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

Fall Staff Picks

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. 

 

Applegate products joining Co-op Basics

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. 

Applegate sandiwhc

2019 Farm Tour Recap

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
Visitors of all ages enjoying Goodwin Creek Gardens

Top 15 Things to Do in Ashland (When It's Smoky)

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!

AFC Celebrates 20 Years with Magnolia Farms

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.

Compostable Bags

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

Sustainability Update: Energy efficiency and zero waste

Energy Efficiency
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!

Meet the 2019 Board of Directors

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.

How to stay sustainable with paper products

Have you thought about how sustainable your paper home products are? While the use of single-use plastics has (rightfully) been criticized, some products are made to be single-use - like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. With these products, it’s best to examine sustainability by looking at what goes into their production.

Board elections are open!

We are grateful for the engaged community that supports the Ashland Food Co-op. We're a grocery store owned by you (with a few thousand of your friends). But your ownership isn't just coupons and discount; you help shape the future of the Co-op through the election of the Board of Directors.

This year, seven candidates are nominated for four board positions: two will serve a three-year term; one will serve a two-year term; and one will serve a one-year term. Additionally, the current board has proposed three by-law changes for approval.

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.