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.

The choices begin with shopping for your food. It is important to stay organized so you don’t end up over-shopping or purchasing items you already have. This can lead to food waste - the USDA found that Americans on average each waste a pound of food per day. To avoid this, create a list on a chalkboard or white board and take a photo, so you know just what to purchase.

Don’t shop when your hungry. Although all of us have been there and heard this before, we are much more likely to purchase unnecessary items when our tummies are doing the talking.

Leave your reusable tote bags in the car, so you don’t leave them at home. After unloading your goods, run out to the car one more time and throw your bags in the back seat. That way you won't be caught without them next time you hit the market. Some estimates put the average 'lifespan' of a plastic bag at just 12 minutes.

Shop in the bulk and produce departments to avoid packaging and bring your own containers. The beautiful thing about bulk is that it goes far beyond food items: shampoo, dishwashing detergent, pet food and more are available. Because you can bring your own containers to fill, you're skipping the single-use packaging that many products on the shelf come in. 

When shopping for produce, I choose a bag made from recycled plastic bottles available for $0.50 in our produce department. For dry goods, a muslin cloth bag is also available for the same price. For flours and liquids, I bring my own glass jars and bottles.

Shopping for herbs and spices with your own containers is especially advantages as you can save as much as 95% on the goods you buy. Remember: every time you purchase an item in a container, part of the cost is paying for the container itself.

At home some other ways to make your kitchen more sustainable is by growing your own herbs and making your own products. This doesn’t have to be overly time consuming. Herbs, rosemary, oregano and thyme are easy to grow and require minimal time.

Having a stock container in your freezer can significantly reduce your waste and save you money. Most vegetable scraps can be used such as carrot ends, celery and onion. After boiling the stock vegetables you can compost them as long as there is no meat product or oil used.

Replace soft drinks with infused water you make at home. Fill a pitcher with refreshing citrus, mint or cucumber. Not only is this good for your budget, but it's good for your waistline by reducing unnecessary sugar intake.

Another item found commonly in kitchens and easily eliminated is paper towels: it’s easy to sub in some worn out, clean t-shirts and cloth napkins.

And finally, when you're serving dinner, create smaller plates. Those who are hungry can always go back for more, but you will end up throwing out less uneaten food.

The benefits of a zero waste kitchen go beyond the trash compactor. You will find yourself saving money and eating clean. “The zero waste lifestyle is not about complicating your life; it’s about simplifying.” - Bea Johnson.

More Co-op News

Rogue To Go at the Co-op

We are excited to announce the official launch of Rogue To Go at the Ashland Food Co-op!

Rogue To Go is a reusable container pilot program. The pilot connects five participating restaurants by offering a reusable container that can be used for meals to-go and help eliminate single-use boxes. These O2GO containers are made locally in Bend, Oregon by OZZI. The bright green containers are 100% recyclable through a specialty recycler - truly zero waste!

How can you start using Rogue To Go? Check out the steps below and follow along with a walk-through video.

Apply for an AFC Gives community grant

For over 25 years, the Ashland Food Co-op has been re-investing in the local community by awarding grants to non-profit organizations doing important work in the Rogue Valley. Putting the seventh cooperative principle, "concern for community," into action, over $30,000 was donated in 2019 - and in 2020, there are even more opportunities for non-profits.

Click here to apply for a 2020 community grant.

The Co-op is getting a refresh

We are giving our store a much-needed fresh coat of paint. We think you'll enjoy the changes!

When

The painting team will begin our project on February 5th, 2020 with a start time of 9pm.

Where

The entire retail store, deli serving area and interior seating area will receive a fresh new coat of paint.

Timeline

If all goes as planned, our painting project should be finished by February 20.

Will Store Hours Change?

No. We will be painting from 9pm to 5am.

Explore citrus!

Looking to explore some new citrus varieties? Know more before you go! Check out the many types of sweet, sour and somewhere in between that you can enjoy at the Co-op! (Availability may vary due to seasonality.)

Explore citrus varietiesMore citrus varieties

 

Taste for Life winter wellness giveaway

It's a month of giveaways from Taste for Life!

Giveaway #1 has finished up - so it's time for #2! This giveaway runs 1/27-2/2, so sign up below.

This package includes: NOW's Sabucus Zinc-C lozenges, Mushroom Wisdom's SX-Fraction, Bluebonnet's Stress Release formula, ChildLife's First Defense immune formula, Vitafusion's Organic Women's Multi vitamin, Quantum Health's Eye Health supplement, Kyo-Green Sprouts Blend digestion supplement, Solgar's full spectrum Curcumin supplement, and Solgar's No. 7 joint comfort supplement. 

Rogue Co-ops College Scholarship

As part of the Rogue Co-ops, a group of Rogue Valley cooperative businesses that includes Ashland Food Co-op, Grange Co-op, Medford Food Co-op, and Rogue Credit Union, we're excited to offer a scholarship opportunity to local high school students planning on attending college.

The Rogue Co-ops have collectively funded a $2,000 scholarship (and Grange Co-op offers an additional eight $1,500 scholarships) for students (in public, private or home school settings) who meet the following requirements:

Become an Owner-Volunteer with the AFC Board

The AFC Board of Directors is looking for owner-volunteers for three board committees: the Owner Engagement Committee (OEC), Board Development Committee (BDC), and AFC Gives Committee. 

Sustainability Update: Building on a Strong Foundation

Sustainability Update

Our team has been working on many different projects throughout the year, taking great steps to fulfill our four sustainability goals. Our four goals to achieve by 2030 are: carbon neutrality, zero waste, eliminating toxic chemicals, and being a leader in our sustainable community. We look forward to our sustainable success in the upcoming decade! 

2020: A vision for the future through Co-ops and local food

As the 2010s come to a close, the “20/20” eyesight analogy couldn’t be more appropriate for the new decade. With our eye on the future, there’s clearly a sense of urgency and awareness of the unique times we’re living in: a changing climate, increases in costs of living, and the shared pressures of a globalized world. 

5 Items to Try: Spreads, Condiments & Snacks

It's fun trying new things! Here are five items you can find at the Co-op with a distinctly international flavor. Whether you're spreading them on some bread or naan, mixing up a salad dressing, or just want something salty and crunchy to snack on, try these out next time you want to elevate your dishes.

10 Ways to Enjoy: Ginger Spread

Sometimes you might come across a product at the Co-op and ask, "That looks good, but how in the heck can I use it in my cooking?" To answer that question, we picked this Ginger Spread made by The Ginger People (famous for their Gin-Gin candies). Grab a jar and try some of these unique applications in your own kitchen - or get inspired to utilize it in another way.

Meet Your Board: Melina Barker

Hello, Co-op members! My name is Melina Barker, and I joined the AFC Board of Directors this July. Since then, I have been busy learning about all the work the previous members have done to craft strategic goals to support the success of the AFC.

Melina Barker

 

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.