4 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

It’s the New Year, our favorite time for goal-setting, making positive resolutions, and shifting our impact. One of the Co-op’s goals is to become a Zero Waste facility. Our staff works to divert as much food waste as we can - and we hope our member-owners will join us in this goal too.

According to the National Resource Defense Council, the average American household of four is throwing away $120 each month in the form of uneaten food. And each one of us - consumers - are the largest source of food waste, more than grocery stores and restaurants combined. But there's good news: we can do something about it.

Shop Your Fridge First

Make a resolution to your refrigerator to shop at home first. How many of us open the door, take a glance, then shut the door and forget about the delicious produce on the back shelf, just waiting to be prepped? Write a reminder to yourself and put it on the front of your refrigerator: “Shop Here First!”

Create a noticeable “Eat First” area inside your fridge with brightly colored tape or washable markers. Commit to two weeks of cooking or eating what you already have at home before buying more. Make sure to check the impact on your wallet, too.

Befriend Your Freezer

One of the best tools that you already have at home is your freezer. Almost any food can be frozen and safely stored for later. Especially if you’re about to take a vacation!

A little prep can go a long way if you freeze in meal-size portions. Remember to keep food airtight, while also leaving room for expanding liquids. Using clear containers and labeling with contents and a date will save you from questionable frozen items that you discover in the future.

Create a Food Inventory

Take a month to inventory your meals, including your shopping list. This is a great exercise and resolution to start off the new year. Use a journal or planner to document your daily meals and your shopping lists, including the costs.

Be mindful about how your diet may change throughout the week. Maybe you’re celebrating a birthday at your friend’s favorite restaurant, out on a date, attending a potluck, or getting a bite to eat at work. You may be surprised at how many times you eat out, or how much you end up spending on snacks rather than a nutritious dinner.

AFC bulk beans and grains

Buy in Bulk

Commit to buying a new staple item in bulk. For packaged goods, not only are you buying the product, but you’re also buying the carton. 

Choose a new loose-leaf tea, spice, grain, flour, oil, legume, or even food for your dog or cat to purchase in bulk. Try out a conditioner, shampoo, or soap in the Wellness department. Bring in a reusable container and measure the tare weight in our Bulk department - then see for yourself how one change in packaging can affect the price.


The benefits of choosing four food waste resolutions are great for your bank account, your refrigerator, your health, and your carbon footprint. Together we can create a more sustainable and abundant lifestyle, and change that 40% of food waste into a zero waste dinner table.

More Co-op News

Rogue Co-ops College Scholarship

As part of the Rogue Co-ops, a group of Rogue Valley cooperative businesses that includes Ashland Food Co-op, Grange Co-op, Medford Food Co-op, and Rogue Credit Union, we're excited to offer a scholarship opportunity to local high school students planning on attending college.

The Rogue Co-ops have collectively funded a $2,000 scholarship (and Grange Co-op offers an additional eight $1,500 scholarships) for students (in public, private or home school settings) who meet the following requirements:

Become an Owner-Volunteer with the AFC Board

The AFC Board of Directors is looking for owner-volunteers for three board committees: the Owner Engagement Committee (OEC), Board Development Committee (BDC), and AFC Gives Committee. 

Sustainability Update: Building on a Strong Foundation

Sustainability Update

Our team has been working on many different projects throughout the year, taking great steps to fulfill our four sustainability goals. Our four goals to achieve by 2030 are: carbon neutrality, zero waste, eliminating toxic chemicals, and being a leader in our sustainable community. We look forward to our sustainable success in the upcoming decade! 

2020: A vision for the future through Co-ops and local food

As the 2010s come to a close, the “20/20” eyesight analogy couldn’t be more appropriate for the new decade. With our eye on the future, there’s clearly a sense of urgency and awareness of the unique times we’re living in: a changing climate, increases in costs of living, and the shared pressures of a globalized world. 

5 Items to Try: Spreads, Condiments & Snacks

It's fun trying new things! Here are five items you can find at the Co-op with a distinctly international flavor. Whether you're spreading them on some bread or naan, mixing up a salad dressing, or just want something salty and crunchy to snack on, try these out next time you want to elevate your dishes.

10 Ways to Enjoy: Ginger Spread

Sometimes you might come across a product at the Co-op and ask, "That looks good, but how in the heck can I use it in my cooking?" To answer that question, we picked this Ginger Spread made by The Ginger People (famous for their Gin-Gin candies). Grab a jar and try some of these unique applications in your own kitchen - or get inspired to utilize it in another way.

Meet Your Board: Melina Barker

Hello, Co-op members! My name is Melina Barker, and I joined the AFC Board of Directors this July. Since then, I have been busy learning about all the work the previous members have done to craft strategic goals to support the success of the AFC.

Melina Barker


Smart Chicken® Holiday Giving in 2019

During the month of November, Co-op shoppers can nourish their own families and help fight hunger in the Rogue Valley.

Over the years, Smart Chicken® and Ashland Food Co-op have teamed up to donate thousands of pounds of chicken to ACCESS. Smart Chicken® will once again donate Smart Chicken® products based on the total volume that shoppers purchase at Ashland Food Co-op to ACCESS.

Henry in the Garden: Already Preparing for the Spring

The bane of all gardeners is powdery mildew - that white substance that collects both on the tops and bottoms of the leaves of your healthiest vegetable plants. Cucumbers and zucchini seem to be more easily affected by this scourge than many others.

GM Report: Gratitude for a Great 2019 at the Co-op

It’s the season of gratitude and reflection on the year that has passed, and there is so much to be thankful for as a Co-op owner. 

2019 started off with the news that over $13,000 in emergency donations had been raised from Co-op owners and shoppers for support and relief efforts after Paradise, CA was leveled by a wildfire. This outpouring of our support was critical in the months after the fire, after the news trucks had left and the work of rebuilding began. I know how grateful we all are for the much calmer smoke season that our region experienced this summer. 

Rounding Up in October

Part of what makes co-ops unique are the guiding 7 Principles of Cooperation. One of the seven that is felt strongly in Ashland is "Concern for the community" - and that's why the Co-op is offering a new way to give back to our community for the month of October. When you pay at the register, you can round up your total to the nearest dollar. For example, $11.68 becomes $12, and $0.32 is donated.

Donations in October will go to the Ashland Food Co-op Community Fund, which funds the Community Grant program (over $29,000 was provided last year to local non-profits).

Fall Staff Picks

Thanks to alpine trails and shaded valley creeks, outdoor recreation is year-round in the Rogue Valley. But fall usually makes for more frisky feet, so we asked Co-op employees for their favorite fall activities and recommendations for what they grab before they head out. 


Applegate products joining Co-op Basics

Just in time for the school year, Applegate products are being added to the Co-op Basics program! The Co-op carries a variety of Applegate products, like sliced deli meat, cheeses, bacon, and sausages. Now as part of the Co-op Basics program, you’ll be saving up to $2 on Applegate products across the store, every day. 

Applegate sandiwhc