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
“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
This month's featured organization in the new Change for Good register round-up program is KS Wild (short for Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center).
KS Wild is one of the most prominent land conservation and stewardship organizations in the region. They focus on the Klamath-Siskiyou region, which includes large swaths of Southern Oregon and Northern California (inculding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument). This bioregion is one of the most diverse in the country, home to populations of wolves, rare plants and unique geographic formations.
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.
The sixth cooperative principle, "Concern for Community," has become even more important since the pandemic began and economies, locally and globally, started to constrict. To address this, the Board of Directors agreed in April to release 100% of patronage dividends and designate Ashland Emergency Food Bank as a donation option for those dividends - resulting in over $20,000 in donations. And with the early launch of Change for Good register round-up, AEFB was a natural choice to receive round-up donations.
I wrote at the beginning of the year that the Co-op model of business was a blueprint for the future. The concept of “planet, principles and people before profit” is a guide for how cooperatives can run a successful business that puts more back into the community and local economy than national chains, while using less resources and creating less waste.
2020 Co-op Election Results
Ashland Food Co-op owners voted for three open seats on the Board of Directors, and for ten non-profit organizations for the Change for Good register round-up program.
Click a name below to read more about that Co-op Board member.
Dear Ashland Food Cooperative Family and Community,
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.
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.
By Nina Friedman, Strategic Energy Management intern
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.
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.
Mark the evening of May 13 at 5pm on your calendar and join us for the 2020 AFC Annual Meeting. We’ll host the meeting online using Google Hangouts. Please click here to join the meeting, or call in at this number:
PIN: 719 680 293 2056#
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.
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.