Ashland Food Co-op’s Wellness department is a leader in providing natural and alternative health products and information. We have an extraordinary staff. Our senior supplements buyer, Craig Craddock, started at the old store in 1981 and bought the very first supplements for the store. All together we have over 80 years experience at the co-op. Everyone in our department has a passion for health and for helping others. One of our staff members is an assistant midwife; one is currently enrolled in a nine-month course on herbalism; everyone studies on their own and is given regular store sponsored trainings. There are very few stores with this level of expertise.

We are very proud of our product standards, too. Our body care products are all cruelty free, botanically based, and free of artificial dyes and fragrances. Have you ever looked at the label on a conventional body care product? You won’t recognize most of the ingredients, and the lists are long. We look for products with simple, understandable ingredient lists and from companies that we trust because we have forged a relationship with them. We have a good selection of local products as well, and support these products with lower margins, demos and sales.

In the supplements department we look for companies with the highest standards for purity and integrity in labeling. We have personally visited many of our supplier’s facilities and can attest to their manufacturing methods and quality of ingredients. We have built relationships with our vendors over many years, just like the relationships we build with our customers. There is a lot of trust involved because there is very little actual government oversight in his industry. That’s why our buying standards, and our organic certification, are so important.

We have to do a lot of research to keep up on all this. In addition to industry sponsored trainings and conferences, we maintain a reference library at the store and take advantage of some excellent references available on the internet. Our main industry website, www.naturalproductsassoc.org, has an excellent reference and resource page which we use a great deal. It’s a good place to keep up on regulatory news and ingredients issues. We also use the American Herbal Products Association website, www.ahpa.org. In addition to industry news, this site specializes in up to date herbal science. If you’re interested in homeopathy, www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org is a good site. For an all purpose guide to vitamins and supplements go to www.supplementinfo.org which is run by the same people who provide us with our Health Notes data base at the Health Notes kiosk in our department.

Contact Wellness Manager Amey Broeker