Schedule & Workshops for 2017

October 4th

7:30 to 10:00 AM and 1:00 to 8:00 PM Conference Registration—HOTEL LOBBY
8:00 - 9:00 Breakfast—GORGE ROOM

• Scrambled Eggs or Scrambled Tofu

• Sausage and Yukon Breakfast Potatoes

• Gluten-free Blueberry Coffeecake and House-made Biscuits

• Granola, Jams, Yogurt

• Chilled Fruit Juices

• Coffee and Teas

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Lean Intensive—COLUMBIA ROOM

LEAN: Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

PLEASE NOTE: There is an additional fee for this event

Whether you’re a maker, baker, shaker or service provider, lean fundamentals will help you make the most of what you have while increasing efficiency, creativity, teamwork, and quality, and decreasing your waste.
Lean theory and tools are based on the idea of preserving (or increasing) value with less work. But at its root, lean is much more than a productivity model—it’s really an employee engagement model. A lean culture is one of “no-blame, only opportunity,” a culture of collaborators that work together to continuously improve the organization from the bottom up.

Who should attend?

  • Department Managers
  • Team Leads
  • Supervisors
  • Workers who have considered becoming a supervisor or manager
  • General Managers
  • Owners
  • Anyone interested in increasing efficiency, creativity and teamwork

You will learn how Lean can help you:

• Motivate employees by actively engaging them in a continuous process of improvement
• Eliminate wasted time and resources through increased efficiencies
• Reduce your carbon footprint and waste
• Breed creativity for you and your employees
• Embrace and encourage more productive teamwork
• Increase the quality of your work
• Decrease turnaround times
• Reduces your space, inventory, inboxes, to-do’s, and time to the bare minimum needed


Presenters include:

Kjell van Zoen, is a lean business consultant focused on smaller (10-100 employee) companies that have both information as well as material flow. He adopted lean while running his manufacturing business (Plywerk) from 2006-2016. He also used lean to forward the company’s’ eco-conscious business practices.
Matt Horvat, is the Founder and Owner of Lean Portland, LLC. He started learning how to coach from thought leaders in management. He has deep expertise in project-based production system design. His message is about attitude and the responsibility we have for one another.
Justin Freeman is the Owner of Bagel Sphere and Novella Cafe, a small food manufacturing and restaurant group in Eugene, Oregon. Previously, he served as the General Manager of Hummingbird Wholesale, an organic foods wholesaler and distributor that serves customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. He studied information systems, ecology and evolutionary biology in his undergraduate studies, and has a master’s degree in finance and marketing from the University of Notre Dame.


9:00 AM to 5:00 PM A Taste of Deli Ops Intensive -- Riverside Room

A Taste of Deli Ops: Increase Your Deli Sales by Doing More of What You Love

PLEASE NOTE: There is an additional fee for this event

Competition in the prepared foods industry is fierce and many operations struggle to earn sufficient margins, keep a lid on labor, and produce attractive products they’re proud of. One solution is to do more of those enjoyable things that attracted you to work in prepared foods to begin with: creating new products, making things that please people, etc. — and putting systems in place to see it all come together in running a successful business operation. During this fun and informative full-day intensive we’ll show you how doing more of the things you love can grow sales — and bring you and your store greater personal, professional and financial success.
1. Fresh Product Ideas & Trends
Is your prepared foods operation ripe for some fresh product ideas? We’ll explore a variety of ideas and strategies for inspiring your product development plans, and send you home with some delicious and cost-effective recipes to help you quickly make exciting changes. You’ll leave inspired and confident of being able to develop new high-margin products that add homemade flair and cross-merchandising pizazz!
2. Developing Successful New Products
Once you’re inspired to create new products you’ll appreciate having a system for ensuring that every last one of them is successful. From product idea to sales of the first perfected batch, we’ll present a system and documents to streamline and improve your product development process.
3. Organizing Your Kitchen Brigade
Having a strong kitchen brigade ensures tasks are done in an organized and efficient manner, and guarantees production consistency. We’ll explore a range of options for organizing responsibilities among leaders and staff to determine your operation’s optimal, right-sized structure, and to make the most of your labor budget.
4. Financial Plans for Growing Sales
Working through a prepared foods case study we’ll deepen your financial skills and share systems for effective margin pricing and improving labor productivity.

Allen Seidner, principal of Thought For Food Consulting, specializes in prepared foods department design and operations consulting for cooperative and independently owned natural foods retailers.
Michelle O’Connor, is the founder of Moxie Consulting and collaborates with Thought For Food Consulting to provide strategic and individually tailored deli operations planning and costing support to clients all over the US and in Canada.

