What Does Democracy Have to Do with Cooperatives?

By Annie Hoy, Marketing Manager

We often refer to cooperatives as “democratic enterprises.” But what does that really mean? The Ashland Food Co-op, like all other co-ops in most economic sectors, is owned and controlled by the people who use its services.

We talk about how “you own it” but not much about how “you control it.”

You may hear things like, “we vote with our dollars” when it comes to supporting your cooperative. But that gives the idea that as consumers, you only have dollars with which to vote! It is so much more than that. As consumer-owners of AFC, you have your voices to bring to open discussion, deliberation, and consultation about how our co-op moves forward with our mission. And you have your democratic vote when it comes to electing board directors to represent you.

This may be a lofty ideal, but I agree with co-op scholar Michael Healy who says, “As owners of locally controlled businesses, we cooperators are learning how to do the great work of society, and in doing that work for our local community, we can also affect the larger society in which we live.”

Historian and activist Howard Zinn says that democracy is not a series of votes; it is a series of actions.

Notice that democracy is not equated just with voting, but with actively participating and discussing. And that is just the opportunity you’ll have over this new year. As one of the 7 Cooperative Principles, the study of democracy is essential to deepen the relationship between the Co-op and its owners. It’s also a big part of actualizing the global co-op call to “Build a Better World.”

Mark two dates on your calendar now:

More Co-op News

Meet Board of Director Trine Ostergaard

Trine Ostergaard is a newly elected Ashland Food Co-op Board of Director. She brings a world, literally, of experience to the table and has a sincere passion and love for the Co-op. We are thrilled to have her aboard and asked her to answer a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Meet Board of Director Dean Williamson

Dean Williamson is a newly elected Ashland Food Co-op Board of Director. He brings to the table a plethora of co-op experience and a love of chocolate chip cookies. We are thrilled to have him aboard and asked him to answer a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Staff Picks: Favorite Local Products

September is Love Local Month!  All month long we’re celebrating our local farmers and vendors with demos, events and more. Here are some of our staff's favorite local products.

Mike_SpecialtiesDepartment.jpg

Meet Pachamamma Coffee Cooperative

By Lauren Taber, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

Pachamama Coffee Cooperative started in 2001 with a few simple questions in mind: what would it look like to take Fair Trade a step further? How can coffee farmers be in direct relationship with end consumers in the United States?

We found that the answer was even simpler: cooperative ownership. Pachamama Coffee has been 100% farmer-owned since day one, and is currently owned by 140,000 small scale family farmers across the coffee producing regions of the world.

Community Cider Backyard Fruit Drive

How often can you browse the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, see a bottle of hand crafted, local cider and say, “Hey, I help make that!” Well, at the Co-op you can.

2018 Board Election Results

The AFC Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the 2018 Board Election. There were three excellent candidates running for two Board positions. In total, 905 votes were cast.

Congratulations to the following candidates who will serve three-year terms on the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors.

Thank you for voting!

BOD_Election%20Results_E-Blast_800x534-05%20(1).png

 

Beat the Heat

When the heat of summer takes over, it can be hard on our bodies and moods. Don’t let the scorching temps get you down, cool off with one of these refreshing Staff recommendations.
 

Report from the Board of Directors: Strategic Plan Update

By Jeff Golden, External Relations Committee Chair

Ashland Food Co-op is striding into the future with careful intention. We’re especially focused on the three top priorities of our strategic planning process, a collaboration of our board and management team. A quick update:

Riding off into the Sunset

 

By Annie Hoy, Retiring Marketing Manager

Since I was born and raised in far West Texas, I cannot help but use some imagery from what is so familiar to me.

Staff Picks: Summer Hikes and Trail Snacks

Our staff loves to head outside and enjoy the gorgeous Oregon outdoors. Here's a few of their favorite trails and the Co-op snacks they like to take with them.

 

LauraPfister_Marketing%20EDIT.jpg