Your Co-op’s 4% Friday Community Shopping Day is a concrete way for local community members to support local community organizations. Since 2003, on the last Friday of each month, the Co-op has donated 4% of gross sales for that day to that month’s community partner. Your Co-op’s Board of Trustees selects groups with like-minded missions to support and strengthen the health of our watershed, foodshed, and sustainable community values.
The Board’s Community Relations Committee announces the next year’s recipients in November. If you have questions about the process please contact Community Outreach Coordinator, Jodie Buller at 360-336-5087×136 or Board President, Tom Theisen; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan 28th – People for a Peaceable Planet was formed in September of 2002 in order to promote peace and justice in our community, our nation and the world using the methods of nonviolence. Among its many achievements are organizing an annual celebration during Martin Luther King weekend, originating what has become the annual Human Rights Festival, originating the weekly Speak Up! Speak Out! radio show on KSVR, and helping to found the North Sound Alliance, a broad-based community alliance of unions, religious congregations, and community non-profits, formed to achieve power for the common good.
Feb 25th -West View K-8 in Burlington is a Two-Way Spanish/English Immersion (TWI) public school. We are a community of multilingual learners who respect others, reflect on their learning, and are becoming empowered global citizens. Our vision is to realize our full potential through a collaborative, critical, and creative thinking process.
As a community of learners, we explore and offer up-to-date research, data, and information on the best language learning strategies. We are dedicated to raising the achievement of all students, regardless of race or language, while promoting bilingualism for all Burlington-Edison students, staff, and community members.
We know that many children are obese in our country, our state and our community. We realize that middle school age students are home by themselves after school and when they are hungry, the choice is probably a processed snack (chips, candy, etc). We will use our Skagit Co-op 4% to fund a Healthy Food course for our middle schoolers (6th-8th grades). We would meet once per month and teach nutrition, meal planning, measurements & weights, first aid in the kitchen, ingredient education (substitutions) and budgeting. We would then show them how to prepare the food and then everyone could eat at the end of each class. These are great life skills that the students could easily use in their homes on a daily basis, build upon as they move to college and also when they start families of their own.
March 25th – The Lincoln Elementary Healthy School Project provides the students and families of Lincoln with opportunities for increased physical activity and access to improved nutrition. Activities are coordinated by a committee made up of parents and teachers within the Lincoln PTA. We have put together the Lincoln School Garden and Family Cooking Classes, the Lincoln School Composting and Worm Bin project, Lincoln Family Breakfasts, after school dance classes and farm field trips. We have members who sit on the Mount Vernon School District Nutrition Advisory committee and help to shape the breakfast and lunch choices in our schools. Funding from the Skagit Valley Food Co-op’s 4% Friday program will enable us to continue our activities in a time of decreased funding from our PTA. We hope to purchase a garden cart to take our food waste from the cafeteria to the worm bins on the playground, buy a compost thermometer, fund instructors for our cooking and after-school dance classes, and hold another round of Family Breakfasts..
April 22nd – Viva Farms is a farm incubator program. We help people start up or revitalize farms by providing:
- Sustainable Whole Farm Planning courses, Farm Business Planning courses, workshops and technical assistance (in partnership with WSU Extension)
- access to land
- access to equipment and infrastructure
- access to capital
- support with marketing, sales and distribution
Viva Farms primarily serves beginning farmers and farm workers who want to become farm owners. All Viva Farms programs and services are offered bilingually to help build community between English and Spanish-speaking farmers. Courses emphasize ecological soil, crop and livestock management and strengthening relationships between farmers and eaters. In addition to offering courses, Viva Farms has 33 acres of farmland where new farmers can lease small plots and utilize equipment and infrastructure including tractors and rototillers, a propagation greenhouse, a washing and processing station, walk-in coolers and irrigation.
The goal of Viva Farms is to prepare a new generation of farmers to carry on our region’s agricultural legacy and build an increasingly healthy, socially just and resilient food system for future generations.
To support Viva Farms and new farmers, shop at the Co-op’s 4% Friday on April 22, subscribe to our 2011 CSA (farm box program), visit us at Hwy 20 & Higgins Airport Way (farm stand coming soon!), let us know if you have usable land or equipment that you’d like to lease or sell to new farmers and encourage aspiring farmers to contact us! For more info please visit www.VivaFarms.org.
May 27th – North Cascades Institute seeks to inspire a closer relationship with nature through direct experiences in the natural world. Since 1986 we have helped connect people, nature and community through science, art, literature and the hands-on study of natural and cultural history. Our goal is to help people of all ages experience and enjoy the mountains, rivers, forests, people and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest – so all will care for and protect this special place.
