Owner Benefits: Independence and Connection

By Julie O'Dwyer, Board Secretary, Chair of the Owner Engagement Committee

Fifteen years ago, on an initial house hunting trip, I walked into the Ashland Food Co-op and signed up for a membership. Then last year, in a move across the country, my daughter joined the Bushwick Food Co-op in New York. She grew up knowing that being part of a co-op makes her part of an important and valuable group.  It made me so happy to hear that a co-op membership was part of her transition to independence. Being an owner of a cooperative provides benefits both individually and collectively.

Co-ops provide support not just with the food they provide, but also with economic and social connectivity.

Starting out in a new community, co-ops are one of the best ways to connect to others who share your values, concerns, and efforts to create a better world for all of us. Ashland Food Co-op is often described as the vortex of Ashland. Though might feel overwhelming at times, like when you just need a quick grab-n-go, the Co-op remains an integral part of the fabric of our town. It is a touchstone of our community and where you will always find someone you know.

I have had the honor for the last five years to serve on the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors.

It is in this role that I truly have seen what an immense impact the Co-op has with owners and the greater community, from providing vibrant healthy food to our commitment of being a positive force in our town and beyond.

With our educational lectures and cooking classes, we inform our owners about healthy eating and lifestyle options. The experienced staff shares their knowledge of products that benefit each unique owner request. The social events and gatherings reinforce our values and promote a connectedness. We give back consistently to organizations that are doing good in our community through our Community Grant and donations programs.

As my daughter creates a new life on the East Coast, I’m thrilled she will experience the benefits of being a co-op owner first hand. I look forward to hearing how she connects to her own community through her co-op and the unique stories of their co-op culture, although I doubt anything can rival the fun and eccentric vibe of Ashland Food Co-op’s Courtyard.

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.