Meet Board of Director Dean Williamson

Dean Williamson is a newly elected Ashland Food Co-op Board of Director. He brings to the table a plethora of co-op experience and a love of chocolate chip cookies. We are thrilled to have him aboard and asked him to answer a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My wife and I are relatively new to the area, having relocated to Ashland from Bozeman, MT, where we owned a vegetable farm and where I also worked at Montana State University. Currently, I direct the Farm at SOU, and she is a massage therapist, nutrition guide and wellness guru. I served on the co-op board in Bozeman for 12 years and have also worked at the Boise Co-op, so I am happy to share what I have seen and be helpful in any way I can. I have been a teacher, and will be again in the fall of '18 (sustainable food systems at SOU); I was a creative writing major and have a Ph.D. in Native American literature. I’m left handed and purple is my favorite color. Summer days I like to fill with farms and outdoors-stuff: paddling the rivers or backpacking the mountains. And, I think there is not a single thing that can’t be made better by eating a chocolate chip cookie. 

Why do you want to lead the Co-op?

I am excited to join the Ashland Food Co-op’s Board of Directors. Co-ops, as we know, do business in the best ways, guided by inclusive principles and committed to community, and organizational prosperity. For me, helping support the Ashland Food Co-op is another chance to continue to do my part to create and maintain an honorable, localized, and secure food system. As a farmer, I appreciate the Ashland Food Co-op’s commitment to locally produced food and products. I think it’s important to have a grower-perspective on the board, especially in competitive times such as these. As a former co-op board member, I am excited to offer my experience to the Ashland Food Co-op, as we grapple with the challenges of growth—not merely for the sake of expansion, but to serve the needs of the members and to spread the co-op model—and the food—to more people. As a former co-op employee, I believe a happy, dedicated, caring staff is the foundation for success; that core dedication helps support the vision for future success. The issues facing agriculture and retail grocery are challenging and complex, and so now more than ever, we need a hopeful and supportive way to thrive: the co-op way.

What is the one product from the Co-op you can't live without and why?

I think I already blew my cover on this one: it's the cookie. It's a life-long deal with me--not a problem so much as an opportunity.

More Co-op News

Farm Tour on the Shelves

The Farm Tour shines a spotlight on Southern Oregon - it represents the full range of products grown in the Rogue Valley. The Farm Tour isn't until July 14, but here's a list of tour activities for participating farms that are also on the shelves at the Ashland Food Co-op. Get an early taste of quality local goods!

Planning for Summer... and Smoke

By Emile Amarotico, General Manager

If we are lucky, we’ll only have another seven week smoke intrusion this summer. If we are not, we could be the next Paradise. In less than 13 hours, last November’s Camp Fire wiped out nearly 19,000 structures and more than 80 lives. With community help, we were able to raise over $14,000 to support Chico Natural Foods Co-op’s efforts to feed some of the nearly 20,000 displaced Paradise residents.

The Co-op's "Secret Garden"

Did you know the Co-op employees have a small garden on our campus? Planning and management falls on our fantastic Co-op volunteer: Henry Herting.

Below, Henry shares some background on the garden, what it’s used for, and some additional tales from over the years.

Originally, the need for a kitchen garden arose from having a kitchen classroom in which culinary classes were being held. Visiting chefs have always been invited to use the garden for any ingredients they may have forgotten or items they could use as garnish for their dishes.


Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen

By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator

Outside of work I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I find it a soothing space to create nourishing meals and lasting memories. I find it essential to be as eco-friendly as possible and a few changes can transform your kitchen into a sustainable center of your home.

Earth Day Bulk Sale! April 17-21

Save money while working towards a more sustainable shopping experience! The Co-op bulk department is a great "first stop" for your grocery lists - everything from hummus mix to local honey to pet food is available. Plus there's less waste, all the way from shipping to ended up in your shopping cart. 

Check out a quick tour below:

Film festival giveaway

Enter your name and email below to be entered to win two film vouchers for the 2019 Ashland Independent Film Festival.

No purchase necessary. Giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by AIFF. US residents only. Entry will be closed at 5pm PT on Monday, April 15.

The state of plastics

Many Co-op owners and shoppers have shared their interest in reducing plastic usage in the store. From bioplastics, to compostable plastics to recycling options, the Ashland Food Co-op continues to research what works best as we move towards our goal of being a zero waste store. Here is where we stand.

Food waste at the Co-op

By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator

How many times in the past month have you reached back in the fridge to snack on some fresh strawberries only to discover… mold?! In the United States, 40% of food is wasted every year. Luckily, how we address food waste can have a major impact. According to Paul Hawkin’s Drawdown, reducing food waste is #3 on the list of best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the Co-op, we use the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy as a guide to bettering our own practices.

Wellness Secret Weapons

There are still plenty of colds and viruses making their rounds, and we want to help you better defend against them!

In January, we asked on social media what kind of secret weapons you use in the winter to stay healthy. We had a lot of responses, so we'll start with the All-Stars.

With your initial recommendations, our Wellness team reviewed the suggestions and picked the products with the highest quality standards and best feedback. Check those out below.


Mushrooms for wellness

You may have heard about the fascinating discovery that trees can communicate with each other. What’s the secret? The mycelia - tiny strands of fungus - in the soil form a vast underground network through which trees send chemical signals to their neighbors.

The mycelia differs from the fruiting body of the mushroom, which is the reproductive component that contains spores and is thought to be higher in Beta Glucans.

What to do with all this citrus?!

So you grabbed a few too many extra oranges and grapefruits and lemons (and some finger limes, and some satsumas…), and rather than watch them go bad, we want to provide you with some ideas on how to reduce waste. You’ll also get to enjoy citrus in a lot of new ways!

There are many guides and recipes across the internet (like this one by our friends at Grow Forage Cook Ferment), so here are a few ideas to get your creative and citrus juices flowing.