2019 Farm Tour Recap

Another successful farm tour is in the books! With 30 farms this year, visitors could see how bigger farms work, like Herb Pharm, Fry Family Farm, and Rogue Creamery, while also experiencing the joys of smaller farms, such as Turning Point Farm, Fox Run Farm, and Daily Blessing Farm.

Visitors of all ages enjoying Goodwin Creek Gardens
Visitors of all ages enjoying Goodwin Creek Gardens

Every farm did a wonderful job hosting farm activities. It’s no surprise that attendees were drawn out to farms for the activities alone, like carriage rides, hay rides, photo booths, animal petting areas, prizes for children, live music, tastings and goods for sale. Some visitors made it a point to purchase goods from the farm at each stop they made - the lavender cookies and popsicles at Goodwin Creek Gardens were definitely a hit.

Vinfarm cheese, wine and more
Vinfarm cheese and wine

We know this is a great event for the Rogue Valley community because there was an uptick in attendance from last year’s Farm Tour - about 1,500 folks made it out to local farms this year. That’s a great affirmation that Rogue Valley residents and visitors appreciate our strong local food system, and that they enjoy the opportunity to connect with our farmers. (A lot of feedback asked for longer hours or an additional day to tour farms in the future.)

Horse-drawn carriage rides were one of many activities for visitors
Horse-drawn carriage rides were one of many activities for visitors

For 2020, here are some possible changes:

  • A wrap-up party after the event! It was fun swapping stories after the tour about each farm, so it would be great to have everyone come together for a Farm Tour party with music and food at the end of the day. 
    Leading a tour of a local farm
  • More and earlier bus and carpool options - though we got a lot of feedback asking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of attending multiple farms, the tour buses sponsored by Rogue Retreat and Set-Free Ministries did not fill up. We will focus on filling buses with environmentally-conscious folks next year.
    Pollination in action
  • The more volunteers, the easier it is on farms. We will be looking for more folks to help next year! 
  • Make the Farm Tour a little longer - Farms are spread out, so it's hard to get to more than three. Extending hours would allow attendees time to visit another farm, or just enjoy a nice moment.
    U-Pick Lavender
  • We will schedule the 2020 Farm Tour to avoid double-booking with the Jackson County Fair free day and the Oregon Country Fair.
  • We will add a spot to the maps so you know where you can grab food.
    Farm-raised kiddos helping on the tour

 

 

More Co-op News

Chatting about community giving with JPR's "Jefferson Exchange"

Recently, Julie O'Dwyer, Ashland Food Co-op board vice-president, joined a panel of guests on Jefferson Public Radio's "Jefferson Exchange" to discuss how the pandemic has led to an even greater need for community giving and support of local non-profits.

JPR logo

Coronavirus Preparedness at the Co-op

The Ashland Food Co-op acknowledges and shares our community’s concerns about protecting against the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The safety and health of staff and customers is a top priority for the Co-op. We are taking proactive steps throughout our store to maintain a clean atmosphere to work and shop.

We have consolidated store changes below.
 

Masks Required for All In-Store Shoppers

To protect the health of Co-op staff and shoppers, all shoppers and other visitors on Ashland Food Co-op property must wear face coverings over mouth and nose except when dining in an approved area.

Those who are unable or choose not to wear a mask are welcome to use our recently launched eGrocery online shopping and curbside pickup service as an alternative to shopping in-store.

Get to know Ashland Emergency Food Bank

The sixth cooperative principle, "Concern for Community," has become even more important since the pandemic began and economies, locally and globally, started to constrict. To address this, the Board of Directors agreed in April to release 100% of patronage dividends and designate Ashland Emergency Food Bank as a donation option for those dividends - resulting in over $20,000 in donations. And with the early launch of Change for Good register round-up, AEFB was a natural choice to receive round-up donations. 

2020 Co-op Election Results

2020 Co-op Election Results

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

Click a name below to read more about that Co-op Board member.

Co-op Owners Step-Up to Support the Ashland Emergency Food Bank!

AFC and AEFB Press Release - Local Strength!

Release Date: 5-26-2020

In April, the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors announced to the community that the Co-op would be returning 100% of the 2019 Patronage Dividend to its owners. The 100% Patronage Dividend return to Co-op owners converted to over $628,000.

The Co-op Board felt in this time of great need it was not the right time for the Co-op to put away funds for the future, but rather to support owners fully so they may have more strength to weather these stormy times.

Free Monday Night Lectures - virtual and recorded

Thanks to the many agile and adaptable experts in the Rogue Valley, the much-loved Free Monday Night Lectures live on - even if everything is moving online.

While we miss seeing community members with a joy of learning showing up at the Co-op Classroom, we hope these recordings teach and inspire you. 

 

Open letter from AFC Board on Coronavirus Policies

The Ashland Food Co-op has played a critical role supporting our community for nearly 50 years by providing healthy food and a safe place to shop. With the recent COVID-19 shutdown, this support has been even more important and has stretched our organization in ways that we could not have anticipated. We have endeavored to address the needs of both our staff and our customers, hopefully in the most cooperative manner.

Owner Voting on 2020 Co-op Board & more

As an owner of the Ashland Food Co-op, you are an important decision-maker in the leadership of the Co-op! A vital part of your ownership is voting for the Board of Directors.

On the ballot: Vote for Board Candidates and Change for Good Organizations

Vote for Board Candidates
This year, four candidates are nominated for three Board positions: each elected Board director will serve a three-year term. The candidates are Ed Claassen, Mark Gibbs, Carolina Livi and Julie O'Dywer.

A dozen local favorites to explore this summer

The Co-op has always had a focus on supporting the strong local scene of growers and producers - and in these times, it's even more important. Here is just a small selection of some of our favorites from the area.  Help support local businesses next time you stop by the Co-op by picking one of these products.