All trips took place on Monday, September 14, 2015.
The Hands that Feed Us: Food Service & Farmworker Labor Issues
Oregon has one of the largest agricultural workforces in the country; led by over 35,000 hard-working farmworkers, some of whom migrate seasonally to other parts of the country when other crops are ready for harvest. Portland, Oregon is a cultural destination for foodie enthusiasts from all over the world and relies heavily on food service labor in cafes, restaurants, and large institutions.
During this tour, participants will learn about food service and farmworker labor issues in Oregon, programs and efforts to improve workplace and community conditions for these food supply actors. Representatives from Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW) Portland Chapter and UNITE HERE unions will share their organizations’ efforts to raise up labor rights issues during a morning panel discussion.
Later we will head to Woodburn, OR, a suburban community home to many farmworker families. We’ll tour a farmworker housing development and labor camp to hear from state partners and advocacy organizations working with the agricultural industry to improve working conditions for farmworkers.
Hood River Food System Tour
Head east to the land of waterfalls and fruit trees. The Hood River Valley is one of the world’s premiere pear-growing regions. But the fruit is destined for export markets, while the valley itself tangles with issues of poverty, self-sufficiency, and economy. This tour will explore the ways that service agencies and food banks are partnering with farmers, local food non-profits, hospitals and farmers’ markets, to address the underlying causes of hunger in Hood River and the two-state region of the Columbia River Gorge.Description
Gorge Grown Food Network (GGFN), the tour’s host, is a local food nonprofit dedicated to building a resilient and inclusive food system. Learn about an innovative mobile market helping anchor fledgling farmers markets in rural communities. They run a robust suite of programs connecting beginning farmers to tools, education, and markets, and they provide a space for the community to participate in their local food system. GGFN’s Food Access Manager, Todd Dierker, will be emceeing the bus ride from Portland to Hood River, providing an in-depth history of the Columbia River Gorge’s food system. The tour will highlight several of GGFN’s community partners and will include farm visits, a food bank community garden tour, a review of GGFN’s mobile farmers market and ample opportunities to taste local food.
Food Banking 2.0: Exploring Oregon Food Bank’s Path
At the Oregon Food Bank (OFB), we believe that no one should go hungry. It is with this in mind that we have embarked on a new five year strategic plan that weaves immediate interventions to feed people today with longer term innovative initiatives to ensure communities have the tools to feed themselves tomorrow.
The Oregon Food Bank tour will provide participants with a closer look at how we arrived at our new perspective on food banking and how we are pushing forward towards food security and community resiliency. You’ll have an opportunity to sit down with OFB staff in small groups to discuss one program or initiative in depth. You can choose from: engaging our network and partners in advocacy, community food systems organizing, volunteer recruitment and management, and our strategic planning process and outcomes.
The day will also include tours of our new farm and learning garden, our statewide warehouse and distribution center, as well as lunch provided by our amazing Cooking Matters volunteer chefs, with the recipe coming directly from the Cooking Matters cook book.
Portland in Action: Empowerment through Food
Portland is known for its innovative food culture yet also experiences high levels of homelessness, unemployment, and lack of affordable food access. This downtown walking tour highlights how Portland’s love of food mixed with an effective social service approach has led to an array of creative programs that work to help communities in need to overcome barriers through improved food access as well as food related employment training.
From a mobile grocery store to the City Hall Garden to a youth-focused bicycle powered smoothie business, attendees will learn how Portland’s love of food acts to foster food justice and promote self-sufficiency among those most in need. The tour will offer more than 6 on-site visits and presentations of each program, as well as cover 3 miles of beautiful downtown Portland on foot and light rail.Lunch will be provided by New City Kitchen, which provides at-risk individuals culinary training and job placement. The walk will include chances to taste pedal powered smoothies and visit a Ben & Jerry’s staffed by disadvantaged youth. Come see Portland in action on its way to ending hunger and cultivating a just food system and empowered communities!
Food Access & Economic Opportunity in Southeast Portland
Get an up-close look at four innovative Portland organizations that are addressing food system gaps, increasing food access, and supporting food-based entrepreneurship in historically disadvantaged communities. Through market gardening, urban farming, community kitchens, specialty retail, and development of a food processing hub, Outgrowing Hunger, Friends of Zenger Farm, Hacienda CDC and Ecotrust provide infrastructure and systems to help local citizens feed their communities and create jobs.
The Neighborhoods Community Garden (a project of Outgrowing Hunger) offers refugee families a venue, training, and logistical support in growing fresh, ethnically appropriate vegetables for market, barter, and home consumption. The on-site Community Farm (operated by Grow Portland) provides participants from all walks of life a chance to learn and refine their intensive small-scale agricultural techniques, and receive a share of the harvest they helped grow.
Zenger Farm offers programs for residents of outer southeast Portland including a SNAP-accessible CSA farm, the Lents International Farmers’ Market, Healthy Eating on a Budget classes, a farm/food education partnership with the local school district, and a new community kitchen micro-business incubator.
The Portland Mercado (a project of Hacienda CDC) is a community hub and business incubator that provides affordable retail space for 19 businesses representing a range of Latin American foods and products.
The Redd is an industrial warehouse block that Ecotrust has purchased and is transforming into a working hub for the regional food economy, to spawn young businesses and connect them to resources.
Happy Meals Reimagined: School Based Anti-hunger Programs
This trip will explore innovations happening in the realm of school food to improve child nutrition and wellness. From what is being served in the school lunch program, to school garden education, to emergency food provisions on school grounds, Portland schools are doing creative things to help their students grow up healthy.
We will visit programs at Harrison Park Elementary School, a highly diverse school in a low-income neighborhood. We will learn about the school’s educational garden programming and the adjacent community garden where families grow together after school. We’ll hear about how the school partners with Oregon Food Bank and others to provide a school pantry, a backpack program, and a free farmers’ market. Finally, we’ll speak with a representative from Portland Public Schools Nutrition Services about ways that they are delivering nutritious, delicious foods to their students.
On the bus, we will hear about programs in the Portland area seeking to address issues of child hunger, including Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon and FoodCorps. This trip will highlight great examples of how schools can help be the solution to child hunger and ensure that our kids have access to healthy food and the knowledge to help them make healthy choices.