Co-op Wins Conservation Award

Ashland Food Co-op received the City of Ashland Conservation Commission’s Business Conservationist of the Year award at the annual Rogue Valley Earth Day Celebration in April.

The award recognizes businesses that have demonstrated outstanding conservation and sustainability practices that others are able to duplicate. It also rewards innovation in reducing air or water pollution, reducing energy use or saving natural resources.

Our sustainability coordinator, Stuart Green, just finished our annual report to the Sustainable Food Trade Association containing many of the reasons why AFC was recognized for our efforts. Here are some notable highlights:

• AFC employees sorted waste into more than 20 different categories.

• In 2012 we diverted 81% of our waste volume from the landfill (by weight we diverted 72%).

• 196 metric tons of pre-consumer produce trimmings were diverted to local farm operations. This is equal to nearly 34% of our total waste stream (by weight).

• Since introducing durable grocery bags, paper bag usage is 76% lower, though sales have increased 33% in that time, saving more than 1.25 million paper bags.

• In 2012 AFC purchased 100% renewable electricity for the first time, and also offset 100% of carbon emissions from staff business travel.

• We initiated an in-store GMO audit and revised our Product Standards to reflect our goal to be 100% GMO free.