WA State PPE Mask Policy at the YFC

As most of you are aware, as of July 7th, all retail businesses in the State of Washington are required to abide by the new Governor’s mandate on masks and other PPE (Personal Protection Equipment).

face mask

For your Co-op this means 2 things:

If you come into the store without a mask, a staff member will approach you and ask you to please put on a mask. If you don’t have one with you, one will be made available.

Declining to Wear a Mask

If you still decline to wear a mask or face covering, a YFC representative or employee may politely inquire as to whether you have a medical condition or disability that prevents you from wearing a mask. If you answer in the affirmative, then you are exempt from the requirement.

Under the Governor’s mandate, if a business is not adequately enforcing the face mask order or other Safe Start requirements, violations can be enforced by Labor &Industries as a safety and health violation by the employer. That could carry a penalty of nearly $10,000 or more for your Co-op. Our members would certainly not approve of such a penalty. In addition, our Board of Directors could be held personally liable if they allow us to violate a state mandate.

Medical Exemption to Wearing a Mask

PLEASE NOTE: Some staff and Working Members and shoppers may be medically exempt from wearing a face mask. So please, if you do not feel safe in an environment due to others not wearing a mask for medical purposes, and you choose to enter, you do so at your own risk.

We appeal to all our shoppers and members to understand that this is not a Co-op policy, but one we must abide by. We hope that you can accept that. If you are not comfortable wearing a mask for any length of time, then please come in, shop and leave quickly. That way you support your Co-op, get the products you want and don’t endanger your personal health.

Thanks you for your understanding and cooperation. We all want our co-op to survive this present situation and be there for our members and other shoppers long into the future!

The Board and Staff of
the Yelm Food Cooperative

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Press Release


CDC WARNS OF Coronavirus disruption
February 25th, 2020
Yelm WA – With the news that the Coronavirus will most probably be coming to the USA. And the fact that the virus can last on food packaging for 9 days, the Yelm Food Coop wants to inform the people of Yelm that we will not be buying anything from China until the outbreak is over. The very few products that we do have from China have been in the store for a while and wouldn’t be contaminated.

We are fortunate that most of our products are either local or from safe sources. We have new supplies of Vitamin C and Elderberry products arriving Tuesday. We would like to remind people that the best way to combat illness it to keep your immune system strong, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh air and plenty of sleep.

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Organic Food is Not Just A Luxury

Organic Food is Not Just A Luxury

Organic food is not too expensive for school meals, even by cash strapped school councils. Everyone could learn a lesson from Copenhagen where 90% of the food in public kitchens is now organic.

Organic foods are most often just brushed off as being a luxury, but it’s not. It is suggested that we are in a climate emergency, and the environmental impacts of all this cheap and ultra processed foods have too much of a cost in the long run, including on our health and well being. The public sector needs to step up and support more environmentally friendly farming practices, and international examples are showing that it is possible.

A few trail blazing countries such as Denmark and France are setting the world stage and leading the way using public procurement to improve their nation’s relationship with food, while supporting local farmers and producers to show everyone just how possible it is.

Report after report suggest the true scale of the climate and biodiversity emergency that we are facing, ultimately humanity’s ability to survive is at stake. Organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have made special reports on land use and food security, which are among the latest calls for an urgent transition to more sustainable, ethical, and healthy food and farming which will help to revitalize rural communities.

This report shows how agricultural intensification has fuelled soil degradation, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. We don’t need more of the same, and more GMOs, what we should be doing is moving towards nature and nature friendly farming which will help to repair and build soil health that will in turn protect the environment, wildlife, and us. This kind of farming is not new, it is called agroecology, and organic is just one way of doing it.

Present day we face collapsing insect populations and global soil loss, looking at what goes into school plates may seem less important. But food and farming are linked, if farmers are to use methods that are more protective of us and the environment there needs to be a stable market for what they produce. The public school sector is a steady demand for food and it sets children up to know these organic foods are the way to go. Rather than pumping money into intensively farmed meat or pesticide laden produce imagine if all that money went into local farmers, and helped to rebuild thriving rural communities all while contributing to a greener environment and protecting our health, wildlife, and environment.

Organic farming will deliver on these goals, and it will improve the environment, animal welfare, fewer pesticides, less antibiotics and GMOs, while supporting more jobs, better soil, collapsing beneficial insect populations, wildlife, and better overall human health and well being.