One of our most exciting programs is the Kulshan Creek Neighborhood Kids Program, engaging youth from one of the Skagit Valley’s most diverse neighborhoods in environmental education and a variety of outdoor activities including all-day field trips and after-school programs. Established in 2007, this program has helped to develop a stewardship ethic in our local youth through meaningful restoration work, civic monitoring and environmental education activities and provides positive and safe outdoor experiences outside of the regular school day. The program is the product of a unique grassroots partnership between North Cascades Institute, the US Forest Service, Mount Vernon Police Department, Skagit Youth and Family Services and the National Park Service.
Funds from the Community Shopping Day Program will make it possible to continue offering this valuable experience for free to any child from the Kulshan Creek neighborhood that wishes to participate in fun and educational outdoor field trips.
June 24th – The Skagit Conservation Education Alliance (SCEA) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization originally founded in 2002 in order to implement several watershed action plans that were written for the most impaired watersheds of Skagit County, including the Samish, Nookachamps and Padilla Bay watersheds.
SCEA’s mission is:
To bring people together in the spirit of cooperation, to protect, conserve, and enhance the natural ecosystems in the Skagit watersheds.
SCEA’s activities include:
- The annual Bivalve Bash held each July on Samish Bay,
- Additional education and outreach through displays and demonstrations at community events throughout the year,
- Workshops on low impact development and stormwater management;
- Coordination of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Skagit Education, Community Outreach (ECO) Network, one of twelve in the Puget Sound Region;
- Seasonal placement of portable toilets in the Samish Watershed;
- Watershed Action Plan Review;
- Participating partner in the Clean Samish Initiative;
- And of course coordinates the Skagit Watershed Letterbox trail each summer.
Letterboxing is a free form of recreation that is fun for the whole family. Children are especially excited about the program because it requires them to find a hidden treasure. The Skagit Watershed Letterbox Trail provides each child with an opportunity to learn about an aspect of the Skagit Watershed during the summer and enjoy the outdoors and learn about the Skagit ecosystem as well. Participants read the clues, then hopefully find the box sometimes using a map (a GPS is not needed), or looking for landmarks or signs detailed in the clues. When they find the box they read the contents, then stamp their journal with a unique stamp in each box, and then stamp the boxes journal with their very own stamp they have made at home. Essentially it is a treasure hunt for a waterproof plastic box that contains educational information about an aspect of water quality in the Skagit and Samish watersheds.
For further information contact Steve Olsen, program manager at 360-419-3161 or at HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com”firstname.lastname@example.org
July 22nd – Founded in 1989 by farming families, the mission of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) is to ensure the continued viability of Skagit Valley agriculture and its required infrastructure. Advocacy, public education and community information are among key strategies that SPF utilizes to fulfill our mission. Over the past 21 years SPF has established a reputation as a can-do, forward-thinking organization working through cooperation, collaboration, and long-range planning to foster positive and lasting change.
Skagit County is the only county along the Puget Sound corridor without a major urban center, and the only fully functioning farming landscape left in the region. The farmlands of the Skagit Valley are a unique natural resource and are among the most productive soils in world.
The approximately 90,000 acres of prime farmland in Skagit Valley are absolutely critical for crop rotation and isolation requirements, which sustain the agricultural production capacity in this area. For instance, there are approximately 20,000 acres of potatoes in production in Skagit Valley. With an average rotation of three years, there needs to be approximately 60,000 acres of farmland available just for the potato industry.
Today agriculture remains one of the largest industries in Skagit County. Over 60 crops worth more than $300 million are grown. Primary fresh market vegetables are potatoes, sweet corn, cauliflower, broccoli, squash and pumpkins. Approximately half the U.S. supply of spinach seed, beet seed, and cabbage seed comes from the Skagit Valley.
August 26th – The Washington Farmworker Housing Trust is a nonprofit organization working to create a better and more sustainable agricultural community in Washington State by securing and investing resources to address the full spectrum of housing and related needs of farmworkers. The Trust works to fund safe, affordable housing for farmworkers – providing homes for families, helping growers and supporting rural communities across Washington. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home. Farmworkers are extremely important in agricultural production and play key roles in maintaining the high quality of food products, the community impact of agricultural operations, and ultimately the sustainability of an agricultural business. Agriculture is the single largest employment sector in Washington State, employing an estimated 187,000 farmworkers annually of which an estimated 7,345 are in Skagit and Whatcom Counties. In Skagit County, approximately 61% of farmworkers are year-round Skagit County residents. The Trust’s survey of Skagit Valley farmworkers documents that they disproportionately suffer substandard, unaffordable housing conditions. We are working at the local level in Skagit County through the Trust’s Farmworker Housing Skagit County Advisory Council. To learn more about our work in Skagit County and how you can become involved, please contact Rosalinda Mendoza, Community Engagement Coordinator, at HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com” t “_blank” firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on Facebook or call our office at 206-389-2700.
