Co-op Board meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month unless otherwise posted. The agenda is posted the Friday before each meeting on the Board Bulletin Board to the right of the Information Desk, next to the Suggestion Board. All co-op owners are welcome to attend.
Meet the Board of Directors
Ed Claassen - Board President
Chair, Executive Committee
Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee Member, Finance Committee
End of current term 2023
Ed is a Senior Associate for The Grove Consultants International, a San-Francisco-based consulting firm that utilizes its own unique form of graphically-enhanced facilitation to assist organizations and teams undertaking processes of planning, revitalization, and renewal. As an Ashland Food Co-op board member, Ed brings expertise in consulting and management, including team effectiveness and leadership development. He co-authored the “Team Leader Guide,” a rich resource based on the Drexler Sibbet Team Performance Model.
After conducting 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 implement the strategic plan. As a director, board Vice President (2000-2002) and President (2002-2008), he helped guide the organization implement a planning and performance management process that was driven by a clear set of strategic initiatives. Prior to joining The Grove Consultants, Ed was responsible for the training and organization development processes at SRI International. Ed completed undergraduate studies in physics at Rice University and graduate studies at Stanford’s School of Business. His passions are running and helping to preserve California’s ancient Redwood forests. He and his wife, a Jungian analyst, have 4 sons.
Julie O'Dwyer - Board Vice-President
Chair, AFC Gives Committee
Member, Executive Committee, ED&I Committee
End of current term 2023
Julie brings her passion for building community and fostering creativity in her role as an Ashland Food Co-op board member. A Co-op owner since 2003, Julie joined the AFC Board of Directors in 2014. Julie is the founder of the Ashland Design Studio and JulieO Design, providing resources and expertise to homeowners and building professionals throughout Southern Oregon, California, and Arizona. Her lifelong career as an architect and designer began in her father's studio at the age of 9 and has taken her around the world contributing her talents to design projects large and small. Julie and her daughters landed in Ashland, via Berkeley, where she quickly became one of the Siskiyou School’s founding families. Her involvement continues, long after her children have graduated!
Julie's love for combining food and community was ignited when she opened Tease, a popular restaurant located in downtown Ashland. Julie is proud of the impact this establishment had on the local food producers and farmers of Ashland and the way the community building events that were established there continue to grow and thrive in the Rogue Valley.
Member, Owner Engagement Committee, Strategic Planning Steering Committee
End of current term 2021
A native Oregonian, Steve came to Ashland in 1962 to attend college. After four years in the Air Force, Steve joined the US Forest Service where he worked in many different capacities, including fire, wildlife, timber, roads, recreation, planning, and budgeting, before retiring in 1998. Steve has been a member-owner of Rogue Credit Union and Grange Co-op since the 70s, and with the Ashland Food Co-op since the 90s.
Steve enjoys the high quality and selection of food at the Co-op, but he really appreciates the sense of shared community: “I always feel welcome!”
In his spare time, Steve enjoys live jazz, attending local talks, visiting local parks, lakes and forests, and spending time with his three children and eight grandchildren.
Member, Finance Committee, Board Development Committee, Strategic Planning Steering Committee
End of current term 2021
As a native Oregonian, I completed my B.S. in Business/Economics from Willamette University. After pursuing a passion for skiing and living in Colorado, my husband and I returned to Oregon. Within our first years back, we took a leap and opened Pasta Piatti. We have been engaged in the food and wine scene ever since. Currently, we own and operate Pie + Vine, Sesame Asian Kitchen, Falafel Republic and we have a small vineyard that we farm for vine-to-glass wine for our restaurants. With our daughter, Olivia, we continue to spend lots of family time skiing, traveling and enjoying the local outdoors. I am someone that loves challenges, I enjoy staying fit through crossfit, and my most recent self-improvement challenge is taking Spanish at RCC.
