2020 Co-op Elections

Online elections begin May 27 and end on June 10 at 9 p.m. All owners will receive an email from Ashland Food Co-op @simplyvoting.com> with the subject line "BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTIONS AND CHANGE FOR GOOD VOTING."
Make sure your information is up to date here.

Ashland Food Co-op owners will vote for three open seats on the Board of Directors, and also vote for ten out of twelve non-profit organizations for the Change for Good register round-up program.

Click a name below to read their position statements and biography.

2020 Board Candidates
Ed Claassen (incumbent) Mark Gibbs (candidate) Carolina Livi (candidate) Julie O'Dwyer (incumbent)


Click on Change for Good register round up candidates below to learn more about their proposed projects.

Ed Claassen headshot

Ed Claassen


Candidate video interview

Candidate Statement
What a challenging time and an incredible opportunity for the Ashland Food Co-op! We have always insisted that we are much more than just another grocery store. In our early years we were the only place in Ashland where you could find organically grown food. As we grew we embraced our role as a knowledgeable curator of the myriad natural food product offerings to insure that you were getting products you could trust. By allying ourselves with the national cooperative movement we gained access to not only bulk purchase discounts, but also to a wealth of best practices built around cooperative principles.
Now as the livelihood of our whole community is being threatened by the impact of this pandemic, we not only stand strong as a primary source of healthy food but we also have the opportunity to lead and partner in new ways that serve our whole community. Whether it be opening up shopping access through on-line ordering, curbside pick-up, or home delivery, or helping to reconfigure struggling businesses into cooperative ownership models, I believe we have a vital role to play.
I have served on your Board for six years and have been privileged to serve as president of the Board of Directors for the past three years. In that role I have focused primarily on three goals:

  • Providing leadership that encourages each of our directors to bring forward the best of what they have to offer,
  • Bringing attention to, gathering consensus for, and initiating actions on those key opportunities that will shape our future, through our strategic planning process,
  • Partnering with our general manager to do everything we can to advance the goal of expanding our current store’s footprint and capacity, a goal that we believe we are getting very close to achieving.

I am asking you to give me the opportunity to serve another term on your Board, so that I can follow through on the initiatives that I am deeply engaged in on behalf of the Co-op.


Ed is a retired organization development consultant. He and his wife, Marea, a practicing Jungian analyst moved to Ashland in 2007. In addition to currently serving on the Board of the Ashland Food Cooperative, he volunteers as a mediator for Resolve in Jackson County small claims court and periodically does volunteer strategic planning facilitation for local non-profit organizations.

Prior to retirement Ed was the Director of Consulting for The Grove Consultants lnternational, a San Francisco-based organization consulting firm that utilizes its unique form of graphically-enhanced facilitation to assist organizations and teams that are undertaking processes of planning, revitalization and renewal. His consulting practice focused on team effectiveness and consensus-based strategic planning. He worked with a wide variety of leadership teams and project teams in such organizations as Genentech, Industrial Light & Magic, Chevron, and Ericsson. He coauthored the Team Leader Guide, a rich resource for team leaders based on the Drexler Sibbet Team Performance Model.

After facilitating a strategic planning process for the Save-the-Redwoods League in 1997, Ed was invited to join the League’s Board of Directors to help the organization implement its strategic plan. As a director and then Board vice president (2000-2002) and Board president (2002-2008), he helped guide the organization in moving to a more engaged Council and membership and implementing a planning and performance management process that was driven by a clear set of strategic initiatives.

Prior to joining The Grove Consultants, Ed was Director of Training and Organization Development at SRI International. Ed did his undergraduate studies in physics at Rice University and graduate studies at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.

Ed has served 6 years as a director of the Ashland Food Cooperative. In that role he designed and led an in-depth strategic planning process for the combined Board and management team. Subsequently he led the implementation of the food production facility initiative that led to the acquisition of a nearby bakery which doubled the Co-op’s bakery production and provides a ready base from which to expand our prepared food offerings. Ed currently is Board President, chairs the Executive Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee and Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

Mark Gibbs headshot

Mark Gibbs


Candidate video interview

Candidate Statement
Ashland Food Co-op embodies much of what my family and I most cherish and respect about our special community.

Since becoming a Co-op Member upon relocating our family of five to Ashland 9 years ago, I have come to admire AFC’s core values and its contribution to the spirit and health of our region. The Co-op is our trusted local champion for high quality, natural, and locally sourced food and is such a welcoming and positive force in this community. While serving as a volunteer member of AFC’s Multi- Location Task Force, I have also gained a deeper understanding of and appreciation for AFC’s heritage and mission, as well as the challenges ahead. We are living in an increasingly complex and challenging time. I am eager to join the AFC Board to work with this dedicated team as we navigate through this difficult environment and prepare for the future.

