Love Local with the Local Guy

Throughout September, we will be celebrating all things local. And no one loves local or is more local than our Temporary Demo Coordinator, Brighton Litjens. He was basically raised at the Co-op, has a strong passion for local farmers and producers and loves delighting shoppers with delicious samples and great deals. Who better to tell us about loving local than the "Local Guy" himself?

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Happy day! My name is Brighton Summer Litjens. Lots of light in that name huh? Yes, it’s a lot to live up to. I was born at home and sustainably pasture raised here in eccentric Ashlandia. I am 20 years old yet my friends joke that I live like a 58 year old. I am very involved in the local community doing as much as I can to learn, grow and have an absolute blast! I work three different jobs that keep me nice and busy and with all of them I get to educate and share nourishing food with the best people. Joni Mitchell is my favorite artist. (See I AM 58)

Rumor has it you're what they call a "co-op baby." Can you tell us more about that and if it's true?

Well I’m currently not a baby anymore but yes! The Co-op is my stomping ground. It’s my church, community center, education center, and the place where I end up being part of an Om circle around some loose chickens in the courtyard... I have been coming to the Co-op everyday since I was in my BabyBjorn. It was (and is) the only store my mom shopped when I was a kid and instead of going to the park we would come to the Co-op and I would eat yummy snacks, play and be incredibly entertained. My parents actually met here! My dad had a room for rent and posted it on the flyer board; my mom saw it and they met at the juice bar and supposedly “fell in love”. So cute! I am passionate about healthy foods and I thank the Co-op for offering such an abundance of nurturing products. We are so so lucky to have access to amazing produce, wellness items and herbs that better our lives.

In your position, you work a lot with local producers and vendors. What's your favorite part about about working with them?

I absolutely adore working with all of our amazing local vendors in the area. It is such a pleasant experience every time I see and talk with the owners. It is so special to hear their stories and learn about what they create. It’s their art and passion. My favorite part is helping them get their product known and exposed. A lot of the time we are their first account and it’s so rewarding for them to demo their product and interact with customers in the store. Creating, sustaining and nourishing our community is something that we strongly believe in here at the Co-op. It all comes together here.


Tell us about what the Co-op and the Demo Department have planned for Love Local Month in September.

When you come in the store, you can look forward to tasting the local products you love. Come and meet our region's awesome vendors. We put a good amount of local products on a super sale all month long! Here’s some product tastings we have lined up throughout the month: Rogue Creamery, Wilderness Poets, Quady North, Caldera, Dagoba Chocolate, local body care/soap companies and wellness brands as well as wonderful local produce samples happening every week.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three local products/foods with you, what would they be and why?

Oh goodness, that’s a tough one. I would choose the crispy and perfect Barking Moon carrots that we just got in, Blue Lotus Chai Golden Masala tea and Pickled Planet’s I-Boost Sauerkraut. Mmmm… throw me on that dang island, I want to start eating these great treats!


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.