12:00 to 1:00 PM Lunch—GORGE ROOM

• Vegan Hearty Vegetable Stew

• Beef Stew

• Prepared Salads

• Mini Salad Bar

Assorted House Made Cookies and Dessert Bars

1:00 to 5:00 PM Tours—MEET IN FRONT OF THE HOTEL

PLEASE NOTE: There is an additional fee for this event

On Wednesday afternoon join Join Hall Newbegin from Juniper Ridge on a half day hike and plant collecting adventure at the base of Mt. Hood. Hall will help you learn about the plants and how to responsibly collect them. You’ll return to his van and distill your findings into something wonderful.

Space is limited so register early.

Your registration fee includes transportation.

4:00 to 6:00 PM Meet & Greet—SNACK ROOM (room 151, West Wing)

If you find yourself arriving early to the conference, meet us in the (in)famous Snack Room for a Meet & Greet and taste your way through a variety of fabulous food products from our generous product donors.  This is also a great opportunity to experience what a Meet & Greet is all about. This is an informal, fun opportunity to make connections, settle into the conference and sample some products that may be new to you.

Bring your own beverage.

6:00 to 7:30 PM Dinner—COLUMBIA ROOM

• Pizza Bar

• White Bean Salad

• Mini Salad Bar

• Coconut Panna Cotta with Berries or Caramel

7:00 to 7:30 PM Work Trade Training—COLUMBIA ROOM

Did you sign up for work trade?

You must attend this brief training session to prepare for your assigned tasks.  We promise to keep it brief.

7:30 to 9:30 PM Evening Entertainment—COLUMBIA ROOM

Fun and Games and Networking, Too!

Meet up in the Columbia Room for some fun and games!
The conference is all about learning together, meeting new people, sharing interests and making great industry connections. We’ll play a bunch of fun icebreaker and networking games to help you meet new friends and make connections early on. We promise you will laugh, have fun and not have to do anything too dorky (unless you want to). And, of course, there will be prizes!Let’s get warmed up for the Conference!

October 5th

7:30 AM to 5:00 PM Conference Registration—HOTEL LOBBY
7:00 to 7:45 Early Morning Group Run or Walk

Meet at the front desk for an informal group run or walk.  Get the day started off with a little fresh air and movement.

7:30 to 9:00 AM Breakfast—GORGE ROOM

• Assorted Quiche

• Yukon Breakfast Potatoes

• Tofu Scramble

• Breakfast Breads

• House-made Gluten-free Biscuits

• Seasonal Whole Fresh Fruit (local apples, local pears, bananas)

• Granola, Jams, Yogurt

• Chilled Fruit Juices

• Coffee and Teas

8:30 to 10:00 AM Keynote Event—GORGE ROOM

Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit
Valerie Segrest

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM Workshop Session I 12:00 to 1:30 PM Lunch—GORGE ROOM

• Roast Pork Loin with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

• Roasted Vegetables

• Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

• Jasmine Rice

• Mixed Green Salad

• Assorted Cookies and Desserts Bars

12:45 to 1:15 PM General Membership Meeting—GORGE ROOM

Your Provender board will take the stage, with updates about their work throughout the year.  Expect a creative retrospective!
Vote for YOUR Provender Board!  Ballots are mailed to members prior to the conference; on-site voting will continue until 2 PM Friday.

1:30 to 3:00 PM Workshop Session 2 4:30 to 6:30 PM Meet Your Makers—COLUMBIA ROOM

Continuing our tradition of Meet Your Makers, this tabletop event is specifically designed for our manufacturer members to tell you their stories and sample their wares.  Exhibitors must be Provender members.

Applications available here or apply on-line here

7:00 to 8:30 PM Dinner—GORGE ROOM

• Taco/Tostada Bar

• House Green Salad

• Jicama Salad

• Tortilla Chips

• Flan

8:00 to 8:30 PM Silent Auction Begins—GORGE ROOM

The silent auction features items created or donated by Provender members as a fund-raiser for the One Person Can Make a Difference Scholarship Fund.  Bring your submissions or send them in advance.

8:30 to 10:00 PM Evening Keynote—GORGE ROOM

Presenting J NAMES: Portland Comedy Improvisation Group

If you were to make a top-ten list of the best Improvisors in Portland, coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) most of the names on that list are J Names. This group is made up of Michael Jordan’s from every comedy theater in Portland. J Names came out as a record setter on the competitive show Friday Night Fights and has never slowed. Be prepared to laugh until it hurts!

October 6th

7:30 AM to 3:00 PM Conference Registration—HOTEL LOBBY
7:00 to 7:45 AM Early Morning Run or Walk

Meet at the front desk for an informal group run or walk.  Get the day started off with a little fresh air and movement.

