i’ve been working with this guy, jack lee, at organic valley for almost 10 years and at some point we realized we were in close orbit with each other 20 years ago in olympia, washington when i was attending the evergreen state college and he was a food broker. we’ve been joking for years that someday we’d have beer at the spar and today was that day.
just down the street from the spar is the bayview thriftway. 20 years ago, i’d run into the store while waiting for the city bus back to evergreen. jack would visit the store as a food broker. it’s entirely possible we visited the store on the store on the same day, if not the same week back then. but tonight, we were there at the same time!
20 years ago, neither of us worked for organic valley but what’s amusing is that around that time the cooperative was growing and the first farmers from the pacific northwest joined the cooperative and we started packaging local milk. soon thereafter jack would start working for the cooperative and his team was instrumental in getting milk on shelves in stores in the area. and now there’s a nice ov set in the the bayview thriftway!
we also got a chance to visit the olympia food coop which was the first food coop i ever joined. i was starting to think about where my food came from and i’m pretty sure the first time i bought organic valley milk was at the oly food coop. so it was extra fun to check out the range of ov products they now carry and talk with some of the folks working the store. i think they were amused that a “greener” was now the milk marketing person for ov.
to add to the “it’s a small world vibe” one of employees was from madison, wisconsin and worked at the venerable willy street coop. as i bought an oly food coop t-shirt she said, “it’s interesting how many people from wisconsin there are in the area,” which is amusing because there are good number of evergreen and oly alumni at organic valley.
time is truly a flat circle.