Community, Membership, and Being Part of a Network

February 2nd 2021

“I can honestly say that I am very happy to have made the decision to join Provender. Already within a month’s time, it has provided me with tools and workshops – and makes me feel like although we are a small Co-op, we are a part of a network now.” 

Shake’ Yeriazarian – General Manager, San Juan Island Co-op, WA

Receiving Shake’s email the other day was so affirming; the Provender Alliance truly is a network of natural products businesses, and a strong community as well. This network is also unique in that it includes all sectors of the trade: farmers, retailers, manufacturers, distributors, social and environmental justice groups, working together. Business connections strengthen the community network within the Pacific Northwest natural products ecosystem, building familiarity, trust, and a deeper understanding of what makes each company different.

Over time, Provender members get to know each other, professionally and personally. For example, in a workshop or breakout room, our independent, natural grocery retailers begin to get to know our manufacturers in-depth, beyond a public brand identity, and learn more about these makers’ extraordinary efforts to “live their values.” Many makers sell products that go way beyond “natural” and “organic,” with ingredients farmed in a better manner for the planet (think pasture-raised animals or clean ingredients list) and care for the people producing those goods (think ethical sourcing or fair wages). This leading-edge of integrity is YOU, our membership, and is also what distinguishes the Provender Alliance as a network and community.  

Provender is striving more than ever to help connect you with your peers and help one another in this new, fast-changing environment we find ourselves in. This is why we want to invite you to two free, timely Provender events this month. On February 9th, Community Conversations offers What’s Next for Your Business: Anticipating Changing Conditions through 2021, and February 23rd provides an Introduction to De-Escalation for Natural Foods Staff as the intense stress factors of COVID continue. Please join us!

Abigail Harris
Executive Director, Provender Alliance