Through donations, partnerships and the way we do business, Central Co-op takes action to help make our cities and our regional food system vibrant, sustainable, and equitable. When our communities thrive, our Co-op and our owners thrive!
Through our focus on sourcing food from Washington producers and providing good wages and benefits to our workers, we contribute to a strong local economy. Through donations and our Central Community Partners program, we strategically support organizations that share our values. And by facilitating donations from our shoppers through our Round-Up program, we improve food access to our neighbors most in need.
Links to learn more:
In 2017, Central Co-op shared the results of our first Impact Study, which gave hard numbers to the positive effect the co-op has on our state. In 2018, we asked Civic Economics to update this study in order to show the ripple effect that the Co-op's progressive compensation package and support for local producers have on our economy. The result: The report found Central Co-op’s economic activity generates an additional $8 million in Washington’s local economy compared to a conventional grocery chain store!
This study shows that we are putting our cooperative principles into action for tangible results that go beyond the walls of our Co-op. These results demonstrate the power of community ownership and democratic governance as we put the values of our community to work in our Co-op! Congratulations and thank you to all our members!
The two major ways that the Co-op achieves this is by hiring full time employees on living wage principles and by going out of its way to ensure Washington producers and suppliers are used whenever possible. This recirculation allows money to churn through the region, creating revenues used to build and support the roads, schools, bridges, and libraries that make this the vibrant community that it is today.
Each year, Central Co-op chooses several Central Community Partners, and through financial contributions and outreach, we support their work to sustain, nourish, and empower healthy communities in and around Seattle and Tacoma.
Community Partners receive:
Our Partners are local, small-to mid-size organizations making a big impact in their communities, who may find non-traditional and smaller funding sources especially beneficial. We engage these partnerships to uphold our values; promote strong healthy communities; build just and sustainable local food systems; and feed resilient and regenerative ecosystems.
Partnership is a two-way relationship! Partners connect to the Co-op online, share key Co-op information with their networks, and provide opportunity for Central Co-op to do outreach at Partner events when appropriate.
Green Plate Special (pictured above): Green Plate Special’s mission is to inspire and empower youth to experience food in new ways through gardening, cooking, and eating together. Their hands-on programs for ages 9-14 explore nutrition, science, and the environment in both the garden and the kitchen. Youth take part in all aspects of their food-growing garden, seed-to-table harvest. Cooking projects introduce knife skills and kitchen safety, as well as culturally-responsive recipes and cooking techniques that inspire youth to try new foods and experience different ways of preparing them. They offer after-school and in-class curriculum-focused opportunities: field trips, community partnerships, and spring and summer camps. See their Winter 2019 Newsletter.
City Fruit: Seattle has one of the most extensive networks of urban fruit trees in the country. City Fruit puts these trees to their best and fullest use so that everyone in our community shares in the value of fruit. Their Harvest program is their keystone program - each year, they harvest tens of thousands of pounds of fruit, sharing the vast majority of it with more than 50 food banks and community partners, across the city.
St. Leo Food Connection: The St. Leo Food Connection has been fighting hunger in Pierce County for over 36 years. Their brick-and-mortar location, the St. Leo Food Bank, sees an average of 300 families every day, five days per week. They also operate the Springbrook Mobile Food Bank, which serves 200 households in the Springbrook neighborhood of Lakewood every Saturday. Finally, they have Children's Programs that work with Tacoma, Lakewood, and Puyallup schools to ensure that thousands of children have the food they need on weekends, after-school, during holiday breaks, and over the summer.
The Center for Food Preservation Arts: The Center for Food Preservation Arts was founded in 2015 with a mission to work locally to re-center the food system by addressing food insecurity and waste at the grassroots level; growing community through education and shared food preservation activities. Community workshops and canning events include everything from basic kitchen skills, to recipes and techniques for preserving seasonal produce, to sharing homemade gifts from the garden and kitchen. CFPA's flagship program, Preservin' for the Hungry, transforms produce that would otherwise be wasted into healthful food products for distribution to those in need. With a commitment to Access, Education, Support, and Community, CFPA provides more than just what you can fit in a jar.
Round Up for Neighborhood Food Banks
Central Co-op allows our shoppers to round up their grocery bill to the nearest dollar or more to raise money for local food banks. This money is placed on Central Co-op gift cards for the food banks to purchase whatever is most useful for their programs.
Tell your cashier you'd like to "Round Up" and your change will automatically be donated to these local food banks:
In 2016, our shoppers donated $15,064 through rounding up at check-out. In 2017 they donated an amazing $49,588! That's more than triple the previous year! In addition to our food bank partners, we also did a special Pride Month"Round Up for Love" campaign (benefiting Gay City and Tacoma Rainbow Center) and did special round-ups for hurricane victims in Texas (Feeding Texas) and $12,600 for co-op reconstruction in Puerto Rico through the Cooperative Development Foundation. We're so proud to have such generous people as our shoppers. Let's keep Rounding Up for our neighbors and community!
Thanks to our community from Byrd Barr Place
"Thanks to Central Co-op, we are able to provide our food bank clients with fresh, healthy produce that they may not otherwise be able to include in their diets. The staff is always great in helping to select and order produce that will optimize value and nutrition. Byrd Barr Place is proud to have Central Co-op as a partner in fighting hunger." - May, 2016
Thanks to our community from JFS Food Bank:
The Central Co-op is more than just a good neighbor to JFS. The ROUND UP program is a very effective and supportive way to help in a direct way. It provides JFS funds to purchase high quality bulk products for our Food Bank Program. The support from the front end team shows their commitment to community in a very direct way. We also appreciate the valuable “floor space” for our JFS bin at the front of the store. Your support of our programming contributes to both the health and well –being of our clients and also the health and well-being of our community. Thank you Central Co-op! - May, 2016
We build relationships with organizations that promote cooperative community in these ways:
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Living on a restricted income? When you sign up for the Healthy Community Program you receive a 10% discount when you shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays. HCP is open to everyone, both owners and non-owners alike.
HCP is an annual program, so even if you participated one year, you’ll need to sign up again and get a new card the following year.
Stop by Central Services to sign up or learn more or email us for more information.
Looking for amazing prices on everyday products? Look for products marked with a purple Co+op Basics tag!
We've got staple foods, bulk goods, dairy, and other popular items at prices you'll love. Prices are good for all shoppers. Click here for a sampling of products and prices.