Annual Meeting 2019

Co-op owners are invited to our annual meeting on Sunday May 5, 4-6 p.m. at the Loft at the Red Building at 20 Basin Street in Astoria.

It’s a fiesta, celebrating 45 years in business! The event includes:

  • General Manager’s annual report, an update on the co-op’s “state of affairs” and expansion progress
  • Election of Board members Learn more…
  • Tamales and other Mexican-style cuisine from Monte Alban
  • 45th anniversary cake (your co-op was founded in 1974)

No need to RSVP. We hope to see you there!

Owner Appreciation

Owner Appreciation Days, February 9-17, 2019
Save up to 20% on a shopping trip

It’s a great time to stock up on household staples and try all those new items you’ve been wanting. Co-op owners save up to 20% on a shopping trip February 9-17.

Here’s how it works:

  • Spend less than $100, get 10% off
  • Spend $100-$149, get 15% off
  • Spend $150 or more, get 20% off

Enjoy special food and drink tastings with local producers and vendors. See our calendar for tastings times.

Not a co-op owner? No problem, you’re always welcome to shop, but joining is easy and it pencils out quick! Learn more…

Please note: discount applies to items in stock at time of purchase and does not stack with case/special order discounts. Your ownership must be in good standing with equity payments up-to-date. One discount per household.

Owner Appreciation Days

Save up to 20% on a shopping trip December 8-16

It’s a great time to stock up on household staples and splurge on specialty items and holiday gifts. Save up to 20% on a shopping trip December 8-16.

Here’s how it works:

  • Spend less than $100, get 10% off
  • Spend $100-$149, get 15% off
  • Spend $150 or more, get 20% off

You may have noticed we’re calling it “owner appreciation days” (not week). This is because we’ve added a couple extra days to make it easier for you to take advantage of the discount. We hope you like!

Enjoy special food and drink tastings with local producers and vendors. See our calendar for tastings times.

Please note: equity payments must be up-to-date to receive the discount. Discount applies to items in stock and does not stack with case discounts.

Not a co-op owner? No problem. You’re always welcome to shop. Click here to learn more about co-op ownership. It’s easy to join and you can start reaping the benefits during owner appreciation days!

Owner Appreciation Week

It’s a great time to be a co-op owner! Owner Appreciation Week is September 16-22, 2018 and we’re trying out a new discount structure that allows co-op owners to save up to 20% on a shopping trip.

Here’s what the new discount structure includes:

  • 10% off on purchases under $100
  • 15% off on purchases of $100 or more
  • 20% off on purchases of $150 or more

Please note: equity payments must be up-to-date to receive the discount. Discount applies to items in stock and does not stack with case discounts.

Not a co-op owner? No problem. You’re always welcome to shop! If you’d like to learn more about how you can sign up and save during owner appreciation week and the good that comes from being an owner of our consumer-owned cooperative, click here to learn more about co-op ownership.

See the food and drink sampling schedule.

Annual Meeting 2018

Our annual meeting for co-op owners is happening on Sunday September 30 at 5-7 p.m. at the Loft at the Red Building (20 Basin St.) in Astoria.

There will be dinner by Chef Andrew Catalano, music by the Brownsmead Flats, an annual report and election including new Board members and proposed updates to our bylaws. No need to RSVP this year.

Bylaws Change Proposal

It is considered best practice in cooperative governance to review and amend bylaws from time-to-time to ensure they continue to meet legal requirements, reflect best practices, and serve the best interest of the co-op. We’ll be asking you to vote at the annual meeting to adopt these new bylaws. Here’s the information you need:

Bylaws Change Memo
Proposed Bylaws of Astoria Co+op 2018
Redline Changes to Astoria Co+op Bylaws (see the proposed edits)

Board Election

The Board candidates up for election/re-election are: Norma Hernandez, Angela Sidlo, and Emily Geddes. You can read there bios by clicking here.

If you have questions, please contact our general manager, Matt Stanley at We look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting!

Annual Meeting

UPDATE: Our event has reached maximum capacity, a record turnout by far! We knew this was going to be an exciting meeting, and we wanted to make sure we had an accurate count to plan appropriately (so required RSVP’s). Everything we share at the meeting will be promptly available on our web page for all owners to see. Please get in touch with our general manager Matt if you have any questions or concerns:

Join fellow Co-op owners at the Red Building Loft in Astoria for a delicious meal, great music, and lots of information about our expansion. The meeting is on Sunday September 17 at 5 p.m. and includes:

  • Dinner made with local ingredients by Chef Andrew Catalano
  • Wine tasting with Galaxy Wine
  • Live music by the Columbians (with Spud Siegel)
  • Unveiling of our new store design
  • Launch of our expansion capital campaign
  • Brief annual report from our general manager
  • Board election
  • Raffles and more

The event is free, but please RSVP on our Eventbrite page, so we know how much food to make.

