Board Report: Annual Meeting Recap

Cheyne Mayer, Co-op Board Member, Owner Engagement Committee Chair

In April, the Co-op held its Annual Owners Meeting at the future Moscow Cooperative Bakehouse at 630 North Almon Street #110 (the former Panhandle Artisan Bread Company location) from 3-5 p.m. It was a rainy day, but we still had a fantastic turnout of more than 100 owners! Everyone gathered inside the Bakehouse for presentations and a year-in-review from General Manager Melinda Schab, Board President Idgi Potter, and Board Treasurer Dave Sutherland. Owners got a snapshot of the Co-op’s financials and a summary of all the cool things the Co-op has done over the past year, ranging from the opening of the UI Campus store and the remodel of the main store, to reports on ways the Co-op directly helps our community, including increasing the FLOWER discount from 10% to 20% and donating over $4,600 to local organizations through the Dime-In-Time program. It was a great celebration of what is made possible with the support of the Co-op’s owners.

The presentations were followed by Q&A’s, and the owners in attendance asked a variety of questions, mostly about the plans and possibilities for the Bakehouse. Everyone got to get a good sense of the space and how the bakery will be able to expand production and offerings, including artisan bread to continue Panhandle’s legacy. Additionally, nearly the entire Board of Directors was present – including the newly elected directors Alice Ma, Ken Hart, and Mark Thorne – and owners had the chance to mingle and ask questions of them as well.

The meeting wouldn’t be complete without food and drink, and this year we were able to do something special. With the opening of the Bakehouse location, the Co-op is getting new neighbors including Moscow Brewing Company and Kamiak Coffee, and we were excited to celebrate the occasion together as part of the meeting. Both businesses opened their doors on a day they’re normally closed to offer their signature drinks for everyone to enjoy during the meeting (the Co-op sponsored two drink tickets for each owner). Furthermore, they graciously hosted the hors d'oeuvres prepared for the meeting by our kitchen and bakery staff in their respective business spaces. Many thanks to both Moscow Brewing Company and Kamiak Coffee for helping make this Annual Meeting such a great time!

Many thanks also to everyone else who helped pull the meeting together: to our Prepared Foods Manager, Ryan, for designing the menu, and to all the kitchen staff who helped prepare it; to our Bakery Manager, Jessi, and all the bakery staff who helped prepare over 200 cookies; to every other member of our staff who helped advertise, plan, and staff the event, especially Willow, Alycia, and Max; and to the members of the Owner Engagement Committee for their ever enthusiastic and diligent planning. Congrats to all—the meeting was a great success!

The Bakehouse is expected to open sometime this Summer—stay tuned, and hope you can join us at our next Annual Meeting!


Moscow Food Co-op Board of Directors

A Statement on the Passing of Tom Bitterwolf

Dear Moscow Food Co-op Owners and Community,

The members of the Moscow Food Co-op Board of Directors were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of our fellow Board member Tom Bitterwolf on January 30. Tom, a professor of chemistry at the University of Idaho, served on the Board for two years, with the most recent year as our trusted Treasurer. His participation on the Board was marked by a deep sense of humanity, an abiding concern for honoring other peoples’ money, an attention to detail, and a terrific sense of humor. We will miss him ever so. 

In cooperation,
The Moscow Food Co-op Board of Directors

Statement on the Pullman Expansion from the Board of Directors

September 11, 2018

The Moscow Food Co-op’s Board of Directors would like to share a statement with our owners concerning our plans for a full-scale second location in Pullman, Washington. Since we first announced our expansion goals, we have endeavored to learn as much as possible about the risks associated with opening a second location. We have decided to put our plans for a full-store Pullman expansion on hold for the time being. This decision comes in light of our research and the budding development of the Pullman Good Food Co-op.

We want to take special time to wish the Pullman food co-op all our best as they endeavor to begin a new community grocery cooperative! In the spirit of the sixth and seventh cooperative principles, we are eager to offer the Pullman food co-op our support and urge them to be in touch with us directly as they move forward with this enterprise. We agree that the process that a community goes through to launch a co-op is transformative, and we hope to be a resource to them.

Grocery co-ops bring local, organic, and sustainable food, as well as a community gathering place and educational resources to a community. We are delighted to have been a part of this wonderful region for more than 45 years, and we thank you for your continued support!


Moscow Food Co-op Board of Directors

Co-op Community Art Tiles: Calling for Help Preserving a Piece of Co-op History

August, 2018

Dear community members,

Back in 2005, when the Co-op was raising funds to support its move to its current location, the store held an event where community members could purchase ceramic tiles at $50 apiece and decorate them to be displayed in the new (current) store. You may have noticed them in the produce department! They commemorated a huge moment in our Co-op’s history and how our community came together in support and love of their Co-op.

Unfortunately, they were mistakenly demolished along with the wall they were attached to during the store remodel earlier this year. This was never the intention and we are crestfallen about the loss.

In the wake of this accident, we are putting out the call to help preserve their memory. If you have any photos of the tiles or memories of the fundraising event, or know someone who does, we ask that you please contact the owner engagement committee chair, David, at We would also like to offer anyone who decorated a tile the opportunity to tell their story, as well as a refund of their $50 if they desire.

Together, we hope we can yet preserve this important piece of Co-op history!

