Open letter from AFC Board on Coronavirus Policies
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.
For the protection of everyone, we have required all our staff who are able to wear a face covering. We are now also requiring all shoppers who are able to wear face coverings when they are in the store.
We understand that there are a wide range of opinions and beliefs within our community about whether this is a valuable protection or an unnecessary infringement on personal choices. There are two primary reasons why we have taken this action.
First, we want to afford our staff as much protection as we can. The majority of our 160 employees are working in the store five days per week, eight hours per day. Meanwhile our average shopper is visiting the store once or twice per week for 10 to 30 minutes. We are currently averaging 1,700 shopper visits per day. Other than grocery stores, there are few other settings with this level of personal interaction at this time. While our employees have accepted the need to wear face coverings for the protection of our customers and the store environment, they have little control over what our customers bring into the store. By adopting this policy we are adding one more protection for our staff.
Secondly, we have a large number of customers who don’t feel safe shopping in the store with others who aren’t wearing a face covering and who may unintentionally be spreading the virus. We believe it is a small sacrifice to ask all customers to wear a face covering during their brief time in the store for the sake of others they may be putting at risk. Accordingly we are making masks available at the store entrance, free of charge, for those that need one.
We look forward to the time when we can all shop and engage with each other in the open and unimpeded manner that has always been a part of the Co-op experience!
Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors
Ed Claassen, Julie O’Dwyer, Trine Ostergaard, Charlie Douglas, Melina Barker, Lisa Beam, Annie Hoy, Steve Bowman
More Co-op News
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.
Lisa Shelton, BioIndividual Nutrition Practitioner & Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, put together this recording to discuss nutrition for autism and related conditions including, ADHD, anxiety, and learning disorders as well as strategies for picky eating.
Click here to watch the lecture at your convenience.
The Ashland Food Co-op is dedicated to helping our community and our staff rebuild after the Almeda Fires in early September.
For immediate support, the Co-op gave $1,000 to staff who lost their homes in the fires, as well as $250 for food and other household needs for anyone displaced due to a level 3 evacuation order.
We are thankful for the connection that so many of you have to our staff - you depend on us for recommendations, special requests, and quality customer service; and we depend on you for smiles, kindness, and interactions that brighten our day.
There are some straight-forward and helpful ways to look out for your health when smoke is in the Rogue Valley. Here are a few suggestions:
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!
For the month of September, Ashland Food Co-op shoppers can round up at the register to support Southern Oregon Land Conservancy. Since 1973, SOLC has been working on multiple fronts to improve land quality and conservation for humans and nature alike. Check out some of the projects below that SOLC has been working on recently. And mark your calendar for Saturday, October 24, as SOLC hosts an Open Lands Day hike and tour on the Rogue River Preserve.
Join Kelly Martin as she explains how your breath impacts everything from ankle sprains to headaches. Learn why belly breathing isn't good for you, how to breathe correctly, and how to maximize lung health, improve posture, enhance walking efficiency, reduce anxiety, and improve sports performance.
Zoom access password: [email protected]