Sustainable Ashland Food Co-op: You are the key!

By Steve Bowman, AFC Board Director

Sustaining our Co-op

Our Ashland Food Co-op has been around for a long time now: as a buying group since 1972, as as a legally sanctioned food co-op since 2003. During that time it has become the premier place in our community for obtaining organic and natural foods and environmentally safe products for our family’s needs. People come here to shop, to have coffee, tea and visit with their friends, and just hang out for a few minutes during a busy day. But it didn’t get that way just by being here. It happened because of careful planning and management, and a lot of hard work by a lot of caring and committed people. Working to implement Co-op Principals "5 - Education, Training and Information" and "7 - Concern and the Community," the ambiance of our Co-op came into being.

Sustaining our Community

Over the last year our Co-op provided over 100 events, classes and participated in community activities adding to the sustainability of our local community. Cooking classes, loaded with information about how to prepare and serve nutritious food, free lectures on health and wellness, and participating with organizations like Rogue Valley Farm to School. The Co-op also reinvests a portion of profits in the community through our Community Grants program. All these activities are aimed at sustaining and growing our local community.

Sustaining our World

Our Co-op is modeling excellence in business responsibility and providing leadership in sustaining our environment. In 2018, more than 82% of our waste was redirected from the landfill to more beneficial uses. Our solar power arrays provided over 12% of our energy requirements, and our remaining needs were purchased from 100% renewable sources. Produce that was not marketable was redirected for use in the deli, or to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, and food scraps were passed on to a local farmer for animal fodder. Our durable container program in the deli resulted in over 90,000 fewer single-use containers going to the landfill. These actions and many more are improving our impact on our local environment, and our world’s environment.

Our Ashland Food Co-op is working hard to sustain itself as a business, as a community member, and as a leadership model for responsible sustainable business actions in our community's future. Your ownership and participation in our Co-op model is key to our continued success.

Thank you!

More Co-op News

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.

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.

The state of plastics

Many Co-op owners and shoppers have shared their interest in reducing plastic usage in the store. From bioplastics, to compostable plastics to recycling options, the Ashland Food Co-op continues to research what works best as we move towards our goal of being a zero waste store. Here is where we stand.

Food waste at the Co-op

By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator

How many times in the past month have you reached back in the fridge to snack on some fresh strawberries only to discover… mold?! In the United States, 40% of food is wasted every year. Luckily, how we address food waste can have a major impact. According to Paul Hawkin’s Drawdown, reducing food waste is #3 on the list of best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the Co-op, we use the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy as a guide to bettering our own practices.

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.