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.
If we are really lucky, we’ll have a relatively smoke free summer with no loss of lives or structures. But at some point, a summer 2018 redux seems inevitable. Based on our experience last summer, with smoke-induced curtailments in local and visitor traffic alike, we need to be more responsive in promoting relevant services. Maybe you caught our sales flyer caption last August proclaiming “Summer Grillin’ Savings”? While this is a longstanding summer promotion, it was way out of sync with anyone’s interest at the time!
This March we were much more responsive to community needs during a days-long natural gas outage. We doubled down on our Deli food service despite Herculean efforts required to prepare food and maintain sanitary standards without gas appliances. We saw a sharp rise in Deli patronage while serving many of our community who were unable to prepare hot foods at home.
In the event of future smoke events we’ll strive to provide a clean-air environment for our owners, staff, and community, while continuing to provide access to relevant products and services. We’ll do all that we can to educate and share resources to support our community during a smoke event. We are committed to developing and providing alternative means of access to our products and services for those at risk during a smoke event. As an integral community member, Ashland Food Co-op will continue to refine and enhance our community support during a smoke incident or any other natural or man-made disaster.
More Co-op News
During the month of November, Co-op shoppers can nourish their own families and help fight hunger in the Rogue Valley.
Over the years, Smart Chicken® and Ashland Food Co-op have teamed up to donate thousands of pounds of chicken to ACCESS. Smart Chicken® will once again donate Smart Chicken® products based on the total volume that shoppers purchase at Ashland Food Co-op to ACCESS.
The bane of all gardeners is powdery mildew - that white substance that collects both on the tops and bottoms of the leaves of your healthiest vegetable plants. Cucumbers and zucchini seem to be more easily affected by this scourge than many others.
It’s the season of gratitude and reflection on the year that has passed, and there is so much to be thankful for as a Co-op owner.
2019 started off with the news that over $13,000 in emergency donations had been raised from Co-op owners and shoppers for support and relief efforts after Paradise, CA was leveled by a wildfire. This outpouring of our support was critical in the months after the fire, after the news trucks had left and the work of rebuilding began. I know how grateful we all are for the much calmer smoke season that our region experienced this summer.
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).
We're celebrating Co-op Month in October by highlighting products at the Ashland Food Co-op that are made by other co-ops.
That's one of the seven cooperative principles - Cooperation among Cooperatives - that you'll find being practiced at the Co-op everyday.
You can win a selection of those co-op products by entering your name and email below.
Entries will close on October 24, and a winner will be contacted on October 25 via the email address provided.
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.
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.
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
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!
The AFC juice bar has several fresh, organic juices that help with lung support. Here are a few suggestions:
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.
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
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!
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.
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.