Sustainable Ashland Food Co-op: You are the key!
By Steve Bowman, AFC Board Director
Sustaining our Co-op
Our Ashland Food Co-op has been around for a long time now: as a buying group since 1972, as as a legally sanctioned food co-op since 2003. During that time it has become the premier place in our community for obtaining organic and natural foods and environmentally safe products for our family’s needs. People come here to shop, to have coffee, tea and visit with their friends, and just hang out for a few minutes during a busy day. But it didn’t get that way just by being here. It happened because of careful planning and management, and a lot of hard work by a lot of caring and committed people. Working to implement Co-op Principals "5 - Education, Training and Information" and "7 - Concern and the Community," the ambiance of our Co-op came into being.
Sustaining our Community
Over the last year our Co-op provided over 100 events, classes and participated in community activities adding to the sustainability of our local community. Cooking classes, loaded with information about how to prepare and serve nutritious food, free lectures on health and wellness, and participating with organizations like Rogue Valley Farm to School. The Co-op also reinvests a portion of profits in the community through our Community Grants program. All these activities are aimed at sustaining and growing our local community.
Sustaining our World
Our Co-op is modeling excellence in business responsibility and providing leadership in sustaining our environment. In 2018, more than 82% of our waste was redirected from the landfill to more beneficial uses. Our solar power arrays provided over 12% of our energy requirements, and our remaining needs were purchased from 100% renewable sources. Produce that was not marketable was redirected for use in the deli, or to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, and food scraps were passed on to a local farmer for animal fodder. Our durable container program in the deli resulted in over 90,000 fewer single-use containers going to the landfill. These actions and many more are improving our impact on our local environment, and our world’s environment.
Our Ashland Food Co-op is working hard to sustain itself as a business, as a community member, and as a leadership model for responsible sustainable business actions in our community's future. Your ownership and participation in our Co-op model is key to our continued success.
More Co-op News
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
The AFC juice bar has several fresh, organic juices that help with lung support. Here are a few suggestions:
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.