Professionally, I have spent ~ 25 years as a business and corporate finance professional working with a diverse mix of global companies to understand, advise and finance their strategic objectives and priorities. I am excited about the prospect of joining this dynamic organization and contributing my experience, passion and energy to furthering AFC’s Mission and unique place in our community.


Born and raised in the Chicago area, Mark has lived and worked as a volunteer high school teacher in the Bronx, NY and a financial analyst in Manhattan and Tokyo, Japan, prior to returning to graduate school and a professional career in corporate finance and banking back in Chicago. Mr. Gibbs has an undergraduate degree in Economics and an MBA in Finance, Strategy and Marketing. Mark and his wife Colleen spent the next 15 years living in the Midwest and starting their family.


In 2011, the Gibbs moved to Ashland with the intention of simplifying our lives and refocusing our values and priorities as we pursued raising our three young children in a more nurturing and natural environment. While few plans are perfect, this special community has been wonderful for our family. Today our daily life continues to revolve around the academic, athletic and artistic activities and pursuits of our three children ages 14, 18 and 20. We also especially enjoy gathering with friends and family at our terrific local establishments, hiking and exploring this beautiful region and skiing/biking Mt A. I am fortunate to now have more personal and professional flexibility to directly contribute even more time to important local organizations and activities that align with our personal values.  


Carolina Livi headshot

Carolina Livi


Candidate video interview

Candidate Statement
I joined the Ashland community in 2014 after a wonderful Summer visit when we got to know the Ashland Food Co-op. Since then I have been able to contribute to several wonderful organizations including as science advisory board member for ScienceWorks, project and resource leader for 4H and youth harvest coordinator for Neighborhood Harvest. With a background in biomedical research I know the limitations of disease treatments. I am passionate in promoting healthy living with a focus on plant based nutrition and an active outdoor lifestyle. Easy access to fresh delicious local produce and organic ingredients for home cooking is the foundation for a healthy individual and a healthy community. I would like to join the AFC board of directors bringing my experience in academia and industry as well as expertise in food authenticity and supplement potency testing together with my interest in sustainable food production and distribution for the benefit of this important Ashland organization and our community.

Carolina Livi moved to Ashland in 2014 with her husband and two boys to join this community in this wonderful part of the world. Carolina is a scientist and educator with a background in biomedical research and a PhD in molecular developmental biology. She recently resigned from her full time position at Agilent Technologies to spend more time with family and pursue local interests in food and sustainable agriculture. Carolina is currently an affiliate professor of biology at SOU. She is originally from Brazil and grew up in a farming family with horses, cows, sheep and rice patties. Carolina moved to the US in 1996 and after working as a research technician started graduate school in 1998. She took a faculty position at UTHSCSA and UTSA in San Antonio in 2006. Working remotely for a biotech company in the Bay Area starting in 2013 allowed her to choose where to live and the Ashland schools and healthy lifestyle are a perfect fit for the family.  


Julie O'Dwyer headshot

Julie O'Dwyer


Candidate video interview

Candidate Statement
I am very excited to be running for the AFC Board of Directors again this year. My first two terms were a thorough learning experience and I now feel that my long-term knowledge about the Coop and the challenges it is facing will be best supported by my depth of experience and foresight. During my tenure, I have worked hard to develop a strong Board, reinvent Owner Engagement, facilitate the Strategic Planning process, introduce new Community Grants programs, restructured our Grant Foundation Fund, and focused new efforts on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. I see the future of the Ashland Food Coop as one of the leaders in local resiliency and cooperative business development. AFC is uniquely positioned to be an agent for positive and robust change in our community. The strength of the Coop has always been its owners and I am proud to represent them each and every day.


Click here to view Julie O'Dwyer's resume.

Change for Good candidates


This year, the AFC Gives Committee is very excited to introduce AFC's new Change for Good Program, which will enable shoppers to round up their purchases at the register so that the spare change will benefit a different local non-profit each month. In addition, each month the Co-op will partner with the designated non-profit to share their mission and engage our shoppers in their organization. This program is being planned to roll out in early autumn.

