Category: New Store Launch

Moscow Food Co-op Launches P6 In Style

Congratulations to Moscow Food Co-op, which fully launched the P6 program with an amazing parking lot party on Sunday, August 28. Over 600 community members came through their party, which featured 28 small, local, and cooperative vendors. Just among those producers who were in the parking lot, P6 sales on the day of the party were $2000!

Some feedback from vendors:

  • “Thank you so much for inviting us to the event! Our sales and marketing manager said it was the best tasting all around that she’s EVER done! The level of thoughtfulness and interest of all those in attendance was amazing! Thank you so much!”
  • “I thought the customers really liked it and were very involved and excited about the party!”
  • “Gained new interested customers!”

Check out pictures from the event:

Farmer Direct Cooperative: A New Kind of Co-op

P6 was honored to bring Farmer Direct Cooperative (FDC) on board as a member last year. FDC has been operating in Canada since 2002 but is just beginning to bring their products — beans, grains, and oilseeds — to the American market.

I spoke with founder and Director Jason Freeman and Retail Sales & Marketing Coordinator Katherine Gee about their co-op’s story.

Farmer Direct All Member MeetingFarmer Direct Cooperative was founded by Jason and three farmers in 2002. Jason had been operating a small organic food company and upon its sale was approached by the farmers he had been working with to market more of their crops. The farmers faced unfair pricing, poor logistics, and a lack of transparency. They collaborated with Jason to build a cooperative that would let them sell their crops, which included flaxseed, lentils, hempseed and peas, in a fair and direct way.

The Canadian prairies have a strong cooperative history, particularly for farmers. Farmer Direct Cooperative’s board president, Kevin Bristow, grew up watching his father run member services for a large conventional farmer co-op. What Farmer Direct Cooperative brings that is new is their commitment to their three attributes:

  • 100% Farmer Owned
  • 100% Certified Organic
  • 100% Domestic Fair Trade Certified

No other business boasts all three attributes, so let’s take some time to dig into what they all mean.

Farmer Owned

John Finnie & SonOrganizing as a cooperative, or farmer-owned businesses, was a bit of a no-brainer for the farmers. The strong culture of cooperatives in the area laid the groundwork, so when the farmers decided to come together, they knew they wanted one member, one vote; open and voluntary membership; and a way to participate fairly in an economic endeavor. What other way than through a cooperative? Their board president summed up why he joined the co-op as: “I believe in cooperatives, I believe in fairness, I believe in transparency. Collectively we have more strength, more advantage, more opportunity.”

Certified Organic

All 60 family farms that are member-owners of Farmer Direct Cooperative are fully organic. Most of them have been organic for at least 10 years. None of FDC’s members are “split operations,” or farms that grow both conventional and organic products. The strong commitment to only selling organic products is one of the big draws that brings farmers into the cooperative.

Domestic Fair Trade Certified

Farmer Direct Cooperative FamilyWhile running an organic farmers’ co-op was already innovative, Farmer Direct Cooperative made the decision over the last few years to continue their leadership in the field by certifying all their farmers Domestic Fair Trade. Farmer Direct Cooperative was the first business in North America to receive that certification, which ensures that business in North America are treating workers fairly and farmers are paid a fair price.

Jason said that change in any co-op can often cause members to split off. Despite the high reporting and auditing requirements that come with Domestic Fair Trade Certification, only two farmers left the co-op when the decision was made to bring the label on board. The overwhelming majority of FDC farmers saw this new certification as an important way they could push the industry in a fairer direction.

Another change for Farmer Direct Cooperative is their recent decision to expand into the US market. Joining P6 as the first international member was one step in their process to get connected to the players in the US market. Katherine, who serves as the primary liaison to P6, shared that building relationships with co-ops around the US and learning about the landscape and distribution here has been a huge advantage.

