Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors Needed

Yelm Food Co-op DirectorsJan 20, 2015

The Yelm Cooperative is now accepting applications for new members of the Board of Directors who can begin serving immediately.

This is a chance for people with leadership skills to join our dynamic, growing organization and help make a real difference in our community. As a federal 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, we are embarking on a new journey with many new possibilities as far as program development and funding are concerned.

The Board of Directors oversees operations of the Yelm Food Co-op store and the Yelm Farmer’s Market, both of which are already successful programs. Development of the Community Food Education Program and its Community Gardens project are still in the future, but are a major part of our overall vision for the organization.

If you feel you have the skills and the passion to advance the Yelm Cooperative into its fabulous future, please look through the Vision & Mission statement and then fill out an application (see following links). Drop your completed applications at the Yelm Food Co-op store location or email them to

Vision & Mission Statement

2015 YC Board Application

Board Application Skills Matrix

Be a leader in growing the Yelm Cooperative into all it can be!

Read More
The Cure for Your Holiday Sugar Hangover

The Cure for Your Holiday Sugar Hangover

nh-preserves-apricot_21_bigLet us guess: your friends, relatives and neighbors dropped by during the holidays bearing individually wrapped chocolates, homemade cookies, pumpkin pie and more. Delicious as they undoubtedly were, at this point the sight of one more sugary concoction might send you over the edge. Fortunately, the Yelm Cooperative has an antidote: sugar-free jams, jellies and preserves from Nature’s Hollow. The company also makes honey, maple syrup and an all-natural sweetener that are perfect for anyone looking to tone down their sugar intake. As an example, while regular maple syrup has 53g of sugar per serving, Nature’s Hollow maple syrup has zero.

The secret ingredient is Xylitol, a natural sweetener with a very low glycemic index and few calories. Nature’s Hollow uses Xylitol in all of their creations, which makes them ideal for diabetics, and those looking to manage their waistlines now that the holidays are over.  Unlike many artificial sweeteners, it also tastes good. “I love the ketchup and jams,” says co-op working member Florence Vincent. “My diet requires I cut out sugar completely, so the products are a godsend for me.”

Visit the Yelm Co-op and pick up a jar or two and kick off your new year on a healthy note!

Read More

The EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” food additives

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Here is their 2014 list of the worst dozen food additives found in the world’s food supply.

Be an informed shopper and look out for these. As always, do your won research and draw your own conclusions.

This article ( is part of our information program at the Yelm Cooperative.


Nitrites and nitrates are used as preservatives in cured meats such asbacon, salami, sausages and hot dogs. Nitrites, which can form from nitrates, react with naturally occurring components of protein calledamines. This reaction can form nitrosamines, which are known cancer-causing compounds. Nitrosamines can form in nitrite or nitrate-treated meat or in the digestive tract.


Potassium bromate is used to strengthen bread and cracker dough and help it rise during baking. It is listed as a known carcinogen by the state of California, and the international cancer agency classifies it as a possible human carcinogen (IARC 1999; OEHHA 2014).


Propyl paraben is used as a preservative in foods such as tortillas, muffins and food dyes. People can be exposed to it either as a direct additive or as result of contamination during food processing and packaging
Propyl paraben acts as a weak synthetic estrogen


A wide variety of foods contain BHA, including chips and preserved meats. It is also added to fats and to foods that contain fats and is allowed as a preservative in flavoring.

The National Toxicology Program classifies it as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” the international cancer agency categorizes it as a possible human carcinogen, and it’s listed as a known carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 (NTP 2011; IARC 1986; OEHHA 2014).


Is not a listed carcinogen, but some data have shown that it does cause cancer in animals. Rats fed BHT have developed lung and liver tumors (EFSA 2012). BHT has also been shown to cause developmental effects and thyroid changes in animals, suggesting that it may be able to disrupt endocrine signaling (EFSA 2012)


Propyl gallate is used as a preservative in products that contain edible fats, such as sausage and lard. It is classified as GRAS even though a National Toxicology Program study reported an association with tumors in male rats and rare brain tumors in two female rats (NTP 1982


An alkaloid found in chocolate that has effects similar to caffeine.  The producer’s estimated average human consumption rate was five times higher than the level the company reported as safe (NRDC FOIA 2013). But it is now listed as GRAS without the FDA’s approval.


The truth is that when you see the word “flavor” on a food label, you have almost no clue what chemicals may have been added to the food under the umbrella of this vague term.
In addition to the flavor-adding chemicals themselves, flavor mixtures often contain natural or artificial emulsifiers, solvents and preservatives that are called “incidental additives,” which means the manufacturer does not have to disclose their presence on food labels.


