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!

The Co-op has partnered with other organizations including Standing Stone Brewery, the City of Talent, Rogue Community College, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many more to reduce our commercial natural gas usage and focus on energy conservation. Together, we are the Southern Oregon Cohort! 

We are welcoming Nina Friedman as our new Strategic Energy Management Intern, and are working on an Energy Policy and Action Plan.

Zero Waste
Last fall, we introduced two reusable bag options for customers. We also removed four plastic bag stands from the Produce department. We have two great options: a white bag made from recycled plastics, or a cotton bag. Each bag costs only 25 cents!

Our cotton bags come from an amazing company in India called Royal Jute. One hundred percent of the profits from Royal Jute go directly to Kiva, a non-profit that funds small business loans to women all over the world. With each cotton bag that you purchase, you are making a real impact on the lives of women worldwide. Not to mention, reducing plastic!

This month, we are focusing on a take-back program with the Seattle Tacoma Box company. A lot of our produce comes in big plastic boxes that say they are “100% recyclable”. Unfortunately they are not recyclable in our region, and usually end up in the landfill. Luckily, there is a way to return and recycle these boxes by transport up to Salem. Through take-back programs like this, we can take bigger steps toward our Zero-Waste goal. 

We are also beginning a store-wide waste audit - starting with the Deli! With the help of Recology, we will look deep into the realms of our trash bags… and see how we can get better at diverting recycling and reducing our waste.

If you would like to hear more about our sustainability initiatives, contact Rianna at [email protected].

More Co-op News

Smart Chicken® Holiday Giving in 2019

During the month of November, Co-op shoppers can nourish their own families and help fight hunger in the Rogue Valley.

Over the years, Smart Chicken® and Ashland Food Co-op have teamed up to donate thousands of pounds of chicken to ACCESS. Smart Chicken® will once again donate Smart Chicken® products based on the total volume that shoppers purchase at Ashland Food Co-op to ACCESS.

Henry in the Garden: Already Preparing for the Spring

The bane of all gardeners is powdery mildew - that white substance that collects both on the tops and bottoms of the leaves of your healthiest vegetable plants. Cucumbers and zucchini seem to be more easily affected by this scourge than many others.

GM Report: Gratitude for a Great 2019 at the Co-op

It’s the season of gratitude and reflection on the year that has passed, and there is so much to be thankful for as a Co-op owner. 

2019 started off with the news that over $13,000 in emergency donations had been raised from Co-op owners and shoppers for support and relief efforts after Paradise, CA was leveled by a wildfire. This outpouring of our support was critical in the months after the fire, after the news trucks had left and the work of rebuilding began. I know how grateful we all are for the much calmer smoke season that our region experienced this summer. 

Rounding Up in October

Part of what makes co-ops unique are the guiding 7 Principles of Cooperation. One of the seven that is felt strongly in Ashland is "Concern for the community" - and that's why the Co-op is offering a new way to give back to our community for the month of October. When you pay at the register, you can round up your total to the nearest dollar. For example, $11.68 becomes $12, and $0.32 is donated.

Donations in October will go to the Ashland Food Co-op Community Fund, which funds the Community Grant program (over $29,000 was provided last year to local non-profits).

Win a gift basket featuring products made by co-ops

We're celebrating Co-op Month in October by highlighting products at the Ashland Food Co-op that are made by other co-ops.

That's one of the seven cooperative principles - Cooperation among Cooperatives - that you'll find being practiced at the Co-op everyday. 

You can win a selection of those co-op products by entering your name and email below.

Entries will close on October 24, and a winner will be contacted on October 25 via the email address provided.

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

Community Grant Recipients 2019

The Ashland Food Co-op donated over $29,000 to 28 local nonprofit organizations through their Community Grant Program.

The Community Grant program is the focus of one of the fundamental Cooperative Principles, which all cooperative enterprises follow. Our Community Grant Program supports Principle 7, Concern for Community.

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.