Founding Mamas & Papas

Left to Right: Randy Puseman, McLaren Innes, Stewart Bell, Josie Peper, Richard Hurley, Carol Newman, John Folk & Carol Folk

The concept which grew into our present Co-op came from the Rainbow Family Gathering in 1972. A small group of people in Astoria formed a buying club, and collectively purchased foods in bulk. Our founders raised money by having rummage sales, provided free labor, and opened the Co-op’s first storefront in 1974. It was a small 650 square foot space near the Columbian Cafe. It was called the “Community Store” and its slogan was “food for people, not for profit.”

Back then there were few grocery shopping choices in our coastal region. It was the beginning of a movement toward bulk foods to keep away from packaging. There was less emphasis on organic; the focus was on simple, whole foods. There were bulk grains and beans, spices, cheese (cut by volunteers), raw milk in glass bottles, tofu and miso.

“We had a holistic approach to life and the Co-op was in large part what enabled us to live that lifestyle in Astoria,” said Carol Folk, one of the Co-op’s first board members.

Folk remembers weekly board meetings at people’s houses with “endless discussions” about the details of the bylaws. Forming the Co-op was a painstaking process, and there were many clashes throughout its history, but it was worth it, as its value reigned even greater than the unique food offerings; it was how locals in a rural community connected.

“The food brought us together but it was a platform for sharing a common view about life and politics, our culture and our world views,” Folk said.

At first there were no distributors. Volunteers drove to Portland to pick up supplies. Everything was done by volunteers; even the store’s first manager didn’t receive a paycheck. Josie Peper was the first elected non-paid manager. She coordinated the volunteer workforce.

“The idea of hiring somebody to do carpentry or plumbing: no, we put it out there to the members to find out who could do it,” Peper said.

She held benefits to offset the store’s operating expenses including monthly square dances and potluck dinners with live music at the Netel Grange. Peper eventually took a hiatus from the Co-op to continue her education and others stepped in to run the store.

Some consequences of the Co-op relying only on volunteers started showing. The store was closed often and the shelves were randomly stocked. Throughout its history, the Co-op experimented with several management structures. The store began to function well again when the board hired its first paid manager, Stewart Bell, who earned 75-cents an hour in food credit. Bell recalls that the cost of living then was less, which made this possible.

The Co-op moved to a daily manager structure in which there was a different person each day overseeing the store. Carol Newman was one of them. She says she did it out of goodwill because she wanted to see the Co-op happen.

“Everyone got 75-cents an hour of food credit and we were so democratic until somebody brought up, some of the people shopping in the store were earning 100 bucks an hour; lawyers, doctors, teachers, business people, whatever. There was talk of exploiting ourselves,” Newman said.

Richard Hurley, a former Co-op manager helped form Community Workers Incorporated, a worker’s collective which contracted with the Co-op to operate the store and for the first time, workers started getting paid above minimum wage.

“We definitely felt we were part of a larger movement. We were lighting little candles that would get brighter and spread toward a whole different way of the economy being run. I was enamored with the economic structure hence the worker’s collective because there was always controversy over exploitation of workers,” Hurley said.

The Co-op officially became a consumer-owned cooperative, filing with the state of Oregon in 2004. Before that it was technically a non-profit, but everyone referred to it as a co-op.

When asked what their hopes are for the Co-op as it matures, some founders offer critique including the store carries too much packaged food, and it’s lost the participatory vibe that the Community Store once had. But Bell points out how the changes have been good, and there seems to be agreement among the founders.

“There is a high priority that the workers are paid well. What we got paid was a joke… having a store which can employ people and pay them a decent wage is a wonderful thing,” Bell said.

Nowadays our co-op uses a livable wage model. Starting pay is $11.50 per hour and the average wage is nearly $17 per hour plus benefits. With competitors now offering organic food, this would not be possible without a concerted effort to grow sales by broadening our shopper base and evolving to meet the needs of today’s ownership.

The opportunities our Co-op has to provide good jobs, great food for the community, and a market for local farmers and producers is thanks to our founding mamas and papas for creating and nurturing the Co-op. This article only scratches the surface as there are so many people who contributed to the Co-op’s founding in both big and little ways throughout our 43-year history. It seems more important than ever to reexamine our roots and give credit where it’s due as we plan a future expansion.


Dinner with the Chef

By Terry Andrews/Co-op Owner

In early November I got a call from Matt Stanley (Co-op GM) telling me I was the winner of the Co-op’s prize from their equity drive–and the prize was having a chef cook dinner for me and three friends. It was a wonderful surprise–especially because I hadn’t realized there was a potential prize for paying off my membership. But I had told some friends not long before this, I would like to have a chef show up and cook dinner for me. So it was all perfect the way it unfolded.

photo(66)To make things really special, it was chef Marco Davis who showed up bearing two bags of organic food from the co-op. And in what seemed like some effortless magic, he proceeded to prepare a really amazing dinner. I’m not a food writer so I will do my best to describe this.

The appetizer was thin slices of watermelon radish (the radish is an incredible substitute for a cracker) topped with aged Gouda and roasted yellow pepper, and sauteed slices of Bolete mushroom that I found on my walk and he offered to cook.

