Sailing Toward Our Shared Goals

– March 15 –

Community Conversation & Annual Meeting Recap


Learner’s Presentation Slides – Annual Report, Denmark, Mondragon

Notes – Community Conversation: Creating a Cooperative Economy

Orcas Food Co-op 5-year Strategic Plan

2018 Sustainability Impacts Report

Thank you to the over 80 co-op members who brought your insight and vision to our first Community Conversation and 5th Annual Meeting — It was the first of many Community Conversations to come!

This gathering also marked the official unveiling of the recently adopted 5-year Strategic Plan as well as the first ever Orcas Food Co-op Annual Sustainability Impacts Report.

The event started off with mingling and food (courtesy of the Co-op Deli!) as community members arrived at the hall. The meeting opened with an introduction of current Board Members, and of Holly O’Neil, our Co-op Board facilitator.

After Holly went over the Agenda for the evening, she passed the mic to our General Manager, Learner Limbach, to provide an annual update on the state of our co-op. Learner shared that sales grew 9% in 2018 over the previous year and projected sales for 2019 are nearly $3.5 million, up from just $2 million in our first full year in 2015. Learner highlighted several accomplishments from 2018 which are elaborated upon in the hot off the press 2018 Sustainability Impacts Report.

Later in the meeting, we shifted gears for our Community Conversation, which was based around the question: How Can We Use the Cooperative Model to Create a More Sustainable and Equitable Economy in the Islands and Beyond?

The Community Conversation was ignited by Learner Limbach’s, Orcas Food Co-op’s General Manager, presentation on what he learned during his recent visit to Denmark and Spain, including an exploration of one of most successful examples of cooperative economy in the world, the worker-owned Mondragon Cooperative in Spain. This was followed by a facilitated community conversation.

For this part of the conversation we arranged all chairs in a large circle, except for five chairs which were formed into a small circle in the middle of the large circle. Anyone who felt compelled to speak went and sat in one of the empty chairs in the small circle, going back to their seat after speaking. This method of facilitation proved an effective way to ensure that everyone who wanted to speak had the chance to be heard. Check out the notes HERE

– February 28 –

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on the draft Strategic Plan! We did our best to incorporate what we heard and the final version of the 5-year Strategic Plan was adopted at the board meeting on February 28th!
Click Here to Read the Plan

– January –


Two weeks ago at the Co-op Board Meeting the draft Strategic Plan, which has been more than a year in the making, was accepted by the Board. We are excited to get your feedback on the draft plan as we chart our course for the next five years.

Please take the time to check out the draft and provide your feedback! View the Formatted Draft Strategic Plan
If you didn’t receive a link to the survey to provide your feedback please reach out to Susannah Weaver at


We are accepting new candidates for the Orcas Food Co-op Board until January 25th.

It’s time to elect Directors for open positions on the Orcas Food Co-op Board. The Board of Directors helps guide our cooperative to a sustainable and vibrant future by formulating policies and monitoring their effectiveness at meeting the needs and values of our membership. Please reach out to if you would like to run for a spot!

– November 12 –

In 2016, the Orcas Food Co-op Board of Directors began preparing for the Strategic Planning voyage by forming a task force dedicated to considering big-picture goals. After launching the Strategic Planning process at the Annual Meeting in March 2018, the task force has been conducting research toward this end. Member surveys, staff and community focus groups, key informant interviews and an in-store vision board all offered threads of information that have been woven together to create the Strategic Plan. At the end of October, The OFC Board and Management team met at the beautiful Morning Star Farm with Holly O’Neill, our beloved facilitator extraordinaire, for our bi-annual Board retreat. We concentrated on assimilating the Strategic Plan feedback we’ve received over the last few months.

We structured our focus around our 6 Ends policies. As well as a delicious potluck, and enjoying the stunning Fall day around the cozy wood stove – we were all inspired by the great response from you, our members, and the collective vision for where we strive to be in 5 years time! Click below for Strategic Planning updates!

– October 24 –

In August, 2018, we conducted a member survey to find out how satisfied our members are with the Co-op, and learn how to serve them better.  224 Members completed the survey (about ¼ of our membership) and gave us some excellent feedback.  We learned that overall satisfaction with the store is very high, and people had lots of ideas for improvement, included increasing product variety and selection, continuing to find ways to make healthy food more affordable, and putting more emphasis on waste reduction. 

Our Members want us to keep growing the Co-op to serve our community better.  The survey results were extremely helpful for the board/management strategic planning, so that we can steer this ship in the direction where you want to go!

– August 24, 2018 –

One of the primary responsibilities of your Co-op’s Board of Directors is to establish long-range goals for the organization. Over the next several months, we will be gathering information to help us chart the course forward. In addition to filling out your member shopper survey, please stop by the store and add your ideas to our Vision Board! And bring along your out-of-town guests to let them see what a cool little co-op we’ve got here on the island, to nourish our local farmers and our local community!

– August 15, 2018 –

This spring we launched a Strategic Planning Process at our Annual Meeting, with over fifty member-owners gathered to give input into questions such as:

  • Where would you like to see the Co-op in 10 years?
  • What would make the co-op work better for you as a grocery store?
  • What do you want us to be known for?
  • What is something you want more of in the community?

One of the themes that came out of the Annual Meeting was growth.  Member-owners were interested in expanding our operations to be able to bring more healthy food to our community and make it easier to shop.  There was also discussion of reducing waste, strengthening community connectivity, and building our local food system and local economy.

Since then, our Board of Directors has been spending most of their board meetings discussing what is on the horizon, and in August we launched our 2018 member shopper survey. This year’s survey contains the usual questions along with a special section specifically to get member input related to potential growth and expansion of our co-op. We really appreciate you taking the time to respond!  Your input is essential to driving the priorities of your locally owned, democratically governed food cooperative.  Let your voice be heard!

As a member-owned food co-op, we see ourselves as part of a growing network of cooperatives and non-profits building community resilience and increasing access to local, healthy food. This summer we turned four years old and as we enter our adolescent stage, we know that charting a clear course for where we want to be in the future is an important next step for our co-op.

Libi Geddes, Board Vice President, Strategic Planning Committee Chair

Check out the Orcas Food Co-op startup video!