October Change for Good Partner: AFC Gives Community Fund
October's Change for Good Partner is
AFC Gives is the philanthropic arm of the Ashland Food Co-op. Nothing means more to us than contributing to the health and strength of our community. To build upon this mission we have developed two funding programs to support the good work that is happening in our community:
Change for Good and Community Grants.
Our Community Grants program has given back to our local nonprofits’ projects for more than two decades, supporting grassroots programs, giving support for small projects, and having funds on hand to respond to emergency issues in our region.
Each year, the Ashland Food Co-op's Board of Directors designates a small percentage of sales from the previous year to fund AFC's Community Grants program. As you shop during the month of October, we invite you to round up your bill to add to the pool AFC Gives will donate next year to fund worthy projects in our community.
These funds support local projects that align with our vision of enhancing health and enriching the community while promoting our mission to provide education about food, nutrition, and health. These local organizations are the heartbeat of our community, and we are proud to contribute these grants to assist in funding projects that are either already in the works or ready to get funded.
In 2020, we proudly donated over $24,000 to 27 area nonprofit organizations doing excellent work within our community.
Organizations' Projects funded by 2020 Community Grants:
Applegate Neighborhood Network
“The funding provided by the Ashland Food Coop Gives Grant Program was utilized by Applegate Neighborhood Network to purchase nursery stock from Applegate Valley based native plant nursery and seed company, Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds. A small group of volunteers worked within existing COVID 19 restrictions to facilitate the planting of 257 native flowering plants (14 separate species) and the seeding of 15 native species beneficial to native pollinators in the Applegate River watershed. The funding from AFC was utilized to buy native nursery stock and the native seed was donated by Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds. The planting took place on November 19, 2020.”
Armadillo Technical Institute
Culture of Peace Commissions
Ashland Supportive Housing and Community Outreach
“The Regenerative Bee Pasture project aims to develop a data-driven low maintenance, nutrient-dense, and inexpensive flower-rich pasture system for pasture managers to create an environmentally and economically improved landscape for livestock and bees.”
“Despite the pandemic, Bellview Grange was able to complete soil preparation, fencing, and move two inappropriate volunteer pine trees from the site of the small Food Forest at Bellview Grange, between the Grange Hall and Bellview Elementary School. Although we were not able to complete the outreach to schools and homeowners associations as planned, Grange members participated in the development of Southern Oregon Food Solutions' food waste reduction brochure , and maintained liaison with Emerging Futures Network and the regional Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District, in preparation for continuing the planned food forest, rain garden and bio-swale areas around the Grange Hall, once it is safe to meet in person.”
Cave Junction Farmers' Market
“Our AFC Gives grant helped to provide sustainable farming "take home" projects for our Cultivate Kids Program. We were able to provide 26 different projects, from "growing your own pickles" (providing free plants, instructions for growing and pickle recipes) to "planting for pollinators" and materials to make a flower press, and provided enough materials for 30 kids each week over the course of the market season.”
“When COVID-19 shut down schools, emptied grocery store shelves and sparked a nation-wide run on seeds, Cultivate Oregon saw an emerging need and adapted to help provide seeds for the growing season. Through Cultivate Oregon's program, Seeds to the People, we sent reclaimed and donated seeds to over 50 families across Oregon who were food insecure, and in need. Ashland Food Coop funding was the primary reason we were able to launch and run this program (quickly) so that families were mailed seeds to help them grow their own food, and increase their food security into the future.”
Raptor Creek Farm operated by The Josephine County Food Bank
“The AFC grant allowed us to purchase mulch and compost for the 16 raised bed and each bed is freshly filled, ready for the growing season. It had been 5 years since the last time the beds had been filled. An AmeriCorps team joined us this season and pulled out the weeds around the fence and now 4" of bark mulch surrounds each bed. Members of the community garden are thrilled.”
Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon
Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland and Options for Helping Residents of Ashland
“The AFC grant helped us purchase essential items and services for unhoused and other people impacted by the pandemic. Examples include birth certificates or ID cards, documents needed for work such as a state issued food handlers card or specific tools needed for employment or clothing like non-slip shoes.”
Outdoor Discovery Program Parent Advisory Committee (ODP PAC)
Phoenix Counseling Center, Inc.
Siskiyou Mountain Club
“We used funds for paying field staff who were working on the Rogue River Trail. They were leading interns to reduce erosion and maintain vegetation on the rugged slopes of this popular National Recreation Trail. They were able to restore approximately 10 miles of the trail.”
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now - SOCAN
Southern Oregon University Foundation
St. Vincent de Paul
“Our AFC grant enabled us to assist those who called on us in three ways: helping people into housing by assisting with rental deposits; helping those in need stay housed by assisting with rent payments (especially important during this pandemic when so many service workers have been unemployed); and assisting needy families with utility payments during these cold winter months.”
Vesper Meadow Education Program
“Support from AFC went towards establishing our Native Food Plant Program through (1) the engagement with youth for education about native plants, (2) volunteer stewardship activities with members of the local public, and (3) initial partnership development with Tribes of record in SW Oregon. Thank you AFC!”
Medford School District Armadillo
The Parker House Project
“HIV Alliance used Ashland Food Co-Op funds to purchase nutritious food (e.g., holiday dinners, food bags) for approximately 30 Jackson County clients living with HIV who are unhoused and living on low incomes. This assistance was urgently needed and so helpful for our clients during COVID-19, when they have experienced increased barriers to services and other serious challenges that affect their ability to meet basic nutrition needs.”
