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.
We are following health guidelines to make the best effort to keep everyone safe in our store by requiring masks while shopping.
Thank you for supporting the health & safety of your neighbors and your Co-op staff.
Hours of operation:
- 7-8am: priority shopping for vulnerable community members.
- Store hours remain 7am-9pm.
- The AFC Kitchen and hot bar closes at 8pm. Co-op owners can order from the kitchen online.
Before entering the store:
- All staff and shoppers in the store must wear a mask or face covering. Free temporary masks are available at the Customer Service Desk.
- Metered entry - During busy periods, Co-op staff may ask you to wait until another shopper has left before entering the store, to allow room to maintain social distancing.
- Please leave reusable bags, containers, and mugs at home. Paper grocery bags and plastic produce bags are available free of charge.
- Sanitizing wipes are available at all cart stations. A portable hand washing station is also available outside of the store.
- Please do not hang out or otherwise loiter in the Co-op courtyard or store.
- The parking ambassador service has been postponed for the time being.
In the store:
- Aisles are one way -
Please follow the "one way" stickers on the store floor to help maintain distance in aisles.
- A no-touch hand sanitizer dispenser is located at the Information Desk and to the right of the exit doors.
- Plastic gloves must be used in the “high-touch” areas throughout our store (bulk department, bulk greens, and fresh mushroom case).
- The Co-op cannot breakdown or re-wrap any meat or seafood that has entered our selling floor. Other special requests can not be accommodated until further notice.
- Bulk nut butters are being individually packaged and stored in the bulk cooler.
- Please help protect cashiers and yourself by bagging your own groceries, if you are able.
- Plexiglass barriers have been installed to help protect cashiers and shoppers where social distancing isn't possible. Thanks to the many shoppers who encouraged this addition.
- You'll find social distancing reminder stickers at checkout stands and throughout the store. Thanks for helping to share your space.
- No outside mugs or containers are permitted.
- All indoor and outdoor seating has been removed.
- The hot bar, salad bar and soup bar are no longer self-service; Co-op employees will help to box your meal to-go.
- Self-serve coffee is no longer available.
- The Co-op has increased the number of items available as “Grab & Go” selections.
Special orders & returns:
- The Co-op cannot accept any special orders until further notice.
- To reduce potential contamination, all sales are final and no returns will be accepted.
Classes, events and sales:
- All classes and events are canceled or postponed until further notice.
- AFC sales flyer and insert will be canceled until further notice. The National Co+op Grocers bi-weekly flyer is available here.
Links to information providing illness prevention steps and facts about COVID-19 can be found below.
Since March 1, staff are receiving a 'hero' differential pay as an acknowledgment of their essential service to the community.
Cloth masks for staff
Led by board member Julie O'Dwyer, a group of Co-op friends worked hard over several days to make two cloth masks for each employee, in accordance with new recommendations from the CDC and OHA.
Thanks to these selfless, thoughtful community members for their contributions to everyone's safety:
Joe Dunbar - 200 masks at a discounted price; Erin McConnell - 45 masks and counting; Erica Thompson - 30 masks; board member Trine Ostergaard - 30 masks; Jenni Presley - 7 masks; Christine Begley - 30 masks.
More Co-op News
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.
I wrote at the beginning of the year that the Co-op model of business was a blueprint for the future. The concept of “planet, principles and people before profit” is a guide for how cooperatives can run a successful business that puts more back into the community and local economy than national chains, while using less resources and creating less waste.
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.
Dear Ashland Food Cooperative Family and Community,
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.
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.
By Nina Friedman, Strategic Energy Management intern
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.
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.
Mark the evening of May 13 at 5pm on your calendar and join us for the 2020 AFC Annual Meeting. We’ll host the meeting online using Google Hangouts. Please click here to join the meeting, or call in at this number:
PIN: 719 680 293 2056#
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.
By Emile Amarotico, General Manager
It’s been two months since my last update on our Co-op community, but it could just as well have been two years ago, or from an alternate reality! Needless to say, life at the Co-op has changed, and it hasn’t been easy for employees or shoppers. But despite the challenges, it has been an inspiring and reaffirming time that reminds us why we love the cooperative enterprise.
By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator
In the midst of a health crisis, how can we focus on sustainability? Let’s be real - these are tough times!
What does sustainability look like now? I like to refer to the definition of sustainability - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. How can we meet the needs of the present, while keeping the future in mind?
By Annie Hoy, Board Director
This month, AFC Owners will democratically elect a slate of board candidates. These candidates are co-op owners, just like you and me. By holding annual elections, co-ops around the world and close to home are expressing Cooperative Principle 2: Democratic Member Control.