Farmer Direct Cooperative products on the shelf at Viroqua Food Co-opThrough their membership in P6 and the advocacy of our members, Farmer Direct Cooperative was able to get their products into the Co-op Partners Warehouse, which serves co-ops and other grocery stores all over the Upper Midwest. This type of distribution, which goes from a farmer co-op to a warehousing co-op to a grocery co-op, begins to build the co-op to co-op supply chain that’s at the heart of P6’s vision and a big part of the world Farmer Direct Cooperative is trying to build.

Jason and Katherine shared their visions for a more P6 world. Jason emphasized that co-ops may never fully replace conventional businesses, but that they serve as a crucial foil for the current system. In a P6 world, democratically owned businesses will drive corporations to better behavior through competition as the public gets more experience with cooperatives. There has to be an alternative to the rampant greed that leads to exploitation along the supply chain. Katherine foresees a world where co-op made is the preference and customers are knowledgeable and excited about cooperatives.

Jason and Katherine are optimistic about the long-term impacts of P6 on their co-op. We are extremely excited to continue to grow with them. You can learn more about Farmer Direct Cooperative at their website.

P6 Welcomes Two New Members

P6 is thrilled to announce that we have two new members joining P6! Moscow Food Co-op in Moscow, ID, and The Good Earth Food Co-op in St. Cloud, MN, are the most recent retail grocery co-ops to sign on.

Moscow Food Co-op

Moscow Food Co-opMoscow Food Co-op is a 43 year old co-op located in Moscow, ID. Moscow’s biggest goal in launching P6 is to elevate the visibility and economic impact of producers aligned with their values. They are motivated to use P6 to highlight their identity as a cooperative authentically connected to their community. For them, a successful implementation of P6 is a consistent, rewarding, exciting experience for their customers; a well-educated staff enthusiastic about the value of supporting small, local, and cooperative businesses; and thriving global and local partners.

The Good Earth Food Co-op

Good Earth Food Co-opThe Good Earth Food Co-op has been serving the St. Cloud, MN, area since 1971. Good Earth is launching the P6 program as they are developing many kinds of store signage for the first time, giving them a great vantage point to introduce their customers to the program. They share the same values as P6 and look forward to using the program to deepen and continue their support of small, local, and cooperative producers and to support the education of their members.

New P6 Member: Organic Valley

Ranck_PA_06-15_0645Here at P6, we are honored to welcome a new wholesale member: CROPP Cooperative. CROPP is a farmer co-op, owned by farmer members, and better known to the public as the successful brands they market under, Organic Valley and Organic Prairie. With CROPP’s membership, along with our longstanding policy of giving the P6 label to large co-ops like Organic Valley and Equal Exchange, we wanted to address a question that is often raised. Why do these big, successful businesses get the P6 label? Isn’t P6 all about supporting the small producer? The answer is yes!

P6 is about first and foremost supporting small producers, and in these cases we’re supporting small producers who have cooperatively and democratically organized together. Our organization, the Principle Six Cooperative Trade Movement, has support for cooperative businesses built into our structure. Benson_NY_09-15_16019Cooperatives are democratic institutions, and we believe that self-governance is a key component of the food system we want to see. We know that a farmer co-op like Organic Valley, or a worker co-op buying exclusively from small farmer co-ops like Equal Exchange, puts the best interests of small farmers at the heart of their business model. Many types of businesses make claims that they support small farmers, but their top priority is still making a profit for shareholders, not the farmers themselves. In these business models, control and decision-making power is concentrated at the top of the organization rather than being shared through democratic governance. The large co-ops of small farmers that we label as P6 exist primarily to benefit those farmers. Not just by paying them a better price for their goods, but by giving them the opportunity to be a part of the decision-making process within the business. As a consumer, you can be confident that your food dollars are going to support small family farmers when you buy products from these co-ops.

