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

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!

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.

 

Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen

By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator

Outside of work I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I find it a soothing space to create nourishing meals and lasting memories. I find it essential to be as eco-friendly as possible and a few changes can transform your kitchen into a sustainable center of your home.

Earth Day Bulk Sale! April 17-21

Save money while working towards a more sustainable shopping experience! The Co-op bulk department is a great "first stop" for your grocery lists - everything from hummus mix to local honey to pet food is available. Plus there's less waste, all the way from shipping to ended up in your shopping cart. 

Check out a quick tour below:

Film festival giveaway

Enter your name and email below to be entered to win two film vouchers for the 2019 Ashland Independent Film Festival.

No purchase necessary. Giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by AIFF. US residents only. Entry will be closed at 5pm PT on Monday, April 15.


The state of plastics

Many Co-op owners and shoppers have shared their interest in reducing plastic usage in the store. From bioplastics, to compostable plastics to recycling options, the Ashland Food Co-op continues to research what works best as we move towards our goal of being a zero waste store. Here is where we stand.

Food waste at the Co-op

By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator

How many times in the past month have you reached back in the fridge to snack on some fresh strawberries only to discover… mold?! In the United States, 40% of food is wasted every year. Luckily, how we address food waste can have a major impact. According to Paul Hawkin’s Drawdown, reducing food waste is #3 on the list of best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the Co-op, we use the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy as a guide to bettering our own practices.