Artificial colors are often used to increase the appeal of foods that have little nutritional value. Questions have been raised about the safety of one class of synthetic colors, called FD&C (Food, Drug & Cosmetics) colors, and contaminants in other artificial colorings as well.


Diacetyl, used as a butter flavoring in microwave popcorn, is associated with a severe and irreversible respiratory condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, which leads to inflammation and permanent scarring of the airways


Phosphates are frequently added to unhealthy highly processed foods, including fast foods. In people with chronic kidney disease, high phosphate levels in the body are associated with heart disease and death (Ritz 2012).


Additives containing aluminum, such as sodium aluminum phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate, are used as stabilizers in many processed foods.  While significant scientific uncertainty remains around whether there may be links between aluminum-based food additives and health effects, their widespread use warrants putting them on the “watch list.”

Read More
Celebrating the Co-op Team

Celebrating the Co-op Team

DSC02527Everyone contributes. Some may do one four-hour shift a week, others may help with specific events like Beer & Brats, while still others may work more than two shifts per week. But throughout the year, everyone connected with the Yelm Food Cooperative, employees, volunteers, and working members all support its success. Those contributions were recognized at the annual Appreciation Party on December 14th in a festive night filled with outrageous food and great wine.  “It’s important to acknowledge the people who volunteer their time and energy to support the co-op and make it grow – to honor them for their time and energy,” says event coordinator Barbara Morando.

“I think everyone really saw how much they were appreciated because it was clear that a lot of thought and effort went into the event,” says Manager Kate Morgan. “I was really impressed with how beautiful the setting was and how much the organizers had put into it.” Local chef Dawn Young of Early Dawn’s Eatery created a delectable spread and Anne Marsh provided matching wines from the Wine Cellar of Yelm.

Volunteers are essential for the running of the store, says Kate. “They get their discount and a couple of little perks, but other than that, they don’t get a lot of appreciation. A lot of customers don’t realize that they’re volunteers.”  Board Treasurer Tom Dewell was struck by how many of the people being recognized have been part of the Co-op for years, if not from the beginning. “This organization was founded and kept alive by the hard work of people who have decided this is a cause they want to support and are willing to give time and energy to make it so,” he says.  “Volunteer-based organizations are so tenuous because those folks can walk at any time, but so many of ours have stayed and stayed and stayed.”

Aside from a chance to acknowledge everyone, the event offers another opportunity. “Even as an employee, I don’t get to interact with all the volunteers who might come in once a week,” says Kate. “People get to meet other working members and volunteers that they might not even know. Events like this form a community relationship. Getting to interface with the board and all the people involved just makes it stronger.”

Read More
Happy Holidays From The Bees!

Happy Holidays From The Bees!

PillarGroupBeeswaxCall it your ‘Circle of Life’ holiday gift: hand-dipped beeswax candles from Big Dipper Wax Works in Seattle. This company not only uses nectar from flowers gathered by honeybees, it then turns around and donates 10% of the net profits from all candle sales to organizations dedicated to outreach, education, and sustainability efforts devoted to promoting sustainable beekeeping. “Big Dipper is committed to supporting a vibrant community of customers, beekeepers, and bees,” says founder Brent Roose.

Many candles come with unfortunate side effects because they are made using paraffin, a petroleum by-product which is chemically bleached and hardened, emits black soot and pollutes the air. Big Dipper candles are 100% natural and free of paraffin and other toxins. Unlike most products used in candles, beeswax actually cleans the air by emitting negative ions.

Stop by the Yelm Cooperative during your holiday shopping for some elegant hand-dipped tapers or pillars made with an exquisite mix of essential oils. This is one gift that will keep on giving.

Read More

Holiday Grapevine is out!

christmas tree

The latest issue of the Yelm Cooperatives Grapevine is out for your reading pleasure!

$1 Million in sales

Last issue we talked about reaching $1 million in sales this year and asking for your help.
Well, as I post this, we are set to reach that magical goal by mid- December!!

Packed with Articles

Check out the great articles this issue:

=> History of Co-ops, part 2

=> The General Manager’s bi-monthly report

=> A wrap up of this yea’s hugely successful Farmers Market

=> Our regular “Vegan Corner” has some things to think about
when you think you are eating vegan, but might not be!

=> 2 pages of YFC specials for December and January

=> Some very yummy recipes from staff members:
             Almond Crescent Cookies,
             Stuffed Bell Peppers
             Pumpkin Soup
–  all perfect for cold winter days!

Working Members

On the back page is  a column that addresses a very critical need for your Co-op’s continued success – that is the need for more Working Members to help run the store. You may have noticed recently that there are times when there is only one of 2 people working in the store on a shift. That person has to be cashier, stocker, order receiver, telephone answerer, customer service rep and do anything else that comes up. So, please if you can find the time to lend a hand or know someone who could, talk to one of the staff members.