_DSC4877-minOrganic Valley has been a key supporter of P6 over the years, including funding our videos through their Farmers Advocating For Organics fund. They are an excellent example of cooperative economics in practice, and we are thrilled to have them on board as members. In order to tell the full story of our longtime supporter and newest member, I interviewed Jerry McGeorge, Vice President of Cooperative Affairs at Organic Valley, and his insights are throughout this article, which also draws from Organic Valley’s publications, particularly their farmer-facing co-op website.

In 1988, several small family farmers in Wisconsin started an organic vegetable marketing cooperative they dubbed Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool (CROPP). In July of 1988, they branched off into an organic dairy program with seven farmers who collectively produced 10,000 pounds (about 1,200 gallons) of milk every day. After a year and a half of disappointing sales, CROPP developed the Organic Valley brand and began marketing its own products directly. The cooperative has branched out several times since then with organic eggs in 1993, organic meats under the Organic Prairie label in 1999, and organic soy in 2004. Because the co-op has grown far beyond the Coulee Region, CROPP now stands for “Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools.” These producer pools organize farmers by type of product (dairy, meat, soy, etc) and by region. You can read more about the pool structure here.

DSC00126-min (1)Organic Valley is owned by 1,800 farm families in 34 states, Canada, and Australia. Those farmers elect and make up the board. The organization doesn’t exist to make profits for corporate shareholders; it exists to provide a livelihood for the owners who do the work to produce the milk and other products while meeting consumers’ growing demand for organic food.

Organic Valley’s pioneering “Y In The Road” payment system pays the farmers first, before retaining profits for the business. Organic milk prices can be very volatile, and the crash and boom cycle leads to an unpredictable income for farmers, who may be raising children or planning for retirement. Organic Valley evens out this cycle by planning target prices for each coming year, and has never sold below their target price. This means Organic Valley farmers can predict how much money they will be making in the coming year, and plan for the growth of their business (because all family farmers are small business owners, too!). Organic Valley also supports farmers as they transition into organic farming, which provides a pathway to a higher sale price for farmers that are currently selling conventional products, and expands the number of cows raised organically.

Ranck_PA_06-15_1749This stable pricing model has pioneered a new way of doing business in the organic milk industry. Other brands working with organic dairy farmers have followed suit in terms of offering a consistent price, to keep up with the competitive pricing offered to farmers by Organic Valley. At this point, about 10% of the organic dairy farmers in the country are owners of Organic Valley, and they are still seeking out new owners to meet the demand for Organic Valley products. Organic Valley’s policies don’t only improve life for the farmers they work with directly; they ripple out to the whole industry.


Jerry McGeorge explained that Organic Valley is a national co-op with a regional focus. Dairy is a product with a short shelf-life, so supply-chain concerns are particularly pressing in this industry. The Organic Valley brand is recognizable across the country, but the milk you shelf tags in dairy coolerbuy likely came from the region you live in. The national scope of the co-op also allows farmers to support each other’s variations in production. This is especially important in cases of severe weather conditions. When tornadoes come through the Midwest, or California faces a drought, consumers still want milk. Farmers in different regions are less likely to be impacted by the same environmental factors, so a functional, farmer-owned distribution network builds resiliency.

Speaking of the environment, Organic Valley is committed to environmental sustainability. They are one of the only food companies in the US that sells only certified organic products, which has huge impacts on the ecosystems surrounding the member farms. Organic means that Organic Valley member farms never use antibiotics, toxic pesticides, synthetic hormones, or synthetic fertilizers. The cows raised by Organic Valley farmers are pastured, which produces healthier milk and nourishes the soil. In addition, Organic Valley has installed enough wind power to cover 63% of the energy use at their headquarters, including their 10-story cold storage facility, as well as investing in solar and biodiesel. More information about their sustainability commitment here.

