The Power of Principle Seven

By Emile Amarotico, General Manager

As we approach the holidays, I’d like to invoke the spirit of the Seventh Cooperative Principle: Concern for Community. The International Cooperative Alliance defines Principle Seven as when “cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.”

So how does that work? How does Ashland Food Co-op demonstrate concern for community?

First and foremost, our high product standards support healthy eating, transparent, clean food systems and a respect for our environment. Our Certified Organic Retailer designation is an indication of the care that we put into how we handle the food we sell from the minute it enters the Co-op’s doors until it leaves to go home with you.

Another big way we show concern for community is through our Community Grants program. This year the Co-op donated over $25,000 in grants to support nonprofits doing great work throughout the Rogue Valley. We helped 32 organizations with a variety of projects that reflects the diversity of our values as a co-op community: from supporting organizations providing bee education to several grassroots snack programs for underserved students in public schools.

2018 Community Grant Recipients
2018 Community Grant Recipients

“So how am I, one owner, a part of all of this? The Co-op’s making these decisions, not me.” When you join the Co-op, you become an owner, and board members and staff members make business decisions on your behalf. This includes which organizations we support and what products to carry over the course of the year. So what’s the owner’s role in all of this? To shop, vote, and provide input. When you shop at the Co-op, you are financially supporting all of the good work that the Co-op is doing in our community and beyond. When you vote, you are helping shape the governing vision of the Co-op—your voice is truly represented. When you provide input, you are letting leadership know what’s important to you, small or big. These types of owner participation are very powerful tools. Imagine the power that would be exerted if everyone who shopped and provided input also voted!

What are some other ways that owners can actively practice “Principle 7: Concern for Community”?

  • Owners can support the following organizations at the register with a donation - Ashland Schools Foundation, ACCESS, Ashland Emergency Food Bank, Red Cross. Simply tell the cashier the organization and amount (year round!).

  • Grab an extra item during your shop and place in the donation bin (a blue recycle bin) for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, located near the exit (year round!).

  • Opt out of using plastic, and purchase reusable produce bags at the Co-op for your fruits and veggies instead.

  • Opt out of paper receipts, and receive them via email instead.

Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

More Co-op News

Co-op Owners Step-Up to Support the Ashland Emergency Food Bank!

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.

Free Monday Night Lectures - virtual and recorded

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. 

 

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.

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.
 

Owner Voting on 2020 Co-op Board & more

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.

A dozen local favorites to explore this summer

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.

Unwavering Spirit in a Time of Change

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.

Staying Sustainable in A Changing World

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?

Democracy and Co-ops

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.

2019 Patronage Dividends are available now


From the Board of Directors:

This year, the Co-op Board of Directors is taking unprecedented action to distribute 100% of the over $628,000 2019 Patronage Dividend to our owners. In this time of great need, there is no holding back. This is not the moment to put away funds for the future, but rather to support our owners fully so that we may all have more strength to weather the storm.

Beans from Scratch

Michelle isn't serving up samples right now, so she's serving up kitchen tips instead! Here's her tried and true approach to cooking dry beans, plus some extra tips for upping your flavor, saving time, and cook other legumes. (Ingredients and modifications are below the video.)

Ingredients

Tips to Stay Safe and Limit Waste

By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator
Inspired by Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home

We are in uncertain times and some of you may be second-guessing some of your zero waste practices and replacing them with safety measures for you and your family. I was proud not to have chemical cleaners in my home and never used plastic gloves - but now those products are being suggested for staying clean and safe. Here are some tips to keep your home safe while working towards more sustainability.

Ashland Food Co-op employees are heroes, worthy of respect and gratitude

Until a crisis like this occurs, few think of Grocers as essential service providers. However, our employees have been here day in and day out, risking their health and the safety of their loved ones, to provide food for our community. This is not a job that can be done from home or from what is now considered a safe social distance. Our employees have worked with the utmost professionalism, care, and concern for shopper well-being.