There is not only the satisfaction that comes from serving our local community with high quality, nutritious and yummy foods, Working Members receive some great benefits!

Great opportunity for a someone to keep the store shiny and clean!

Anyone who finds a volunteer who is willing to be the person who does regular cleaning of the store will get a

$100 Gift Card!

And the cleaner volunteer will get one, too!

Both cards will be issued after the volunteer has worked for 3 months. If the volunteer wants to become a Working Member, they will receive those additional benefits as well, like 2o% discounts on purchases, Buy Club privileges and a La Gitana VIP card.

Get this Grapevine issue at the store while supplies last or download it here:

Grapevine – Holiday 2014

You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this. You can download it here:

Read More
Gift of Gobble Expands Community Impact

Gift of Gobble Expands Community Impact

DSC02287This Thanksgiving, the Yelm Food Cooperative’s annual Gift of Gobble project exceeded all expectations, both in the number of families reached and the amount of money raised. “It was a quantum leap this year,” says Outreach Coordinator Andrea Levanti. Co-op volunteers raised over $7,000 and provided meals for 128 families – three more than their original goal of 125.

The project has evolved greatly since its inception in 2010 and every year is able to make a greater impact in the community.  “It’s very gratifying to develop a network with other groups that have been doing this all along,” says Levanti. “St. Vincent de Paul is an amazing organization that helps families with basic things like keeping their electricity on. This year for the first time we worked with Yelm Community Schools, and I had a bunch of counselors contact me with families to nominate. Our military contact at JBLM came through with twenty-five families. ”

For recipients, the gift of a complete Thanksgiving feast translates into multiple meals that help to feed other friends and relatives. “People have shared with us that they’re able to get up to six meals out of what they’re given, and then they use the turkey bones to make soup,” says project coordinator Barbara Morando.

Co-op volunteer Tina Maggio has been involved from the beginning and coined the term “Gift of Gobble”. She points out an unusual aspect of the program.  “The cool thing is that there’s no questions asked,” she says.  “Anyone can nominate a family – it’s not based on their income. Once the name goes in, there’s nothing to prove.” Barbara Morando adds that Gift of Gobble helps maintain the dignity of recipients by avoiding invasive questions.

Such details are clearly appreciated. In the flood of thank you letters and emails that followed this year’s project, one stood out. It came from a man who had frequently volunteered with homeless shelters himself. “This year, it was my turn to receive,” he said. “I was stunned as I am not usually on that end; yet this year with no income per se, no food stamps either, I became the recipient of a meal donated by the Yelm Food Co-op. What I observed in a short moment of waiting for the gift, was a group of busy, caring, generous people thoughtfully and tastefully putting together a meal fit for royalty . . . like a wave in the ocean of social reality and consciousness, what is given forth will surely return to the giver. Your giving spirit shall see its wondrous return. Bravo to the community spirit! Thank you volunteers and members of the Yelm Food Co-op.”

Read More
Middle Eastern Goodies Provide Mental Vacation

Middle Eastern Goodies Provide Mental Vacation

Signature Hummus OLF 040610As the Pacific Northwest winter closes in, you may find yourself dreaming of warmer – nay, hotter – climes. Greece, for example, or possibly Lebanon may come to mind. Don’t fight it. Just throw on some culturally appropriate music and crank up your woodstove. Now you have the perfect setting for delicacies from Exquisite N Traditional, an Olympia-based company specializing in middle eastern products. Owner Habib Serhan was born in Lebanon and his recipes were passed down by his mother and grandmother.

Currently, The Yelm Food Cooperative carries their all-natural hummus made from garbanzo beans, squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic cloves, tahini and sea salt.  Habib also makes another delicious dish called labneh, a soft cheese made from strained yogurt. The latter makes an excellent low-calorie alternative to regular cream cheese. The yogurt is made from natural, growth hormone-free milk, which is then combined with olive oil, sea salt, garlic, dried mint and cucumber. Look for it in the refrigerated section near the produce.

Side note: they also cater with a larger range of entrees and side dishes! So if you want to go all in: make a full playlist, order more firewood, send for some ouzo and call them or visit

Read More
Nourishing the Community: Gift of Gobble’s 5th Year

Nourishing the Community: Gift of Gobble’s 5th Year

It’s one thing to visit a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. It’s another entirely for people who find themselves in difficult Gobble 006 (1)circumstances to receive the gift of a complete holiday meal that they can fix for themselves and enjoy with their family at home. That is the premise of The Gift of Gobble, now in its fifth year at the Yelm Food Cooperative. This way, “They get to have their holiday with their family instead of going somewhere and standing in line to get a hot meal,” says Project Director Barbara Morando.