Teague_8376The democratic process at a cooperative isn’t always easy. There can be real differences of opinion between the farmers as they work together to govern their business. In one example, the co-op faced a challenge when some farms started selling raw milk. While some farmers were in favor, due to the possible health benefits and different flavor of raw milk that drive consumer interest, others were concerned about the impacts on the entire brand if one or two people got sick  from raw milk sold by an Organic Valley farmer. Ultimately, the farmers made a decision to not allow raw milk sales from any  of their farms. As Jerry put it, whether or not you agree with that decision, the farmers were able to make it democratically, in a way that ultimately reflected their mutual self-interest.

Teague_8378Organic Valley is a strategic partner for P6 because of their dedication to and experience in cooperative business growth and supply chain development. The logistics of transporting that milk around the country takes thoughtful planning and a tremendous amount of work. Organic Valley has started a subsidiary business called Organic Logistics. They saw that their costs for shipping product were higher than necessary because they were sending out less than full loads, or shipping product in one direction and paying for the truck to come back empty. Organic Logistics uses Organic Valley’s shipments as an anchor, while providing distribution services for other small, organic businesses. This maximizes the value of the shipments and builds a P6 and organic economy. Jerry emphasized the challenge that distribution poses for small producers who are trying to expand. He highlighted Walmart’s success at figuring out distribution challenges as one reason for their financial success. If we want to build an alternative food system, we need to develop efficient systems for getting healthy, fresh food to people.

The ability to aggregate or “pool” the farm products of several small producers is a key concern for large-scale cooperative businesses. Organic Valley attributes part of its success to its ability to aggregate — that is, bring together the products of many small farmers to a shared product stream, like a milk packager, and to market them collectively. As Jerry put it, there is strength in numbers. Reaching a certain economy of scale allows the co-op to offer farmers the kind of stabilized sale prices mentioned above. Bringing the product together — aggregation — so it can be sent out to a wide range of retailers — distribution — while allowing farmers to retain democratic control of the business is what makes Organic Valley an exemplar of P6’s values.

DSC00130-min (1)Jerry said that Organic Valley hopes to offer a similar stabilizing effect as a member of P6. Jerry, along with Organic Valley’s VP of Sales, Eric Newman, who sits on the P6 board, got interested in P6 through the Viroqua Food Co-op. Viroqua Food Co-op is the closest food co-op for most of the staff at Organic Valley’s La Farge, WI headquarters. At the time VFC was joining P6, Jerry sat on the VFC board. Many people worked to develop a way for farmer co-ops like Organic Valley to plug into P6. As Jerry put it, natural food co-ops are Organic Valley’s oldest and most loyal customers. Finding a way to strengthen the connection between grocery co-ops and all farmer co-ops, including Organic Valley, aligns well with Organic Valley’s commitment to the sixth  cooperative principle.

Organic Valley is a leader in the field of cooperative agriculture. We enthusiastically welcome them into the P6 cooperative and look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Menomonie Market Food Co-op and Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op To Join P6

P6 is extremely excited to share that we have two new retail food co-ops joining P6! Menomonie Market Food Co-op in Menomonie, Wisconsin, and Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op in Roanoke, Virginia, are the latest co-ops to sign on to the program. For those of you attending the annual meeting, you’ll get to meet staff from both stores.

Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op

Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op LogoRoanoke Natural Foods Co-op is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The store has two locations as well as an urban farm. They are excited about joining P6 because they have been searching for a better way to explain their stance on food. The program will support their shoppers’ decisions to buy from small, local, and cooperative businesses. They hope that over time, the P6 brand becomes an expectation for their shoppers who chose the co-op over other stores because they tell the whole story of the food they sell. They will be launching the P6 program as a part of their 40th anniversary celebrations this year.

