More fresh fruit and vegetables for low income Oregonians
Astoria Co+op is first grocery store
in the state to pilot Double Up Food Bucks
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as food
stamps) will soon be able to load up on more healthy fresh fruit and
vegetables. In September, for every $5 spent on fresh produce using an Oregon
Trail Card, Astoria Co+op will give a $5 voucher to spend on more produce; up
to $10 per visit.
This is a
grant-funded pilot, made possible by Oregon Food Bank, to work through the
logistics of offering Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) more long-term at grocery
stores. DUFB is a nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP benefits to
enable shoppers to buy more fruits and vegetables.
at more than 60 farmers’ markets around the state from 2015 to 2018 using
federal grant funding and other sources, DUFB will be expanded to select Oregon
grocery stores for the first time thanks to an investment from the state. In
July, the Oregon Legislature approved $1.5 million in the 2019-2021 biennium
budget to continue and expand the program.
“Double Up Food Bucks has proven to be a hit
among SNAP customers, farmers, and market managers, not just in Oregon, but
around the country. Expanding the program to retail outlets like the co-op will
further support local businesses and growers, while providing low-income
community members with year-round access to quality fruits and vegetables,”
said Kelly Fraser, Oregon Food Bank’s Statewide Network Developer.
will be the first grocery store to pilot Double Up Food Bucks under the
program’s expansion. The co-op is a community-owned grocery store, but you
don’t need to be an owner or have a membership to shop. Any beneficiary of SNAP
via the Oregon Trail Card is eligible to take part in this program.
excited to increase access to the unique produce offering we have at the co-op.
More folks purchasing local and organic fresh fruit and veggies is a win for
the entire community,” said Matt Stanley, Astoria Co+op’s General Manager.
Double Up Food Bucks Oregon, only 11% of Oregonians consume enough fruit and
vegetables for a healthy life. For the one in six Oregonians experiencing food
insecurity, eating the recommended servings of produce isn’t affordable. A diet
rich in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of many serious and chronic conditions
including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The inside of our new building is coming to life! There are electricians, heating/cooling techs, framers, and more working away as we write this update. Outside, the last of the concrete work has occurred including the new landscaping bays that hold our light-posts. Next week our parking lot will transform from gravel to asphalt. It’s so amazing to see our vision and local investment turn into a real thing; a beautiful grocery store where we will all love to shop!
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,”
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.
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.
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.
comforting and inspiring to know that we have that kind of support locally,”
Executive Director Joshua
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.
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.
There’s lots of work happening from the ground up at our new store site. The finishing touches are going on the roof, including the infrastructure needed for solar panel installation later. Inside, the clock ticks to complete the portions of plumbing and electric work that needs to happen before the big concrete floor pour next Friday. Take a look:
What better day to kick off our spring owner appreciation week than Mother’s Day and the start of the Astoria Sunday Market? It’s a great time to stock up on favorites and try new items. Co-op owners save up to 20% on a shopping trip May 12-18.
The walls and roof trusses are now up, revealing the scale of our new space. We’ll continue to share updates as we reach milestones. Meantime, connecting with your co-op on Facebook and Instagram is a great way to see frequent construction progress posts.
Our general manger, Matt Stanley, attends weekly construction meetings (he took this photo). As you can imagine, it takes a lot of planning and coordination among engineers, local sub-contractors and everyone involved in making sure construction goes smoothly.
What’s next? Over the next few weeks, the roof will go on as well as underground plumbing before the slab (foundation) gets poured. Also, we’ll be putting in a new sidewalk that goes along Steam Whistle Way.
There are three seats with terms ending this year and each member is seeking re-election. Co-op owners can vote at our annual meeting on May 5. including the following:
Andrea Larson Perez
About four years ago, I was happy to become a member of the co-op
Board of Directors after working at the co-op for three years as a part-time
cashier. I have witnessed and been a part of the fastest growth period our co-op
has enjoyed in its 45-year history. About the time I joined the Board, the
organization was beginning to take steps toward expansion. It has been a joy to
be a part of the entire process from visioning, strategic planning and
community engagement right up to today when you can visit the site and see the
walls going up!
Recently, I was honored to accept the position as Board
President. I’d like to ask for your vote to continue serving in this role to
see the expansion project through to completion, and on to executing our
organizational goals to expand the good work of the Astoria Co+op for
years to come! As a Board member, I work to be a good listener who is open
I have more than 30 years’ experience in marketing,
advertising and public relations, including positions with local newspapers and
healthcare providers as well as offering consulting services to local businesses.
My husband and I have lived in Astoria since 1998, raised our two sons here and
plan to stay!
I have been a board member since October of 2015 and have
truly enjoyed helping make our co-op the go-to grocery store in Astoria. My
background in banking, specifically working with businesses, gives me knowledge
to share with our dynamic group as we get closer to opening the new store. I am
so proud of all that we have accomplished in making this shared vision a
reality. I am most proud of helping raise the capital that we needed to get our
new store under construction.
My wife, Lyuba and I have been here since early 2009 and
love our community and all that this area has to offer. Some of my favorite
activities are fishing, clamming, crabbing and foraging for mushrooms and this
area has an abundance of all that!
I am seeking another term so that I can continue our work of
making Astoria Co+op the greatest community food store around as well as seeing
this new store project through completion.
I was first introduced to the idea of cooperative living
while in college in Ann Arbor, MI. I
began living, shopping and working cooperatively and the rest was history. I
have been on the Board of Astoria Co+op for the past decade, serving as both a
member and as president. It is with joy that I handed over the presidency this
year, and am able to take a different role but still be an active member of the
Board. It has been so fulfilling to be a part of the new store from the stage
of a seed in the soil until this stage of seeing walls being constructed.
As a physician, I see how people suffer when they are
disconnected from their tribe and sense of community. Working toward a more
cooperative world is something I think can have profound change at the level of
the individual as well as the world.
Something that brings me great joy, is seeing a group of unique individuals come together with a common goal and work in an atmosphere of respect, dignity, open-mindedness and active listening. Being a part of the Board embraces this type of human interaction and beauty. It reminds me that we can make amazing things happen when we build each other up and believe in and honor one another.