The idea began in 2010, when Outreach Coordinator Andrea Levanti envisioned the project and started it with 34 families. Each year, that number has grown and this Thanksgiving the goal is 125.   Morando and her team work with local groups to get the word out.  “We call on every church, all the different denominations, we contact the military, people who are disabled – we try to include the broad spectrum of our community,” she says.

On the business side, the response has been heartwarming. “I was extremely surprised last year when Andrea and I went around to the businesses asking for donations,” Morando says.  “Almost every single one of them gave. The response was impressive considering the economic climate nowadays. I think that they care about their community and their fellow man.”

Morando and her team of volunteers get to see the impact they’re making firsthand when the folks arrive to pick up their feasts. “People are so touched they’re almost in tears. One woman told us she was so grateful to have this meal because otherwise her family would have had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Thanksgiving. Another young couple said they had just moved out here from New York with nothing. They had lost everything in Hurricane Sandy. They were very capable young adults, but had to start completely over. They were extremely grateful to get the meal.”

Anyone who wants to nominate a family can fill out the form at the store and leave it with the cashier. A donation of $65.00 will feed a family of six, plus leftovers. The complete holiday meal, including turkey with all the fixings, side dishes and pumpkin pie, comes in a large shopping tote donated by Patty Reed Designs of Oregon. “They don’t even know us,” says Morando, “but when I called and told them about our project they donated $1,020 worth of shopping totes.”

Those who support The Gift of Gobble also receive a contribution, she says. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve done something to intervene in someone’s life that can help a difficult situation.” For more information, visit the Yelm Food Cooperative.

Read More
Gluten Free Romance Leads to Pie

Gluten Free Romance Leads to Pie

Sometimes, when boy meets girl, gluten allergy meets lactose intolerance. That was the challenge facing Ben and Annie when pie1they started dating. “We both had a slew of allergies and food intolerances. It was a match made in heaven!” says Annie. Their creative solution was to open their own business, the Olympia-based Pockets Full of Pie. Currently at the Yelm Cooperative, you can find their personal pumpkin pies in the frozen desserts section along with other goodies. All of their products are vegan and made with natural ingredients and they solemnly swear that none will taste like cardboard. The pair will continue to add seasonal treats to their menu, so keep your eyes peeled. “Everything on the menu is made from scratch with lots of love and care,” Annie reports. Products are also dairy, egg and soy free.

Read More

Fall issue of the Grapevine is out

The latest issue of the Yelm Cooperatives Grapevine is out for your reading pleasure!

You can help us reach 1 MILLION in sales this year – a major milestone for your Co-op.
The article is on page1.

There are great articles on:

History of Co-ops

The General Manager’s bi-monthly report

Update on our fabulous Farmers Market

GMO-free Month at your Yelm Food Co-op

A note from the Board President

Our in-house Naturopath, Diane Duncan

YFC specials for the month and more….

Get it at the store while supplies last or download it here:

Grapevine Vol4.4

You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this. You can download it here:

Read More
The Doctor is IN

The Doctor is IN

c7e3f9b4-9948-4845-b260-34983e205b80By Heidi Smith

Imagine this: you’re shopping for groceries and you have a question about a particular product – a protein powder, let’s say. The clerk magically transforms herself into a trained and knowledgeable medical professional, comes around the counter, and consults with you about your health, on the spot. Fantasy? More like Friday at the Yelm Cooperative.

Diana Duncan is that clerk, and she is also a trained and licensed naturopathic doctor, an added benefit for customers and co-op members. One day a week she is available for anyone with questions about health, nutrition, botanical medicine and more.

“I would like to be an educational resource for people to feel more empowered about their own health,” she says.

The naturopathic approach to medicine is different from traditional western medicine’s.

“Our philosophy is to stimulate the body to heal itself,” Duncan explains.  “The person has the ability to heal within themselves and it’s our job to identify along with them the things that are standing in their way and help them get back to more of a fundamentally healthy lifestyle. It’s unique for every person. The idea  is to support body systems as needed with nutrition, nutraceuticals in supplement form, work on structural integrity, all sorts of things.”

Duncan first got involved with Yelm Cooperative as a volunteer clerk.  “I loved coming in to buy groceries. I thought it would be really nice to be in a place where you get to see and connect with a lot of the community,” she says. Since she began in April, her role has evolved, given her background and training. She studied pre-med at the University of Idaho and then spent four years at Bastyr University earning her Naturopath license.

Now, she is enjoying the chance to share her knowledge.

“One of our mandates is ‘doctor as teacher’, docere in Latin,” says Duncan. “That’s one of my favorite aspects of naturopathic medicine, teaching people about their intestines, or about the function of their pancreas or why neti pots are so useful.”

To learn more about any of the above or consult with Diana on another topic, drop by the Yelm Cooperative on Friday afternoons or call for an appointment.

Read More