Menomonie Market Food Co-op

Menomonie_Market_Food_Co-op_STMenomonie Market Food Co-op is currently in the process of opening a new storefront location. They have been able to marshal funding from a federal grant, from the city, and from their members (including $1 million from members!) to open a new, bigger location in Menomonie. MMFC has a strong relationship with neighboring co-op Viroqua Food Co-op, positioning them to jump right into the P6 network. They already have a large number of products on the shelves that fit the P6 criteria. They are willing to go the extra mile for the P6 principles and are looking forward to making that idea a concise and well-integrated part of their new co-op. They will be launching the P6 program in their new space, meaning that P6 labels can be on the shelves from day one in the new location.

New P6 Member: Maple Valley Syrup Cooperative

P6’s newest wholesale member is Maple Valley Cooperative!

P6 is excited to introduce Maple Valley Co-op as our newest wholesale member! Maple Valley produces certified organic grade A and B Maple Syrup, Sugar, Candy, and Cream. Just as it takes high quality coffee producers and roasters to create excellent coffee, it also takes dedicated organic maple farmers and artisan bottlers to blend the most nutritious maple syrup for the finest color and flavor.

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Now based out of Cashton, Wisconsin, Maple Valley was originally founded by Cecil Wright and two friends in 1991. A lifelong maple farmer himself, Cecil also worked at Organic Valley for 18 years, offering him experience that fueled the inspiration and expertise to shift Maple Valley’s business structure into a cooperative in 2007.

I spoke with Cecil, who is also the current board president, about Maple Valley, its role in P6, and his vision for a cooperative economy:

Maple Valley as a Co-op

Maple Valley Co-op’s mission is “to produce and market the finest organic maple products with fair and sustainable methods, while respecting farmers, our customers, our vendors, our employees, the land and our communities.”

Maple Valley is the only all-organic maple syrup cooperative based in the United States, with 15 farmer members tapping trees in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Vermont. They’re growing fast. In 2014, their sales were just over $825,000; in 2015, they are budgeted to have $1.7 million in revenues. That growth is backed up with strong values and democratic ownership.

Cup of maple

At Maple Valley, farmers, employees, customers (meaning stores that buy maple syrup as well as individuals), vendors (meaning people and businesses that provide services to the co-op), and investors can all become members in different classes. While everyone gets a voice, the governance of the co-op is set up so that farmers get three seats on the Board of Directors, and each other class elects one of the remaining four seats. This way, farmers must be on board with most decisions that are made, and their perspective remains at the center of the business.

Maple Valley Cooperative: Meet your Maple Farmers from DriftlessDigital on Vimeo.

Maple Valley and P6

Maple Valley products are labeled as P6 in all P6 stores because they always meet two out of the three P6 requirements. All stores count Maple Valley as small and cooperative, because it is a cooperative of small farmers. For our Upper Midwest member stores, Maple Valley also meets the third requirement to be local.

Maple Valley (Cecil in particular) has been instrumental in defining the role of wholesale members within P6. Cecil says he’s grateful for the opportunity to market the cooperative advantage when he talks with food co-ops around the country. He says, “P6 gives us a more programmatic way to keep the cooperative economy in front of the food co-ops. It’s a helpful way of educating our cooperative stores about what a cooperative economy looks like.“ Cecil’s experience developing the five different membership classes at Maple Valley has helped P6 to develop our wholesaler class.

Maple Valley and the Cooperative Economy

Managing a multi-stakeholder cooperative has large challenges but also large benefits. The big challenge is that all the different classes of members have slightly different interests — customers want lower prices, workers and producers want higher compensation, and investors want consistent returns. In navigating these different interests, Cecil emphasizes the importance of fairness and providing just compensation for the work the farmers do. The benefits, according to Cecil, outweigh the costs: “The multi-stakeholder model gives everyone an opportunity to join and say they’re contributing. It allows for more people to touch the cooperative economy. They can be members and participate.” In an ideal world, in addition to selling to cooperative grocery stores, Maple Valley would also be served by a trucking cooperative, a glass manufacturing cooperative, and more. Cecil invoked the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain, where that kind of cooperative economy is more developed.