The AFC Gives Committee has reviewed a large number of grant applications, and has selected twelve finalists for the 2020-2021 Change for Good program. We are asking our owners to vote for their top ten organizations on the ballot. The ten organizations receiving the most votes will be our first round of Change for Good participants. Each month, one of the ten organizations that have received the most votes will be featured in the Change for Good Program. Brief descriptions of each organization's program and/or project are included on the ballot.

The twelve Change for Good finalists are:

  •  The Ashland High Arts Advocates is supporting the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program at Ashland High School, an American Culinary Federation-accredited, college credit career education program offered at Ashland High School. We provide six levels of college credit courses through both Klamath Community College’s culinary and hospitality program as well as SOU’s business department. Our program provides students with professional level skills and various industry experiences to prepare them to work in the hospitality industry both locally and beyond, and also equips students with the necessary skills to cook at home for themselves and their families. We would use the Change for Good funds to increase our use of organic and sustainably sourced ingredients in our classroom, and help support our mission of preparing students to make socially and ecologically conscious decisions regarding the sourcing of food and ingredients.
  •  Klamath Siskiyou Wildland Center (KS Wild) is a nonprofit environmental organization with the mission is to protect and restore wild nature in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southwest Oregon and northwest California. We promote science-based land and water conservation through policy and community action. We envision a Klamath-Siskiyou region where local communities enjoy healthy wild lands, where clean rivers are teeming with native salmon, and where connected plant and wildlife populations are prepared for climate change. KS Wild achieves this vision through outreach and advocacy-based education, by building community support for the conservation of the region’s special places and natural gems, by being the watchdog and steward of northern California and southern Oregon’s public lands, public trust waters, and the diversity of plant and animal life.
  •  Maslow Project
    COVID-19 has brought new phrases into our lives: "Stay at Home" and "Social Distancing" most notably. For some, this could be a time to stay home, slow down, or make bread. For some, these times are particularly challenging. Many are unable to stay home, or home is a car, a campground, or unstable due to missed rent payments. Families who struggle to feed their children now have extra challenges. Ellie is 7 years old, she attended school here in Ashland, OR and she doesn't have a home or a school to go to. Most days, she isn't sure where food will come from. Our mission at Maslow Project is to be a lifeline for the kids and families of Southern Oregon who need us most - and help them find safe shelter, adequate food, and keep them connected to educational learning and critical services during this trying time. We are still working every day to stabilize our community's most vulnerable children and with your help, and support from the Ashland Co-Op, we can keep them safe, fed, and hopeful for their future.
  •  North Mountain Park Nature Center (NMP) has offered hands-on K-5 field trips since 1999. Our field trips focus on the history and ecosystems of the Rogue Valley, emphasizing relationships and interconnectivity in the human and natural worlds. Our field trips guide elementary school children from wonder and enjoyment of nature in the early grades, to natural history knowledge and personal responsibility later on, better equipping them to be environmental stewards. Over the next year, we intend to host approximately 80 field trips, serving roughly 2000 students from six Rogue Valley school districts. Our goal is to offer hands-on, standards based environmental education at the least expense to classes and students’ families. The NMP School Program Scholarship Fund ensures that economically disadvantaged students are able to attend our field trips, through scholarships that offset up to 50% of field trip fees for their class. If our organization is chosen for the Change for Good Program, we intend to invest all funds directly into our School Program Scholarship Fund where it will directly benefit local teachers who need it, ensuring equitable access to high-quality outdoor education in the Rogue Valley for many years to come.
  •  Our Family Farms Project
    In this, our third year of teaching regenerative agricultural practices, such as no-till or shallow-till, the use of cover crops and hedgerows to enhance soil health and increase climate resilience, we now offer two NEW very important twists to the program.
    1) The on-farm training with farmers teaching farmers. Sharing what they've learned, what worked and what didn't. Providing tips and skills that can only come from hands-on experience.
    2) The art of protecting and rehabilitating the habitat of native bee pollinators.
    Did you know that most pollination is dependent on native pollinators that live in the soil or in trees, rather than the European Honey bees living in that wooden hive? We're seeking your support to bring in a native bee specialist from Better Bee Certified, based in Portland, OR to teach local farmers and gardeners how to rehabilitate and protect native pollinator habitat. If you are interested in a sustainable supply of high quality food from local sources, please support our program.
  •  Pollinator Project Rogue Valley: "Connecting Pollinators, Plants and People for the Planet"
