New partnership, old tractor

New partnership, old tractor

What a way to start a week.  Five well-dressed Trillium Community Health Plan representatives are waiting near the road when I pull up at 8:45am.  More arrive every minute as we discuss where to set up the canopy, podium, and catered spread.  They don't waste any time getting organized and set up for the event we're hosting: a new partnership announcement between Trillium and FOOD for Lane County to provide more fresh produce to local low-income patients.  The event seems kind of hyped up, like a public relations stunt, until I hear our board members, executive director, and people from Trillium speak about the programs we're collaborating on.  They're providing $120,000 over the next two years to expand our Produce Plus markets around the county, where people can get fresh fruits and veggies at convenient locations, institutionalize the "Screen and Intervene" program where medical providers ask whether patients worry about running out of food-- then provide them with resources to access the food they need.  For the Youth Farm, the program means an extra $5,000 for diabetes prevention program participants who receive vouchers to spend exclusively at our farm stands.  These are the types of programs that anyone who cares about food insecurity have been dreaming of, that get to the root causes of hunger and the social determinants of health.  Finally, the funds to make it all happen are starting to flow.  

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Transforming the food system in the cilantro bed

We got to talking. Over cutting salad mix, about families and efficiency.  Over sorting carrots, about Sloppy Joe's and imperfect produce.  We got to talking about all kinds of things on our feed walk in the afternoon: timing of flame weeding, pruning and grafting tomatoes, the farm's weed "seed bank."  I often have trouble fully listening and conversing when I'm working with my hands-- I tend to focus on the carrots.  Over bunching cilantro way out in the corner of the farm, though, one conversation pulled me deep in.

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Book review: Food Fight by McKay Jenkins

Book review: Food Fight by McKay Jenkins

When groups come to volunteer on the farm, I welcome them, give them a broad overview of what we do, and take them for a guided tour around the fields.  When I start explaining our agricultural practices, which I'll touch on here much more as the season progresses, someone from the group often raises their hand and asks a seemingly simple question: "Do you guys use GMOs?"

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