Member, AFC Gives Committee, Owner Engagement Committee, ED&I Committee
End of current term 2022
Raised in Ashland, Oregon, Melina developed a deep appreciation for the beauty and character of the Rogue Valley. Her love for the environment quickly led her to pursue a career in the outdoors. She has worked professionally educating youth and community members about the local environment and sustainability for over 10 years. After eight years exploring Colorado, she returned to southern Oregon to live and work on an organic farm in the Applegate Valley. She and her husband, Quinn, owned and operated Meadowlark Family Farm for 6 years, growing organic vegetables and berries. Melina holds a master's degree in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University, and an undergraduate degree in International Politics and Environmental Studies from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO.
Melina helped to found Rogue Valley Farm to School and is delighted to combine her love of farming, the environment and educating youth as the RVF2S Program Director for the past 11 years. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network, as well as the Farm to School working group for the Oregon Community Food System Network. Melina also teaches Farm-based Field Education at Southern Oregon University. She has years of experience working with diverse stakeholders to build partnerships on a local and statewide level. Through her work with Rogue Valley Farm to School, Melina has developed a deep understanding of the local food system, and the many perspectives of the farmers, institutions, and families that live and work in the Rogue Valley.
Melina lives on a small homestead with her husband and two children. She spends free time gardening, hiking, preserving food, and playing outdoors with her family.
Chair, Owner Engagement Committee
Member, Board Development Committee
End of current term 2022
My career has included creating the weekly grocery ads for a newspaper, finishing college degrees in Art Education, Women's Studies and Radio and TV Broadcasting, a 15-year career in Public Radio at KLCC and Jefferson Public Radio, and a 25-year journey as Marketing Manager at Ashland Food Co-op.
My passion now lies in growing cooperative enterprise in the Rogue Valley in every economic sector. I am an avid student of cooperative and non-profit governance. I believe that cooperative enterprise is a way to address the local and global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.
Mark Gibbs - Board Treasurer
Chair, Finance Committee
End of current term 2023
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.
Kamilah Long - Board Appointed Member
Kamilah Long is an innovative leader and dynamic theatrical professional. Her multifaceted theatre career includes roles as an actor, director, producer, educator, fundraiser, activist, and speaker. She started her career in theatre as a storyteller, which led her to joining Actors Equity and becoming a professional actor before completing her undergraduate theatre degree from Alabama State University. Kamilah went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in performance along with a Certificate in African American Theatre from the University of Louisville. Kamilah is a world-class orator, having traveled as far as South Africa to speak and perform.
Her experiences ultimately led her to become the current managing director of Play On Shakespeare. Before that she worked for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where she was awarded a producing fellowship and rose from an entry-level artistic assistant to Senior Director of Development. Kamilah is also a proud member of the Board of Directors for Southern Oregon Public Television (SOPTV).
Recently she was the founder and CEO of The Black Whole, a multimedia company focused on centering the Black global community through art and storytelling.
Chair: Ed Claassen
Members: Trine Ostergaard, Julie O’Dwyer, Charlie Douglass, Emile Amarotico, Abby Lazerow
Chair: Charlie Douglass
Members: Ed Claassen, Emile Amarotico, Lisa Beam
Board Development Committee
Chair Board: Steve Bowman
Members: Annie Hoy, Abby Lazerow, Emile Amarotico, Julie O’Dwyer
Chair: Kamilah Long, Owner
Members: Julie O'Dwyer, Melina Barker, Emile Amarotico, HR Manager, Sarah Huque, Rianna Koppel, Barry Haynes, Joe Reyes and Gilda Montenegro Fix.
Owner Engagement Committee
Chair: Trine Ostergaard
Members: Annie Hoy, Steve Bowman, Abby Lazerow, Tracy Kaiser, Olivia Batt
Chair: Annie Hoy
Members: Steve Bowman, Melina Barker, Lisa Beam
Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Co-Chairs: Julie O’Dwyer and Emile Amarotico
Members: Ed Claassen, Lisa Beam, Barry Haynes, Kelly McNamara
AFC Gives Committee
Chair: Julie O’Dwyer
Members: Melina Barker, Charlie Douglass, Trine Ostergaard