Not Wasting Thyme: Working on Environmental Responsibility
As the Co-op continues to work on our move and expansion, the Board wants to make sure the focus remains on our Ends policy which says that the Potsdam Food Co-op exists so that:
- Everyone in our community has reliable access to local, organic, and healthy food.
- North Country farmers and producers have a stable, honest, and robust marketplace.
- Customers have a welcoming place to shop, interact, and participate at many levels.
- Community members have a model of environmentally respectful practices and cooperative ownership.
Annually reporting specifically on our Ends work will be instituted after our move, but in the meantime we are developing ways to quantify some of that. For example, for years we have documented the amount and percentages of local and regional produce and product we sell. We document the percent of our sales that are SNAP benefits. More recently we were given the opportunity to measure how we do on the “community members have a model of environmentally respectful practices” part of our Ends policy.
Last month the Co-op participated in a food waste audit conducted by Clarkson University’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment. The report indicated that our food waste was very low compared to both our own projections, as well as by industry standards, which were provided by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute. On the day in question, the Co-op only produced 5.4 lbs. of food waste, although our own survey projected about 75 lbs. P2I’s projection was 132 lbs.
Unfortunately, the audit was only conducted on one day, and more data would be a better indicator of how the Co-op does on food waste. Still, the audit gave the Co-op a framework for measuring this element of our Ends policy. In the future we can measure this data on a regular basis, and then compare our progress year over year. This is another example of how having more resources in our new expanded Co-op will allow us to make a bigger difference in our community.
Your Co-op Board