Over 15 years Copenhagen has collectively converted 60,000 daily meals that it serves in all public kitchens to being 90% organic, and it stayed within its existing budget. The French Ministry of Agriculture and Food has announced that half of all food served in its public canteens must be organic, sustainable, or of a specific quality by 2022, and the French Organic Food Agency announced that a record number of farmers had converted to organic production, increasing the number of organic farms by 13%.

Even the Scottish Government is supporting organic targets in schools through a Food For Life programme, and is also showing that it is possible to serve a proportion of organic ingredients and stay within budget. If these cash strapped local councils can put organic food on the table for school children, surely others can follow suit.

It may be time to realize that America is falling behind in many aspects, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Americans can also lead the way. All these pesticides and antibiotics leach into the environment via soil and water and back to us and cause harm right from the get go. It is time to rethink current practices and make a change before it is too late.


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Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting

Greetings from  the Yelm Food Co op Board of Directors!

It’s time again for the members of the Yelm Food Co op to get together to review how our store is doing and where it’s headed .

On Saturday,  September 28, we will have our Annual General Meeting, in house, at the Yelm Food Co op. From 2pm to 4pm  members will be able to meet and get to know the members of the board, ask questions, and give suggestions. Current Co op members will have the opportunity to vote for board members who are up for re-election.  Afterwards, there will be plenty of samples to try, and as usual, wine tasting!

See you there!


The Yelm Food Co op Board of Directors

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Home & Garden Show Volunteer Opportunities

Home and Garden ShowThe 2016 Home & Garden Show is coming right up on and several time slots are available to volunteer at the Yelm Cooperative booth. This is a great opportunity to let people know about the natural foods market right here in Yelm and build excitement about our vision for a sustainable food system in our area. 

Here are the available slots: 

      Sunday, May 1st  – 11 am – 2 pm ( 1 or 2 people)

      Sunday, May 1st  – 2 pm – 4 pm (2 people)

      Sunday, May 1st  4pm – 5 pm  (1 or 2 people to help our board president Bill Wyman with teardown)

If you would like to help, contact Marilyn Reardon at (360)400-8030. Thank you!  

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At Olympia’s Alaffia, Fair Trade=Empowerment

At Olympia’s Alaffia, Fair Trade = Empowerment

alaffiaIt all started with a jar on a shelf. Olowo-n’djo Tchala was shopping at an American health food store when he noticed a bottle of shea butter retailing for $50.00.  Having grown up in the African nation of Togo collecting shea nuts with his mother, he knew how little of that money was making its way to the people who actually gathered the seeds, most of whom earned just pennies. Inspiration struck.

Today, Olowo-n’djo and his wife Rose Hyde own Alaffia, an Olympia-based company which offers over 200 fair trade skin products – most of which contain shea butter or coconut oil. The difference? All of Alaffia’s Togolese employees are members of a shea butter cooperative and paid fair wages. Profits are reinvested in the community through a variety of initiatives they call Empowerment Projects. In fact, Alaffia is currently the second biggest employer in the country aside from the government.

That degree of success might have seemed unlikely when Olowo-n’djo and Rose, whom he met while she was in the Peace Corps, started bottling shea butter in a trailer on Steamboat Island.  The first group of women they contacted in Togo were “very skeptical about the whole thing,” says Kelsey Mayer, Alaffia’s Communications Liaison, “but  eventually they began to trust him and they were able to start.”

From the beginning, the raw ingredients have been handcrafted in small batches and then sent to Washington. Rose, an ethnobotanist, experiments with different combinations to come up with the final products. The company’s first retailer was the Olympia Co-op. “Co-ops are definitely the heart of it all,” says Mayer. “That’s where we started. That’s what we value highly.”

Alaffia’s Empowerment Projects focus on maternal health and education. “One in 16 women will die every year during childbirth or due to complications during pregnancy,” says Mayer “Maternal health is a project that’s near and dear to our heart.” So far, Alaffia has funded the birth of 3,500 babies, many of whom Rose and Olowo-n’djo get to meet when they travel to Togo.

They also sponsor a project called Bicycles for Education. “Students are walking up to ten miles a day to school,” says Mayer. “Eventually it’s too time-consuming. Ninety-one percent of girls in rural areas drop out of school before reaching secondary school.” Alaffia collects bicycles in the U.S., then gives them to the students.  “It shortens their commute, gives them reliable transportation and 95 % of Bicycles for Education participants graduate from high school,” says Mayer.

Alaffia products are currently available at the Yelm Food Cooperative. Every item you purchase will contribute to a greater quality of life for a fellow cooperative member in Togo. If you’d like to learn more about the company’s empowerment projects, visit www.alaffia.com.

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