7:30 to 9:00 AM Breakfast—GORGE ROOM

• Scrambled Eggs

• Red Potato Wedges

• Bacon

• Tofu Scramble

• Gluten-free Biscuits

• Assorted Breakfast Breads

• Cold Cereal

• Seasonal Fresh Fruit Salad with Yogurt

• Chilled Fruit Juices

• Coffee or Tea

8:30 to 10:00 AM Keynote Event—GORGE ROOM

Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children

Chef Ann Cooper | Founder, Chef Ann Foundation

We all know that the health of America’s children is our Nation’s greatest assess, however we also know that our children’s health is deteriorating. The CDC has stated that 1 in 3 children is overweight or obese and that the generation of children in elementary school today may be the first in our country’s history to die at a younger age than their parents. Chef Ann Cooper’s keynote will share why healthy school food is so important, best practices to make healthy school food a reality and showcase how making healthy school food a reality for every child in our country is truly possible.

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM Workshop Session 3 12:00 to 1:30 PM Lunch—GORGE ROOM

• 4-Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese

• Meatballs

• Tofurky Sausage

• Quinoa Pilaf with Vegatables

• Mixed Green Salad

• Assorted Cookies and Dessert Bars

1:30 to 3:00 PM Workshop Session 4 3:30 to 5:00 PM Workshop Session 5 5:30 to 6:30 PM Pool-Side Celebration—POOLSIDE

Get your beach ball—Join us for a pool-side gathering!  The Hood River Inn pool cannot be beat, so we invite all Provender Conference attendees to gather for some down-time between workshops and our grand finale dinner.  Swimming is not mandatory, though highly recommended, during this hour of Provender poolside chillaxing.

6:30 to 8:00 PM Dinner—GORGE ROOM

• Roasted Chicken

• Navy Beans with Lemon, Garlic and Tomato

• Mashed Potatoes

• Marinated Local Tomatoes

• Roasted Seasonal Vegatables

• Kale Caesar Salad

• Dinner Rolls with Butter

• I Scream Bar – featuring Fruit, Crumbled Cookies, Nuts, and Assorted toppings

7:00 to 7:30 PM Annual Awards—GORGE ROOM

The 25th edition of our awards where we celebrate outstanding contributors to Provender and our trade.

7:30 to 8:00 PM Silent Auction Closes—GORGE ROOM
8:00 to 8:30 PM Logo Item Raffle—GORGE ROOM

Bring a logo item from your business to add to the drawing.  Proceeds go to the 2017 work trade fund.

You, or your proxy, must be present to win the raffle.

8:30 PM to 12:00 AM Rock the Conference—GORGE ROOM

SURPRISE!  You are the lead singer, and this live band makes you a star!  Back by popular demand, find out what we already know…that Karaoke From Hell is a blast!

October 7th


Meet on the patio by the river for fond farewells until next year.

10:00 AM to 11:00 PM Board Meeting—MOUNTAINVIEW ROOM

The new Provender board meets.  You are most welcome to attend…

8:15 to 9:15 AM Co-op Cafe Breakfast—COLUMBIA ROOM

Please Note: This breakfast is for Co-op Cafe attendees only


9:30 AM to 4:00 PM Co-op Cafe—COLUMBIA ROOM

Join us directly following the Provender conference for the Co-op Cafe.

The Co-op Cafe provides a day of highly interactive and engaging strategic conversations designed to build shared understanding and alignment at your co-op and among co-ops.  Cafe conversations focus on participation, and building community and meaningful relationships in our co-ops as essential elements of growing our co-ops.

The Co-op Cafes are sponsored by the National Co+op Grocers (NCG) and produced by the CDS Consulting Co-op as a series of regional events that make it possible for many people with various roles in a co-op to participate in a day of strategic conversation with people in similar roles at other co-ops in the region. There is a modest fee per participant.

Cafe presentations and roundup videos are available here.

Who should attend: Directors, general managers, managers involved in co-op development, membership and marketing staff, committee members and anyone involved in the co-op’s relationship with members and the community.

Click here for a full calendar of upcoming events.

Participation in the Cooperative Cafe is a modest per person fee of $60 to cover meals and incidentals. Bring eight or more people and we’ll pay for one (eight can come for $420). More are welcome!

Register here for an event in 2017.

This event is a full day – we will provide participants with light breakfast and lunch as well as light snacks and beverages at breaks during the day.  The Cooperative Cafe runs from 9:30-4:00. Breakfast is available starting at 8:15.

Using this link you can register one or more people for an event.  Each person you register will be sent an e-mail with detailed logistical information for the event.  No payment is required to register. Please email if you have any questions in advance of registering!


Please Note: This lunch is for Co-op Cafe attendees only