Sprouting up sustainability this spring

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By Emma Kaohi | The Broadside (Contact: ekaohi@cocc.edu)

To share in the excitement of warm months approaching and the crops that come along with it, farmers and ranchers from around Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties gathered on April 14 for the third annual Food and Farm Faire.

Kicking the spring season off with new ideas for healthier food options, the Sustainability Committee of Central Oregon Community College partnered with Central Oregon Locavore and the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance to host the event.“The goal is to draw awareness to, and hopefully implement, sustainability practices here on campus.The committee’s goal is to receive various inputs and provide direction for administration to have,” said Owen Murphy, the  event coordinator and Health and Human Performance Professor.

Employees from Plainview Gardens at their stand. From left to right: Amy Anderson, Gayle Hoagland and student Hanna Kannys. Photo by Emma Kaohi.

There were multiple booths with local farmers there to educate the public about what foods should be put in your body to keep a healthy lifestyle.

Fresh produce and potted plants were displayed on tables,coolers were filled with poultry, pork and red meats, and jugs and jars were rimmed with raw milk and honey.

Amanda Benkert, owner of Dome Grown Produce, stands with her display of fresh herbs and vegetables.

“We had more total people show up. We had two more farms attend than in the past, and just the general overall vibe was positive. The farmers were happy to be there and interacting, not just with the public but with each other, because they don’t always see each other or have the opportunity to catch up with each other.  The public was able to get access to fresh greens and maybe make a connection for a herdshare or CSA-share,” Murphy said.

CSA-share works as an ongoing or subscription-based farm sharing program between Central Oregon’s residents and farmers. Payments vary by farm, however funding goes towards field work and seeds for the new growth. Customers can pick up their shares at the farm or at drop-off locations around Central Oregon, such as Whole Foods or Central Oregon Locavore.

As farmers connected with customers through the CSA-share program, ranchers were able to connect with customers through herdshare. Purchasing herdshare gives Central Oregon residents the opportunity to buy raw, unpasteurized milk directly from the farmer, due to it being illegal to sell raw milk to the public in Oregon. By purchasing a herdshare, customers become partial owners of the farm’s herd, and the milk that is produced from the herd is legally theirs.

With an increase in  farms that participated, as well as a noticed increase in the crowd, Murphy has high hopes that the event will continue on in the future. With no fee to partake, and lunch provided, Murphy hopes that more farms will want to participate and the public interest in sustainable foods will grow. In addition, the Sustainability Committee is looking for individuals who want to be involved in sustainable practicing.

For more information on the Food and Farm Faire contact Owen Murphy at omurphy@cocc.edu. For more information on COCC’s Sustainability Committee contact Jessica Russell jlrussell@cocc.edu

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