Sept 23rd – WSFFN (The Network)
Recognizing the critical need to deepen public understanding of sustainable food & farming systems, The Network formed in 1997 as a statewide grassroots voice for sustainable food and farming advocacy. The Network uses education, collaboration, research and grassroots advocacy to build that awareness. Our mission is to engage with partners to keep farmers farming and to ensure that all Washingtonians have access to good food. We advocate bringing food from the farm to the table in a way that is economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable.
- Opportunities to leverage public investment in sustainable food and farming systems are identified. Many of the early seeds the Network helped to plant are now blossoming and institutionalizing change on the ground.
- Successfully advocated for Executive Order 10-02 which strengthens Washington’s Food Systems through Policy and Collaboration
- Successfully advocated for the Local Farms Health Kids Act which established the first Farm to School program at WSDA
- Successfully advocated for the first state funding of organic and sustainable ag research (BIOAG) at WSU
- Successfully advocated for the “first in the nation”, undergraduate degree in organic farming at WSU
- Successfully advocated for the legislation and state funds to establish the small farm direct marketing program at WSDA
In addition to our legislative advocacy, we are working to build support for schools to purchase more Washington-grown produce. Fresh Food in Schools is our recently launched project to work with 20 school districts across the state to help them purchase Washington-grown fruits and vegetables.
Oct 28th – VISIONS Parent Involvement Program is a Sedro-Woolley School District Program, housed at Clear Lake Elementary. An alternative to traditional learning, focusing on creative thinking, problem solving skill development and strong parent involvement. “Learning how to learn”
VISIONS was originally started in 1991 by a few dedicated parents and a teacher looking to provide a different learning approach to their children’s education. Loosely based on “Community School” programs; VISIONS strives to offer ……….. a unique opportunity to enrich a child’s elementary learning experience by incorporating a “family, school, and community” aspect to the classroom. VISIONS integrates traditional curriculum with innovative approaches to serve diverse ways of learning. VISIONS offers many out of school educational experiences (field trips) and makes use of parent/family volunteers to provide a more appealing student/adult ratio, a sense of community and a broader range of experiences. VISIONS offers all the educational aspects of a traditional classroom in a multiple grade format, housing two grades per classroom. Our three classrooms,”Youngers,” “Middles” and “Olders” work together as a”community” to strengthen bonds amongst students and to support each other. VISIONS uses a continuum process rather then traditional report cards, helping to instill the value of mastering individual tasks rather than only the subject in its entirety.
Nov 18th – Neighbors in Need Food Bank
Skagit Valley Neighbors in Need Food Bank has continued its mission since 1972 to provide a balanced and nutritious food basket to individuals and families in need. Open each Tuesday 10am – 2pm an average distribution day serves over 1000 individuals at our location in south Mount Vernon. Nearly 50% of our clients are under 18 years of age.
Recently the Food Bank expanded its outreach, in cooperation with selected elementary schools, through the Backpack Program; providing selected children a nutritious and filling backpack of easily prepared foods to carry them through a weekend. We have also begun a weekly distribution in LaConner and are piloting an evening distribution two evenings a month in Mount Vernon.
The Food Bank relies on donations of food and money from a number of sources: Northwest Harvest, Food LifeLine, Grocery Rescue, several local grocers and food producers, churches and citizens. The part-time manager and approximately 50 volunteers keep the place running smoothly and efficiently. Installment of a large walk-in cooler this summer was achieved with numerous volunteer hours and donated resources; construction came in under budget.
The Food Bank is governed by a 9-member volunteer board dedicated to reducing hunger in our community. We welcome donations at our location at 1615 South Second Street in Mount Vernon or mail checks to PO Box 394, Mount Vernon, Washington 98273. After hours, call 360-420-0558. Thank you for your support.
Dec 23rd – La Leche League of Skagit County
The La Leche League of Skagit County is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help mothers to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support,encouragement, information, and education. We aim to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. Our project goals are to reach a broader audience, educating mothers andtheir support network on the benefits of breastfeeding through community outreach, classes, and information booths. We aim to broaden our library of resources available to the public through our meetings, and strengthen our leaders through continuing