    One out of every 3 bites of food depends upon pollination, yet populations of pollinators and other insects are on a precipitous decline. Pesticide-free gardens and landscapes, rich with indigenous plants for native bees, honeybees, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, and hummingbirds are critical for saving our food systems and ecosystems. We provide resources, education, connections, and volunteer opportunities to help every community in the Rogue Valley protect pollinators, grow pollinator-friendly landscapes full of native plants, and reduce if not eliminate pesticide use. Your contribution will help us expand our volunteer resources! Help us create educational videos, curricula, and presentations; purchase materials and equipment for schools, community presentations, and workshops; and design and print flash cards about our favorite pollinator plants! Whether it's 5¢ or $5, it all helps us get the work done. We truly appreciate the support of our community, so please join us in growing our vision!
  •  Rogue Farm Corps trains and equips the next generation of farmers and ranchers through hands-on educational programs and the preservation of Oregon’s farmland. RFC facilitates hands-on education for beginning farmers, providing the training necessary to start and sustain successful farming businesses. RFC’s Changing Hands Program addresses the threats facing Oregon’s farmland, helps beginning farmers access land and capital, and assists elder farmers with succession planning. RFC has deep roots in Oregon’s agricultural communities, and right now we are pivoting our work while staying grounded in our values to respond to the urgent needs of farmers, ranchers and our local food systems during the COVID-19 crisis.
  •  Rogue Valley Farm to School
    For more than a decade, Rogue Valley Farm to School has been working to connect children (and parents) to their food system. We believe that a thriving food system is one that is equitable and inclusive for all, where everyone has access to healthy, fresh food, and we are committed to creating a culture of health in our region. We believe health starts from the ground up, and it includes how we grow food as well as what we eat, and we are deeply grateful for the amazing farmers and producers in our region. We work in partnership with schools and farmers to provide education programs and create a healthy food system that honors diversity and is inclusive and equitable. Our mission is to educate children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and to increase local food served in school meals. Thank you for supporting Rogue Valley Farm to School!
  •  Rogue Valley Mentoring (formerly known as the Rose Circle Mentoring Network) was founded in 2005. We have trained close to 500 volunteers who have mentored over 2,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 in Jackson County. Our mission is to transform communities through the mentoring of youth. RVM serves youth who are identified by school and social service partners as "high needs". After a rigorous vetting process, RVM trains volunteers in our one-of-a-kind Mentoring Essentials training module, teaching the concepts of trauma-informed care, resilience-building and healthy relating, vital aspects of meeting the needs of the youth that we serve. We provide a baseline level of mental health support, enabling adults to develop supportive relationships with youth, giving them the guidance they need to be healthy, successful individuals. We also achieve our mission through community education, training, networking and advocacy.
  •  SOCAN Master Climate Protector Program
    This request is to support the SOCAN Master Climate Protector - a Primer for Action course that we offer annually. By offering a ten week course that educates regional community members about the science of global warming, its interactions with energy and construction, agriculture, terrestrial systems, weather and water, human population, health and consumption, and exploring what we can do individually and collectively to address the problem, the course serves our Mission to promote awareness and understanding about the science, causes, and consequences of climate change.
  •  Southern Oregon Land Conservancy (SOLC)
    We are your LOCAL LAND TRUST, serving the Rogue River region since 1978. SOLC helps people throughout Jackson and Josephine counties conserve woodlands, meadows, pastures, farmlands, working forests, ranch lands, waterways, wetlands, and more. Perhaps you hike in Oredson-Todd Woods, Siskiyou Mountain Preserve, or on the trails throughout Jacksonville (e.g., Britt Woods, Beekman Woods, etc.): these are examples of conserved public lands SOLC protects, and they are part of the 11,700 acres we conserve throughout the region. In addition to protecting land, for the past 12 years SOLC has offered Loving the Land, an exploration of the Oredson-Todd Woods, at no cost to 300 local elementary students and hosted school-groups such as the John Muir Outdoor School for conservation stewardship lessons and service projects. To keep the conservation movement alive and thriving, and to support scientific literacy for local students, we are expanding our outdoor education to year-round programs at our very own Rogue River Preserve – 352 acres of undeveloped beauty. To keep our hands-on, placed-based science programs free for school groups, we are asking for your donations to support the purchase of educational tools and supplies that will be used by hundreds of youth for years to come.
  •  St. Vincent de Paul Society is dedicated to providing compassionate, prompt support to those in need in Ashland and Talent. Currently we are doing all we can to keep in their homes those who have lost their jobs during this pandemic. We work closely with other agencies to leverage our funds to keep housed individuals and families with children by assisting with rent and utility payments. We are the only local all-volunteer organization meeting this need. Because we have minimal overhead (a phone help line), no employees, and few expenses, nearly every dime we collect goes directly to helping those in need.