On the Road to Sustainability

By Laura Pfister, Media Coordinator

Forty six years ago, a group of families formed a buying club to access sustainable, local organic food as an alternative to modern industrial agriculture. This humble foundation of social and environmental responsibility started the Ashland Food Co-op and has shaped every decision we’ve ever made. It’s how, over four decades later, that a small buying club became a 30 million dollar, 17,500 square foot Certified Organic Retailer diverting 82% of their discards from the landfill.

But we wouldn’t be where we are without you. As a community-owned grocer, we aren’t accountable to private investors or distant shareholders — we are accountable to you, our owners and customers. We’re committed to our community and the greater world we share. That’s why we have some big goals.

By 2030, the Ashland Food Co-op will be zero waste and carbon neutral, a living model of cooperation with the laws of nature in all our affairs.

From energy and water conservation to LED light fixture upgrades, every year we make progress with this end goal in mind.

We only use energy from climate-neutral renewable sources, and we only use what we need. We purchase 100% renewable electricity, offset all of our business-travel carbon emissions, and use Water Restoration Certificates to lessen the impact on critically dewatered rivers in our region.


We made significant upgrades to our cooling infrastructure, including the installation of LED lighting in all of the refrigerated cases and new, more efficient cases in our produce and meat departments. In 2016, we expanded our roof-top solar array, adding 150 Solar World panels (made in Oregon!) generating 42kW towards our power needs. We donated the old panels to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and our community partner, True South Solar, installed them free of charge. And just this past Fall we installed a 12 kilowatt system on our storage barn. In total, we now have 54kW of solar.


The road to 2030 will be difficult. But we’re confident that with the support of our community and owners, we can do it. We share a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. And because Southern Oregon has given us so much, we give back in everything we do.

In April, we will be celebrating sustainability and Mother Earth all month long. We invite you to join us at one of the following events.

Zero Waste Hero
Improve your conservation practices with tips and tricks for a zero waste kitchen while enjoying recipes designed to reduce your food waste. Sign up here.

Bear Creek Clean Up: Ashland
The Ashland Food Co-op invites all community members to join us in an effort to keep our Bear Creek clean. This year we are clearing blackberries from Ashland Creek Park to slow their march into Bear Creek. Ashland Parks & Recreation will provide all gloves and gear needed to remove blackberries. Please wear comfortable clothing you don’t mind getting dirty and closed toed shoes. Meet at Ashland Creek Park on Saturday April 21st at 9am. Snacks and coffee will be provided.

Rogue Valley Earth Day
Rogue Valley Earth Day is a joyful, annual event for all ages to learn about environmental stewardship and build community in a fun and inspirational setting. Join us Saturday, April 21st, 11am - 4pm at ScienceWorks.

Co-op Sustainability Tours
Get to know your Co-op a little better on Earth Day. The Ashland Food Co-op is offering 30-minute walking tours of our sustainability efforts from Noon to 2pm on Sunday, April 22nd.

The impact of our efforts to change the world increase when we work together.

You can help us reduce unnecessary waste by taking action in the following ways.

Opt Out of Paper Receipts
Opt out of paper receipts and get them emailed to you instead.

Durable Container Discount
Dine in at the deli and receive 15¢ off for each durable plate or bowl you use. Bring your own cup and receive 15¢ off the cost of your beverage.

Bicycle Benefits
Participate in our Bicycle Benefits program. Pay a one-time $5 fee, receive a sticker for your helmet, bike to the Co-op and save 5% on your shop.

More Co-op News

A Closer Look at Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo has become synonymous with festivities and delicious Mexican cuisine (and who doesn’t love both of those things?). At the Ashland Food Co-op, it's important for us to approach this celebration mindfully and with a cultural understanding.

March Change for Good: KS Wild

As we step into March, we are thrilled to introduce our Change for Good partner – KS Wild, an organization dedicated to preserving the breathtaking landscapes of Southern Oregon. At the heart of our community lies a shared commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, making KS Wild the perfect ally in our ongoing quest for positive change.

What is KS Wild?

February Change for Good Partner: Rogue Climate

As we navigate the challenges posed by climate change, it becomes increasingly vital to support organizations dedicated to creating positive environmental impacts. This February, Ashland Food Co-op proudly introduces Rogue Climate as its Change for Good partner. Join us in supporting their mission to empower Southern Oregon communities most affected by climate change.

January Change for Good: AHS Culinary Arts Program

Hey Co-op community!

As we step into the new year, the Ashland Food Co-op is excited to continue our Change for Good program, and for January 2024, we're shining a spotlight on a program that's close to our hearts (and our stomachs) - the Ashland High School Culinary Arts Program.

November Change for Good: Rogue Food Unites

Say hello to our November Change for Good partner - Rogue Food Unites!

Rogue Food Unites (RFU) uses food to heal individuals and communities during times of crisis. RFU was formed in 2020 out of the dual disasters of the Almeda and Obenchain fires and the impacts of COVID-19 on local communities. Within a short time, RFU began contracting with the State of Oregon to supply hot meals, food boxes, and solidarity cards in Deschutes, Douglas, Klamath, Josephine, and Jackson Counties. 

Meet Nick Hardee, AFC's new GM!

The Co-op Board of Directors and staff are thrilled to welcome Nick Hardee as the new General Manager of the Ashland Food Co-op! We asked Nick to share a little bit about himself so we'll get right to it!

October Change for Good: Center for Non-Profit Legal Services

This October, the Ashland Food Co-op is proud to partner with the Center for Non-Profit Legal Services (CNPLS) for our Change for Good program. All month long, shoppers can round up their purchases to support CNPLS and their mission to provide access to justice.

CNPLS is a non-profit legal aid firm serving low-income and vulnerable community members in Ashland and surrounding areas. Their team of dedicated lawyers and volunteers work to ensure everyone has access to legal help, regardless of their ability to pay.

It's Co-op Month!

OK, you've got us, every month is Co-op Month here at AFC! But every October since 1964, cooperatives of all kinds have celebrated the cooperative difference. Here at the Ashland Food Co-op, we're excited to recognize the history, benefits, and principles behind our own co-op.

September Change for Good: AFC Community Fund

As we enter the beautiful month of September here in Southern Oregon, we're excited to share that our Change for Good partner this month is our very own Community Fund. As many of you know, the Community Fund allows us to support amazing local projects and organizations doing great work right here in Southern Oregon.

August Change for Good - Partnering with ACCESS to Make a Difference!

We are honored to partner with ACCESS this August - a fantastic organization that has been serving our community for over four decades. ACCESS, which stands for "A Community in Action, Connecting, Empowering, and Strengthening Self-Sufficiency," is dedicated to addressing hunger, homelessness, and poverty in Southern Oregon.

Empowering Our Community: AFC's Community Grants Now Accepting Applications

As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the local community, AFC is thrilled to announce the that we are accepting applications for our Community Grants program

Ashland Food Co-op's Community Grants program is designed to foster meaningful change in the Southern Oregon region. Through these grants, we seek to support projects that align with our mission of promoting local and sustainable food systems, addressing food insecurity, and promoting community engagement.