Category: Events

Bringing P6 to the Wellness Aisle

P6 month is successful because of the efforts of employees at P6 co-ops. This week we’re profiling Seward Co-op employee Jared Peterson, a buyer in the Wellness Department, who, along with his coworkers in the department, went above and beyond to make P6 month great in Wellness.

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P6: What have you done this year to make P6 month visible and successful in the Wellness Department?

Jared Peterson: We started out by focusing on our local producers. We were in communication with those small and local companies to make sure they understand the P6 program and how their company fits into it. We see if the companies want to participate by offering a discount that we can pass on to consumers. There’s a lot we do in-store in terms of fliers, Sprout [the Seward Co-op newsletter], and putting up displays and endcaps to promote these products.

P6: How about wellness companies that are cooperative and support small farmers, but aren’t local? I’m thinking of Alaffia, in particular.

JP: We love working with Alaffia! They actually happened to have a discount going on for the first half of August through the National Co-op Grocers Association, which negotiates discounts for all the grocery co-ops nationally. I got in touch with the owner about extending their discount at Seward for the whole month, which they were happy to do. The owner is a great guy. He was just in town, actually, and did a training for about 75 or 100 people from Wellness Departments at stores all over the Twin Cities. He does this amazing Togolese lunch and tells us about the company and how they support small farmers across Africa.

P6: What are some successes you’ve had this year for P6 month?

JP: We’ve had a lot of participation from our vendors. There’s a lot of support among these small, local companies on having a whole month dedicated to P6. They are excited about coming in to do demonstrations. Right now, we have Robb from Four Elements demo-ing their products, which are not only locally produced but also locally grown. We get a lot of customer engagement with those demonstrations, and it’s exciting because the products are also on sale. It seems like we have fewer P6 products than other departments, particularly in supplements, so we really want to support and promote the ones we have.

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P6: How is P6 month going this year?

JP: It’s going really well! Our sales of P6 products are already up 14% over P6 month last year. We have a department goal of reaching a 19% increase, and that’s really motivating.

P6: What do you think other stores should know about running a successful P6 month in Wellness?

JP: It’s so important to make sure the vendors understand the P6 program and how they fit into it. Bringing people in to demonstrate their products is crucial. We like to have a lot of literature available. We’re lucky that we have some brochure holders on our counter and people are always taking that information to learn more.

P6: What do you want customers to know about P6 month in Wellness?

JP: I want them to know that these smaller companies are out there. It’s easy to recognize some of the bigger brands that you can get at any co-op, and people tend to have a lot of brand loyalty around Wellness products — I think folks are more likely to try a new brand of pasta than a new shampoo. I encourage people to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.
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After our conversation, I spoke with Robb Clasen of Four Elements Organic Herbals about his experience as a vendor working with Wellness during P6 month. He said, “P6 has allowed our local, hand-made, homegrown product to have more exposure. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in sales. There’s more presence for these local products. It allows the patrons to see how great our local products are.”

August is P6 Month!

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P6 Month is a time for our P6 stores to highlight the small, local, and cooperative producers that make P6 great. Wholesale cooperatives like Organic Valley, Maple Valley, and Equal Exchange are offering discounts only at P6 stores, and many other P6 producers locally are also passing discounts on to consumers. There are some great events lined up for P6 month. Check them out:

Eastside Food Co-op already held their P6 month kickoff event on July 27th to be in conjunction with a big community festival in their neighborhood, Open Streets. They held a co-op parking lot BBQ, highlighting P6 producer Gerhard’s Brats among others.

Seward Community Co-op will hold their P6 month kickoff this Saturday, August 2nd. There will be samples from many P6 producers including FerndaleMaple ValleyOrganic Valley, and Kickapoo Coffee. Seward will be using the Twitter hashtag for P6 month, #p6, to allow customers to enter a raffle to win a P6 prize!

Viroqua Food Co-op will host a P6 Parking lot square dance on August 22nd. This free event will share delicious P6 food, local music, and dancing! Read more on page four of their newsletter

P6 will be hosting a Twitter conversation among several of our member stores about what P6 is, why it matters, and what impact it’s making. The conversation will be August 28th, 3-4 CST/4-5 EST at the hashtag #p6. Anyone is welcome to join the conversation!

Ozark Natural Foods will be joining the P6 program at their September P6 kickoff. Watch this space for more information!

What are you doing for P6 month? What would you like your local co-op to do?

Tour de Farms at Ozark Natural Foods

Learning about pasture poultry at Across the Creek Farm.

Ozark Produce Manager Pauline learns about pasture poultry from Farmer Spence of Across the Creek Farm.

What better way to learn where your food comes from than by going to see for yourself? That’s what Ozark Natural Foods, the newest P6 grocery co-op, was thinking when they put together this weekend’s Tour de Farms, an opportunity for owners at their co-op to visit and learn about some of the local producers of vegetables, fruits, herbs, poultry, and more. Attendees of this free event could visit up to nine local farms to learn about everything from chemical free farming to farm-to-school programs to straw-bale greenhouses. People who got their “passports” stamped at five or more farms were entered to win a $100 shopping spree at Ozark Natural Foods. The event drew hundreds of co-op owners and was covered in the local paper.

Growers at Bean Mountain Farms show off their home-made cold frame, which extends their season.

Growers at Bean Mountain Farms show off their home-made cold frame, which extends their season grow year round.

Farmers didn’t just show off their own production. They educated visitors about how to do it for themselves. Ames Orchard taught about backyard fruit cultivation. Tri-Cycle Farms gave a workshop on container gardening, using soldier flies, and composting. For those ready to take the next step, Ansel’s Produce talked about starting a farm and supporting the next generation of farmers. All these farms know the importance of education and of getting engaged in a local food system.

Congratulations to Ozark Natural Foods on a successful event! We look forward to hearing more from you as you officially launch P6 this summer.

Seward CSA Fair features P6 promotions!

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Seward Community Co-op hosted 29 local farms and 600 interested customers for the 13th Annual CSA Fair on April 12th. People interested in receiving a box of fresh, local food all summer were able to meet the farmers, understand the differences among different boxes, and sign up right there. Farmers included P6 producers like Driftless Organics and offered an opportunity for farmers who meet P6 criteria but don’t sell through the co-op, like Stone’s Throw Agriculture Cooperative and Mdewakanton Wozupi, to connect with the Seward Co-op community.

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Inside the store, there was a bonanza of P6 goodies for customers to enjoy. There were two raffles: one for $200 of meats from Hill & Vale, Pastures a Plenty, and Kadejan and one for a copy of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community-Supported Agriculture. The big P6 promotion was a shopping cart giveaway — anyone who bought more than $20 of P6 products was entered to win their entire grocery cart free, no matter how much was in it. 12 lucky customers walked away with, collectively, over $1100 in groceries. Winners were surprised and happy. Just goes to show what buying P6 can do for you!

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Viroqua Food Co-op Hosts Successful P6 Tailgate

This past weekend, Viroqua Food Co-op in Viroqua, Wisconsin, hosted a P6 themed tailgate party to cheer on small, local, cooperative producers, and connect Viroqua shoppers directly to some of the friendly folks that produce their food. The tent was hopping all afternoon with community members interested in learning more about all the producers showcasing beef, beer, berries, fresh baked granola, and everything in between. Outreach Coordinator Bjorn Bergman spread the word in this video:

Here’s some info about the producers who were present: (more…)