Maple Valley Mike, Eric, Renee, Adrienne, Cecil

In Vernon County, where Cecil lives, the cooperative economy already has a strong foothold. Cecil estimated that there are 30-40 co-ops there, filling every need from food to electricity to telephones to banking to maple syrup. Organic Valley is a huge anchor for cooperatives and for sustainable food in the region.

Cecil said that a big turning point for him around understanding the importance of cooperatives was re-imagining the question of efficiency. The dominant economic system in America claims efficiency, he explained, but when big corporate investors expect a 10-15% return, “it’s totally inefficient to me because it puts money into other people’s hands. It takes away resources and money from the business to make that kind of profit.” Maple Valley has chosen to create a class for investors and to set a goal of providing a 6.5% return on that investment. This allows the business to get the start-up capital it needed and to make good on rewarding that investment without disregarding the needs of other parts of the business. Keeping money in the business and keeping decision-making shared over a diversity of stake holders leads to a more efficient use of resources, even if it takes longer to make decisions.

Maple Valley‘s sap harvest

Adrienne Fox, Maple Valley’s Sales and Marketing Representative, and Bjorn Bergman, Viroqua Food Co-op’s P6 coordinator (who also worked a few years with Cecil harvesting sap) share the following explanation of the maple sugaring process:

“As spring approaches and the days become warmer, maple trees move out of winter hibernation. The trees begin to send sap, composed of sugars stored in their roots, up into their branches during days that reach temperatures above 40 degrees. When it drops below freezing at night, the sap flows back down toward the roots. When the sap flows, farmers tap!

Maple Valley Co-op --Some of our local maple tree tops

During the day the maple farmer drills a hole in the trunk and lightly taps in a plastic or steel tap, which diverts some of the maple sap out of the tree into a collection system. Some maple farmers use traditional methods to collect sap with buckets or bags. More modern methods employ plastic tubing strung between the trees, where the sap flows downhill through the tubing into a central collection stainless steel tank.

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Once farmers collect the sap, they walk, truck or pump it back to their sugar shack where it’s processed. Most of Maple Valley’s farmers use reverse osmosis systems to remove excess water in the sap, prior to boiling it in an evaporator. These osmosis systems create efficiency and reduce energy needed for evaporators. Once the sap reaches an approximate 66% sugar and 34% water mark, it’s filtered and hot packed into 40 or 55 gallon drums and eventually shipped to the co-op commercial kitchen facility, which is both organic and kosher certified. Maple Valley’s artisan bottler then blends the re-inspected barrels to the finest color, flavor, and brix level. Bottles and other containers are commercially hot packed and labeled for long term safe maple storage.“

Jim and Eric laying out the lines

Maple Valley and the maple syrup industry

Maple syrup is a notoriously inconstant industry. How much syrup farmers can make is determined almost entirely by the environment. The quantity of sap each year is almost completely dependent on the weather in the spring. New research indicates that the quantity of seeds dropped from maple trees is a predictor of the sugar levels in the sap. 2013 was one of the best years on record for maple syrup, due to a long spring with days in the 40s and nights below freezing. As climate change brings unexpected weather patterns and a generally warming climate, sugaring is an increasingly volatile field.

The co-op is there to mediate the relationships that help maple syrup happen. Whether there’s a glut or a scarcity of syrup, the co-op works with farmers and customers to ensure a fair price that means the farmers can take care of their families and the customers can afford the product. The employees check in with farmers throughout the winter and fall, negotiating prices with the stores that sell the product. Aggregating the syrup from several farmers gains the benefits of consolidation, but the co-op model ensures that ownership and decision-making remain democratic.

