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

Wellness Secret Weapons

There are still plenty of colds and viruses making their rounds, and we want to help you better defend against them!

In January, we asked on social media what kind of secret weapons you use in the winter to stay healthy. We had a lot of responses, so we'll start with the All-Stars.

With your initial recommendations, our Wellness team reviewed the suggestions and picked the products with the highest quality standards and best feedback. Check those out below.


Mushrooms for wellness

You may have heard about the fascinating discovery that trees can communicate with each other. What’s the secret? The mycelia - tiny strands of fungus - in the soil form a vast underground network through which trees send chemical signals to their neighbors.

The mycelia differs from the fruiting body of the mushroom, which is the reproductive component that contains spores and is thought to be higher in Beta Glucans.

What to do with all this citrus?!

So you grabbed a few too many extra oranges and grapefruits and lemons (and some finger limes, and some satsumas…), and rather than watch them go bad, we want to provide you with some ideas on how to reduce waste. You’ll also get to enjoy citrus in a lot of new ways!

There are many guides and recipes across the internet (like this one by our friends at Grow Forage Cook Ferment), so here are a few ideas to get your creative and citrus juices flowing.

Update from the General Manager: "Food for Paradise" campaign

Ashland Food Co-op's General Manager, Emile Amarotico, ends 2018 on a very uplifting note with a report back on the "Food for Paradise" donation campaign. Watch the video below, or read on for an extended written update.

Hello, this is Emile Amarotico, the general manager of Ashland Food Co-op with an update on the Co-op’s Food for Paradise initiative.

5 Fresh Ways to Save at the Co-op

We’ve all been there: your bank account is looking thin after a month of celebrations, but you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to save up for a big purchase later in the year

Now’s the time to make some changes to your spending - but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality goods at the Ashland Food Co-op.

These are some lesser known ways to save at the Co-op. Think of them like ordering off the secret menu. 

Savings Level: $

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.

Understanding CBD

The world of CBDs is continuing to grow, adding to our already vast assortment of medicine available, and sometimes adding to the questions we have about it. We asked our Wellness team to answer the five most common questions about CBD here at the Ashland Food Co-op.

How is CBD different from what I might find in a dispensary?

Meet Cooking Class Instructor Charlie Douglass

Many talented local chefs share their expertise in the Co-op Kitchen. Charlie Douglass is no exception. As the former Master Chocolatier at Harry and David, Charlie knows a thing or two about chocolate and candy making. 

Tell us how your love of cooking and food began.

Meet Cooking Class Instructor Tiazza Rose

From bread baking to Moroccan cooking, many talented local chefs share their expertise in the Co-op Kitchen. We'd like you to meet a few of them. Tiazza Rose has been teaching the Ashland community the art of Moroccan cooking for years. If you haven't taken a class from Tiazza yet, you should. Here's why.


Tell us how your love of cooking and food began.

Give the Gift of Wellness


Finding the perfect gift for a friend or loved one is an art. This winter, we carefully selected these assortments for those who love some good self-care, are working in partnership with their gut health, or for those making efforts to reduce their pain. Each of these gift ideas will help you make your loved ones feel extra special and extra healthful.


We'll cook. You feast.

Spend more time relaxing with friends and family this holiday. Order the Deli’s ready-to-heat and serve Thanksgiving meal without all the fuss. We make everything from scratch and all recipes use the highest quality ingredients.

Choose from three options: