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

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

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

Top 15 Things to Do in Ashland (When It's Smoky)

Ashland is a paradise for the outdoors - but sometimes Mother Nature has different plans for us.

When smoke from wildfires becomes an issue, there are still plenty of great activities to enjoy around our wonderful town. Check out this list for some inspiration!

AFC Celebrates 20 Years with Magnolia Farms

This year, the Ashland Food Co-op proudly celebrates their 20 year partnership with Magnolia Farms. Their pasture raised, no antibiotics, no hormones lamb is a staple in the Co-op Meat Department. Magnolia Farms is graciously donating the lamb for our August First Friday in celebration of our long standing partnership.

Compostable Bags

The Co-op has been asked if compostable plastic bags are a viable alternative to the standard plastic bags offered in the produce and meat departments. 

For several reasons, compostable bags are not in line with the Co-op’s goals and standards. 

Not compostable at home

Sustainability Update: Energy efficiency and zero waste

Energy Efficiency
We are happy to announce that we are a member of the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management program. This is a free program available to customers of Avista and Pacific Power, which offers awesome incentives including a paid internship!

Community Grant Recipients 2019

The Ashland Food Co-op donated over $29,000 to 28 local nonprofit organizations through their Community Grant Program.

The Community Grant program is the focus of one of the fundamental Cooperative Principles, which all cooperative enterprises follow. Our Community Grant Program supports Principle 7, Concern for Community.

Meet the 2019 Board of Directors

Congratulations to Annie Hoy, Melina Barker, Lisa Beam, and Steve Bowman for their election to the Board of Directors! We were delighted to have such a strong slate of candidates to fill our four vacancies. You can read more about each new director here.

How to stay sustainable with paper products

Have you thought about how sustainable your paper home products are? While the use of single-use plastics has (rightfully) been criticized, some products are made to be single-use - like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. With these products, it’s best to examine sustainability by looking at what goes into their production.

Board elections are open!

We are grateful for the engaged community that supports the Ashland Food Co-op. We're a grocery store owned by you (with a few thousand of your friends). But your ownership isn't just coupons and discount; you help shape the future of the Co-op through the election of the Board of Directors.

This year, seven candidates are nominated for four board positions: two will serve a three-year term; one will serve a two-year term; and one will serve a one-year term. Additionally, the current board has proposed three by-law changes for approval.