we’re grateful for the support of our shoppers in allowing us to make a real impact that goes beyond selling groceries,” Marketing Director Zetty Nemlowill said.

Since Change for Community’s inception a little more than a year ago, the co-op has raised more than $16,000 for local non-profits. The co-op has also incentivized the use of more than 66,000 reusable bags. For more information and/or to apply for your organization to become a Change for Community recipient, click here.