White Oak Farm & Education Center
Ashland Community Hospital Foundation
Ashland Emergency Food Bank
“The Ashland Emergency Food Bank was able to provide a complete basket of healthy food to struggling families & individuals in our area. We served 1600 people per month at the Food Bank. Funding from the Ashland Food Co-op helped to feed the food-insecure in our community, including victims of the fire and those affected by the pandemic’s consequences.”
Helman Elementary School PTA
“The 2020-2021 school year has been unlike any other. With the pandemic, distance learning, and the first-day-of-school wildfire, we had a lot of families experiencing terrible emotional and financial stress. Helman Elementary School's PTA has provided weekend food backpacks for as many as 17 different households every Friday throughout the school year and we could not have done it without the support of the $1,000 AFC Gives grant we received. Thank you so much for your support of these families and for recognizing that healthy food equals healthy communities!”
Southern Oregon ESD - Migrant Education Program
The AFC Gives committee focuses on ways that the Co-op community can support local organizations and groups doing important work in the Rogue Valley.
2020 was the first year of Change for Good, a register round-up program to benefit a slate of ten organizations, voted on by Co-op owners, through the cumulative donations of shoppers choosing to round-up their shopping total to the nearest dollar.
From one cent to 99 cents, it all adds up to feeling good about supporting the community.
More Co-op News
Katie Falkenberg's photography and filmmaking has taken her all over the world, and lucky for us - she's been calling the Rogue Valley home for a couple years now. Exquisitely and harmoniously capturing the world around her, she is documenting not only through the lens but also through her peaceful and loving spirit. Katie reached out to us in hopes of collaborating after falling in love with the co-op soon after moving here.
March's Change for Good Recipient is
a division of Ashland Parks and Recreation, that encompasses demonstration gardens, a nature playground, and approximately 14 acres of Natural Area that is managed for wildlife preservation and public education.
February's Change for Good Recipient is
Since 2005, Rogue Valley Mentoring (formerly the Rose Circle Mentoring Network) has trained over 500 adults who have mentored over 2,000 youth in our valley; letting young people know that they are not alone. A caring and compassionate ear shows them that they matter, and they they are experts of their own experience.
Update as of August 13th, 2021: Oregon Health Authority requires face coverings to be worn in all public indoor settings in response to a large jump in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of the virus. We require face coverings to be worn by all shoppers, employees, vendors, contractors, and other visitors. Designated Priority Shopping hour resumes for vulnerable community members from 7:00 am to 8:00 am daily. Our eGrocery curbside pick-up program resumes on our website on Friday for pick-up on Monday, August 16th with a $10 service charge.
As coronavirus cases increase in Jackson County, the Co-op is taking extra precautions to protect shoppers and employees.
To ensure social distancing in the store, the number of persons allowed in the store at once has been reduced to 50% capacity. Understandably, this may lead to a short wait outside of the store, but please be assured the line moves quickly.
In order to keep the wait as short as possible, here are a few steps you can take to help out:
By Allan Weisbard L.C.S.W.
Since 1963, autumn has been a difficult time for me. Two months shy of my 13th birthday I lost my younger brother to cancer, then shortly afterwards, President Kennedy was assassinated.
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. As of November 11, 2020, face shields will not be permitted unless worn with a mask.
By Annie Hoy, Board Secretary and Chair of Owner Engagement Committee
Food Co-ops around the nation proudly display signage saying EVERYONE WELCOME. Or they use the slogan, “Anyone can shop. Anyone can join.” But are food co-ops, and other cooperative businesses, walking the walk?
It’s probably already cliche to say “it’s been one heck of a year.” There have been challenges a-plenty for all of us, whether we’re working or shopping at the Co-op - but I’m so proud of how all of us have persevered.
Hi there. I hope this finds you well. It’s me, Nina Friedman, Strategic Energy Management (SEM) intern for the Ashland Food Co-op. The global and local crises have only devolved into further chaos since we last spoke. As we sit with the reality of coworkers, neighbors, and friends who’ve lost their homes and businesses to the recent fires, and thousands more across the nation losing their loved ones to COVID-19, I imagine many are feeling frozen and powerless to help those that are suffering.
Use your SNAP EBT benefits for all Co-op Kitchen items through November 20th, 2020!
Recognizing the difficulties in food preparation for families who lost their homes in the local wildfires, the State of Oregon has expanded SNAP benefits to be used for hot foods, like made-to-order and hot bar meals from the Co-op Kitchen, through November 20.
And starting on November 16, you can get an early taste of Thanksgiving as the Co-op Kitchen hot bar rolls out the full Thanksgiving spread.
We acknowledge that the Ashland Food Co-op has not had a culture where all employees and community members felt safe sharing their experiences of discrimination in our store. We apologize for this. We are on a learning journey. We have reached out for help, and are listening to our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) employees and owners who want to be part of the positive change we seek.
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From day one of the Almeda Fires, the Co-op team wanted to help the community. They reached out to vendors across the region and country to ask for their help with products, supplies and food to get to the fire victims.
And that help came through in big ways, getting nutritious food to displaced families, home supplies in high demand, and wellness and food for first responders and firefighters. Thank you for supporting these businesses as thanks for their help in our community's relief efforts.
October is typically Co-op month, to highlight how differently cooperatives do business. But instead of talking about the 7 Cooperative Principles, or the ownership benefits of being part of the Co-op, we only need to look at the past four weeks to see what being a cooperative really means.
As part of the co-op family, you've helped the entire community immensely.