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Maple Valley and Organic Certification

Maple Valley also faces an interesting set of challenges because of their choice to produce organic syrup. The criteria to be certified organic include:

  1. No chemical usage in our woods for weed trees, roads or paths through the forests
  2. No lead soldered equipment in production—on the farms or in the commercial kitchen facility.
  3. A managed buffer between the maple woodlands and neighboring farms
  4. Responsible tapping (not over-tapping so the tree has enough sap to grow vibrantly.
  5. Responsible forest management (tree thinning, care of root systems under paths and roads, diversity of tree species other than maple, protection of wildlife habitat and healthy insects)
  6. Organic standard cleaning products in the bottling facility that do not leave chemical residue
  7. Non-chemical pest control monitoring systems (required for all processing facilities)
  8. Certified Organic vegetable oil (what Maple Valley uses!) or butter as a defoamer in sugar shack evaporators.

That last one is a little confusing if you aren’t familiar with the process of sugaring. As maple syrup boils, it can boil over unless a “defoamer” is added. This usually is just a drop or two in a whole vat. Many non-organic farms use chemical defoamers, non-organic oils, butter or animal fat. While bacon fat or butter are traditional, Maple Valley is also vegan and kosher, which means that a vegetable oil is the best choice for them.

The Maple Valley Co-op in 2015

There’s an exciting future in front of Maple Valley as the co-op is expecting more growth in 2015. They are expanding their grocery syrup into new distributors as well as servicing more bulk syrup for delis, bakeries, coffee bars, and restaurants. In addition to their iced maple lattes, look forward this summer to fun grilling and shifting the sugar to maple. Maple Valley putting out new recipes for maple barbecue, baked maple beans, fresh maple lemonade, crispy cold slaw, salads and light maple desserts.

As the business grows, the underlying foundations of Maple Valley Co-op are democratic. The community that produces, works for, sells, and buys the maple syrup owns Maple Valley. As a community owned business, Maple Valley is a part of the P6 vision for a cooperative economy. We welcome them to our membership and look forward to working together for a better food system.

 

P6 Launch at Fayetteville’s Midtown Music Launch

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The good people at Ozark Natural Foods are excited! Why? Because they just launched their very own P6 program. They invited in their community to join them and learn about the program at the Midtown Music Festival, an annual neighborhood party in Fayetteville, AR. There was a photo booth, face painting, balloon twisting, and even a bounce house! Every dollar spent at the festival went to benefit Apple Seeds, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching children how to grow their own food.

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One food truck handed out hot dogs for free, while the store provided tamales and black bean burgers. There was not only a raffle for gift cards to local businesses but also a dunk tank to sink local celebrities. The event got a ton of people to the store to come in and learn more about the P6 program. Congratulations on a great event!

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Welcome, Ozark Natural Foods!

Ozark LogoWe are very excited to welcome Ozark Natural Foods of Fayetteville, AR, to the P6 program. After a very thorough preparation process, Ozark officially launched the program in their stores on September 1. They’re having an additional celebration on September 13. We’ll tell you about both those events later that week. For now, we just say “Welcome!” to Ozark Natural Foods.

Three Rivers Market launches P6!

Congratulations to Three Rivers Market in Knoxville, TN, on launching the P6 Cooperative Trade Movement at their co-op! Merchandising Director Loralyn Howard shared her thoughts on the P6 launch party.

“I’m happy to report that our P6 launch event was a great success! We had over 600 guests at the store during the event! The weather was perfect – sunny, warm and even a bit breezy. The food trucks were cooking and serving to full capacity, and several of them had to run inside for emergency grocery shopping! The food vendors and our customers had a great time, and we had many requests for more events like this.

We’ve already gotten a great response about P6 from customers and P6 vendors. The family from one of our local farms, JEM Farm, expressed their gratitude for being included in P6 on our Facebook page and at the Sunday Supper. I encountered a customer in the store earlier this week who happened to be looking for a P6 pasta sauce. I was happy to see that P6 had already become a regular part of her shopping experience. I’m looking forward to the P6 movement growing in our store. Our customers already value local products highly, and we believe that over time, P6 products will become as important to them. I look forward to the continued growth of Principle Six in our co-op and others!”