Cheyne Mayer, Board Member


JUNE 13, 2017

We the Board of the Moscow Food Cooperative in Moscow, ID wish to make clear that we support the workers and families who are the backbone of the agricultural and dairy labor forces of the Pacific Northwest. 

Promoting the best interest of these workers is in line with our cooperative values of Equality, Solidarity, Openness, Social Responsibility, and Caring for Others, and is also vital to the sustainability of our business as we depend on the products of these farms. 

We are responsible to our community to provide quality products, and to have concern for community, which aligns with the seventh cooperative principle. 

We stand for the rights and protection of the farm workers and farm families who sell products to our food co-op, and we do not want to see their rights diminished.


Moscow Food Co-op Board of Directors
Laurene Sorensen, President
Colette DePhelps, Vice President/Secretary
Alex Lloyd, Treasurer
Idgi Potter
David Nelson
Tim Kohler
Carol McFarland
Ashley Hamlin
Tom Bitterwolf

2017 Report on the Economic Impacts of the Moscow Food Co-op

By Steven Peterson, Research Economist and Clinical Assistant Professor, Economics at the College of Business and Economics at the University of Idaho

This presentation was given at the Moscow Food Co-op's Annual Meeting, April 9, 2017.

Steven welcomes your feedback and questions. Contact him directly at 


The Co-op Board’s Owner Engagement Committee is reaching out to owners to submit topics for Co-op sponsored forums. What are you interested in learning more about? What could owners benefit from discussing?

Forums offer an opportunity to gather and discuss matters that affect what we have cherished over these many decades – YOUR Moscow Food Co-op.

To submit an idea for a forum, email your suggestion to

2017 Board of Directors Election Results

Carol McFarland - 368 (23.9%)
Elected to a 3-year term.

Tim Kohler - 336 (21.8%)
Elected to a 3-year term.

Ashley Hamlin - 286 (18.5%)
Elected to a 3-year term.

Thomas Bitterwolf - 283 (18.4%)
Elected to a 2-year term.

Kurt (Sam) Obermayr - 269 (17.4%)
Not elected.

2016 Election Results

David Nelson
Yes: 415
No: 73
Elected to: 3-year term

Idgi Potter
Yes: 435
No: 53
Elected to: 3-year term

Laurene Sorensen
Yes: 413
No: 75
Elected to: 2-year term

Bill Beck
Yes: 405
No: 83
Bill Beck was disqualified as a candidate on March 12, 2016 due to violations of elections policy.


This is an exciting time for our Co-op! Following two recent community conversations about our plan to open a store in Pullman, the Board continues to encourage questions and feedback about the process as we research location options.

For more information or to be added to an email list that will receive updates about growth, please email For information about the owner-driven Strategic Plan process that led to growth being a goal for our cooperative, please click here.


The Ad Hoc Committee on Owner Communications has submitted its report to the Board of Directors. The Committee was formed to explore how to improve communications with Co-op owners. A group of owners asked to explore this topic after Community News become an online only publication. The report is a summary of ideas and concerns about communications that the Board will consider. Click here to read the committee's report.

JUNE 9, 2015

It is deemed to be in the best interests of the corporation and its owners that the Moscow Food Co‐op Board of Directors adopts the following resolution;

Now, therefore be it:

RESOLVED, that the Moscow Food Co‐op Board of Directors endorses adding the words sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Civil Rights Act. This will provide Idaho residents protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Moscow Food Co‐op Bylaws already provides these protections and we believe these protections should become legal requirements in the State of Idaho.

DATE: June 9, 2015

Moscow Food Co-op, Inc.

JUNE 3, 2015

Dear Moscow Food Co-op Owners and Community:

On behalf of the Moscow Food Co-op and its Board of Directors, I am writing to assure all of the Palouse-Clearwater community that the Co-op is an open and welcoming business that does not discriminate on the basis of race, nationality, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation, or otherwise. 

Our Cooperative is committed to the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) values and principles. Voluntary and open membership is the first of seven stated principles. Non-discrimination is included in Section 1.4 of our bylaws and each of the Co-op’s seven Board members has publically affirmed his/her commitment to upholding the ICA values and principles and our bylaws.

The Moscow Food Co-op’s mission is to “nourish and nurture our community.”  Our unique business is owned by over 7000 community members and operates for the benefit of the community as a whole.  Everyone can shop at the Co-op and anyone can join.  In becoming a member-owner of the Co-op, individuals are ensuring that our community has access to healthy, nutritious food and are supporting the Co-op’s triple bottom line of People, Place and Profit.

Throughout our 42 year history, we have been committed to upholding the rights and dignity of all People. We are dismayed by opinions printed in the Daily News that imply otherwise.   We urge all members of this Place, our wonderful community, to practice respect and tolerance and to understand that the opinions and perspectives shared by individuals and printed in the Daily News, are their own – they do not represent or speak for the Moscow Food Co-op.  Finally, the Co-op will continue to share its Profits with the entire community through extraordinary programs like FLOWER, Mamas & Papas, the Dime in Time community giving program and our Good Food Film Series. 


Moscow Food Co-op Board of Directors
Colette DePhelps, President
Bill Beck, Vice-President / Secretary
Idgi Potter, Treasurer
Charlene Rathbun
Kurt (Sam) Obermayr
Alex Lloyd
Glenn Hollowa

This statement was submitted to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News as a Letter to the Editor on June 3, 2015.