Next was a beautiful salad of arugula topped with roasted carrots and parsnips and some crumbled Danish blue cheese.

We had a bit of a breather before the main course while Marco put it together, plated it and brought it to the table, and it was beautiful: chicken with yummy chanterelles in a rosemary cream sauce (oh my), peridot green jade pearl rice and brocolini. As one of my dinner guests said, it made her want to sing!

Finally, dessert was a delicious creation of Marco’s called chai cream pie. You can see all the recipes on his Tuesday (Dec. 2) food blog at

Marco said he was going to leave, and when we got up to hug him goodbye, we noticed he had quietly cleaned the kitchen! All the dishes were washed and put away.
So thank you Marco and the Co-op for creating a wonderful meal and a delightful evening. I’m already thinking about how to make this happen again. It was such a treat to have someone show up, just like I wished, and cook dinner for me. Membership at the Co-op definitely has its rewards!

Local Organic Cranberry Juice Tasting at the Co-op

Photo by Giles ClementPhoto by Giles Clement

The farmers of Washington state’s first and only certified organic cranberry farm will be sampling out their juice at the Co-op on the first day of our Spring 2015 Owner Appreciation Week.  Stop by the store and try some on Sunday May 10 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starvation Alley encompasses a total of 10 acres in Seaview Washington and Long Beach. Jared Oakes and Jessika Tantisook took over the farm where Oakes grew up in 2010. They wanted to farm cranberries organically, but were told by farmers and other experts that it wasn’t possible. They explored that assumption and eventually gained organic certification for their farm.
“It is hard, especially in the beginning because we didn’t have any support. If you want to learn to grow organic apples you could probably find enough stuff on line, call universities, or get advice from professionals. That wasn’t available for cranberries. As new farmers transitioning to organic we lost a lot of production for the first two years, hence the value added products,” Tantisook said.

cranberry juice

Starvation Alley created a brand of juice that attracted the attention of the emerging craft cocktail industry. The farmers sell their product to 70 accounts, mostly bars in Portland and Seattle. They sell their juice and cranberries at farmers markets and locally at Astoria Co-op. The juice is raw, unsweetened and undiluted cranberries. It is not heated or pasteurized which Tantisook says enhances the health benefits and taste.

Starvation Alley Farms is building its research database with a goal of spreading sustainable farming and educating consumers about the food system and the importance of supporting local farmers. They are working with two other cranberry growers on the Long Beach Peninsula to transition to organic certification. There are currently only about 300 acres of organic cranberry farms in the U.S. out of 39,000 total acres of producing cranberry bogs.

Our Parking Lot Gardener at May Lecture

034When our General Manager Matt Stanley asked Horticulturist Becky Graham to take over our parking lot garden, Becky says she had a feeling this would be a very special job, due to the special people who shop and are a part of the Co-op. Becky wants to express what a pleasure it is sharing her skills and passion and we at the Co-op feel the same! We get so many wonderful comments about our garden that makes the parking lot a welcoming space.

“I’ve met hundreds of people who tell me how they’ve appreciated the garden. The fact they make a point to let me know how they appreciate I, that they went up and touched it and smelled it is even better, or asking about a plant. It is kind of an instant connection. That has brought so much joy to me. It’s been a gift. Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” Becky said.

Our May lecture at Fort George Brewery will feature Becky. She has a business called Harvest Moon Designs, and has not only helped transform the Co-op’s outdoor space, but she takes her knowledge and passion about plants all over the community; from the rooftop of the Hotel Elliot to a healing garden that’s in the works at Columbia Memorial Hospital, for example. “Nature inspires, art follows” is a guiding principal in Becky’s designs.

One might imagine finding Becky’s home garden in Knappa on the pages of Sunset magazine. It is made up of raised beds that include an artful combination of edibles, ornamentals, and found objects such as rusty pipes that have been converted into planters.


“I hunt and gather for things that make me weak in the knees. Sometimes I don’t have any idea of how I will use it, but I know I will. I have an old copper washing machine and I know I’m either going to make a water feature out of it or a planter. I play with colors, texture, and materials I love,” Becky said.










Becky calls the garden her classroom, sanctuary, and playground. Part of her career includes garden coaching, helping others design their own gardens. Becky’s lecture will include photos and information to provide examples of things you can do with raised beds, containers, and art, similar to the Co-op’s garden.

“Mixing food you can grow locally in containers as well as ornamental and plants good for pollinators. I think about birds, honey bees, and butterflies. Some art happens naturally. You look and you see a combination of foliage and there’s a butterfly that lands there… that’s art as well as the things you bring in,” Becky said.

You can meet Becky and learn about gardening and design at the Co-op’s monthly food and wellness lecture, “Beers to Your Health” at the Fort George Lovell Showroom located at 426 14th Street in Astoria on Thursday May 14th at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. There are food and drinks available for purchase. The event is free and open to all ages.