4 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

It’s the New Year, our favorite time for goal-setting, making positive resolutions, and shifting our impact. One of the Co-op’s goals is to become a Zero Waste facility. Our staff works to divert as much food waste as we can - and we hope our member-owners will join us in this goal too.

According to the National Resource Defense Council, the average American household of four is throwing away $120 each month in the form of uneaten food. And each one of us - consumers - are the largest source of food waste, more than grocery stores and restaurants combined. But there's good news: we can do something about it.

Shop Your Fridge First

Make a resolution to your refrigerator to shop at home first. How many of us open the door, take a glance, then shut the door and forget about the delicious produce on the back shelf, just waiting to be prepped? Write a reminder to yourself and put it on the front of your refrigerator: “Shop Here First!”

Create a noticeable “Eat First” area inside your fridge with brightly colored tape or washable markers. Commit to two weeks of cooking or eating what you already have at home before buying more. Make sure to check the impact on your wallet, too.

Befriend Your Freezer

One of the best tools that you already have at home is your freezer. Almost any food can be frozen and safely stored for later. Especially if you’re about to take a vacation!

A little prep can go a long way if you freeze in meal-size portions. Remember to keep food airtight, while also leaving room for expanding liquids. Using clear containers and labeling with contents and a date will save you from questionable frozen items that you discover in the future.

Create a Food Inventory

Take a month to inventory your meals, including your shopping list. This is a great exercise and resolution to start off the new year. Use a journal or planner to document your daily meals and your shopping lists, including the costs.

Be mindful about how your diet may change throughout the week. Maybe you’re celebrating a birthday at your friend’s favorite restaurant, out on a date, attending a potluck, or getting a bite to eat at work. You may be surprised at how many times you eat out, or how much you end up spending on snacks rather than a nutritious dinner.

AFC bulk beans and grains

Buy in Bulk

Commit to buying a new staple item in bulk. For packaged goods, not only are you buying the product, but you’re also buying the carton. 

Choose a new loose-leaf tea, spice, grain, flour, oil, legume, or even food for your dog or cat to purchase in bulk. Try out a conditioner, shampoo, or soap in the Wellness department. Bring in a reusable container and measure the tare weight in our Bulk department - then see for yourself how one change in packaging can affect the price.


The benefits of choosing four food waste resolutions are great for your bank account, your refrigerator, your health, and your carbon footprint. Together we can create a more sustainable and abundant lifestyle, and change that 40% of food waste into a zero waste dinner table.

More Co-op News

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

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!

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.

Board elections are open!

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.

Farm Tour on the Shelves

The Farm Tour shines a spotlight on Southern Oregon - it represents the full range of products grown in the Rogue Valley. The Farm Tour isn't until July 14, but here's a list of tour activities for participating farms that are also on the shelves at the Ashland Food Co-op. Get an early taste of quality local goods!

Planning for Summer... and Smoke

By Emile Amarotico, General Manager

If we are lucky, we’ll only have another seven week smoke intrusion this summer. If we are not, we could be the next Paradise. In less than 13 hours, last November’s Camp Fire wiped out nearly 19,000 structures and more than 80 lives. With community help, we were able to raise over $14,000 to support Chico Natural Foods Co-op’s efforts to feed some of the nearly 20,000 displaced Paradise residents.

The Co-op's "Secret Garden"

Did you know the Co-op employees have a small garden on our campus? Planning and management falls on our fantastic Co-op volunteer: Henry Herting.

Below, Henry shares some background on the garden, what it’s used for, and some additional tales from over the years.

Originally, the need for a kitchen garden arose from having a kitchen classroom in which culinary classes were being held. Visiting chefs have always been invited to use the garden for any ingredients they may have forgotten or items they could use as garnish for their dishes.


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.

Earth Day Bulk Sale! April 17-21

Save money while working towards a more sustainable shopping experience! The Co-op bulk department is a great "first stop" for your grocery lists - everything from hummus mix to local honey to pet food is available. Plus there's less waste, all the way from shipping to ended up in your shopping cart. 

Check out a quick tour below:

Film festival giveaway

Enter your name and email below to be entered to win two film vouchers for the 2019 Ashland Independent Film Festival.

No purchase necessary. Giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by AIFF. US residents only. Entry will be closed at 5pm PT on Monday, April 15.