WFFC Logo, Lane Food, Lane County, Oregon

Willamette Farm & Food Coalition

About the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

MISSION

The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition facilitates and supports the development of a secure and sustainable food system in Lane County, Oregon.

VISION

We envision a secure and sustainable food system as one in which our farms are economically viable, our agricultural lands are supporting a much larger percentage of Lane County’s food needs, and all members of our community have access to fresh local foods.

We believe that a strong local food system contributes to the integral health of our entire community and we work to facilitate greater understanding of the social, economic, and environmental impacts of our food choices.

WFFC promotes the purchase of locally grown and produced foods:

  • to keep valuable agricultural land in production
  • to ensure the economic viability of farms
  • to benefit public and environmental health
  • to strengthen our local economy

Board of Directors

Harper Keeler

Harper Keeler, President
University of Oregon, Urban Farm

As a kid growing up on the outskirts of New York City, I was exposed to a terrific array of ethnic traditions and learned early the value of sharing and celebrating these traditions, especially as they related to food. Jewish delis with proper bagels, Italian butcher shops where the guys with the knives were also great cooks, real pizza… you get the picture. All these years later, what continues to resonate with me is the actual joy food brings to those who produce, prepare and share it together. From farmers and grocers to teachers, chefs and local eaters - food is the social glue that holds us together and I’m terribly proud of the work we are doing as part of this tasty gastronomic fabric. Being able to live and work in a community that holds this quintessentially human activity in such high regard brings great joy and pushes me to do the work that I do.

   
Erica Trappe

Erica Trappe, Vice President
Sweetwater Farm and Nursery

   
Bret Parzuchowski, Treasurer
Farwest Steel
 
   
Jessica Blaine

Jessica MacMurray Blaine, Secretary
Marché Restaurant Group

As a native Oregonian, I'm particularly grateful for our thriving-but-delicate food system--and look to organizations like WFFC to nurture the people, the landscape, and the economy of this region. It's a pleasure to serve on the board for a million reasons: the dedicated staff and fellow board members approach this work with creativity and committment, the on-the-ground and on-the-plate results of that work, and the potential to connect the work I do in the business world with the non-profit sector.

   
Karen Edmonds
Programs and Services Director, Food for Lane County

 

   
Katy Giombolini

Katy Giombolini
Education and Outreach Coordinator, Berggren Demonstration Farm

I love how food has the ability to bridge gaps, build community and bring about change. Everyone eats, so everyone has a stake in the future of our food system. We have aging farmers, decreasing farmland, climate change and other major threats to our food system. Instead of being overwhelmed by what we face, I feel motivated to change our systems for the better. We have the opportunity to have a voice, to try out new ways of thinking and being with food as the catalyst. I am excited to serve on the board of an organization that is digging deep, thinking creatively, and working towards a thriving local food system for our region and our community.

   
Amy McCann

Amy McCann
Local Food Market Place

I envision a food system where people know how to eat seasonally, choose to eat local food because it makes them healthier and contributes to a resilient community, and where a person doesn't have to choose highly processed food due to budget or convenience.

   
Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore
Retired UO researcher, College of Education

I’m so happy to be a part of WFFC and be able to parlay my interests and skills to the important work they do. I love to garden, cook and eat. I want everyone to experience the joy of eating what you’ve raised, or at least knowing something about who raised the food. It would be wonderful if this glorious fertile area where we live could sustain everyone who lives here. I hope to be a small part of making that happen.

   
Kory Northrup

Kory Northrup
Web Developer

One aspect of local food that I cherish is the way that it can build and strengthen communities. Until coming to the Willamette Valley, I had no connection to the food I ate nor to those who nurtured the land to grow that food. I never shared a home-cooked meal with John W. Tyson or swap recipes with Betty Crocker; they always seemed ethereal and distant. However, these types of interactions are possible, frequent even, within a smaller, local food system. We can ship food all over the world, but the joys of picking blueberries on your friend's farm or trading homebrew for a heritage turkey cannot be transported as far.

   
Asaki Oyama
Grad student in UO Planning, Public Policy, and Management

 

   
Jane Yates

Jane Yates
Watkinson Laird Rubenstein

My family didn't have much money and wasn't very sophisticated, but we always appreciated food in context of its time and place. It seems obvious to say that everything tastes better when it's in season and consumed close to its source, but it's true.  I love local food because of its flavor and what that flavor evokes.  Local food captures the poetry of a moment: the summer sun in a bright red tomato, the spring grass in a tender lamb chop, the fall chill in sweet, crisp kale.  It tastes good, it's good for me, and it makes me feel good about supporting local farmers and food producers. 

 

Staff

Lynne Fessenden

Lynne Fessenden
Executive Director

Everyone eats. Everyone has a food story. This is what makes food system work so powerful. Every pressing issue of our time intersects with food: protecting and rehabilitating our environment, mitigating climate change, advancing human health, combating hunger, promoting fair labor standards, growing local economies. There’s something in it for everyone. And there’s nothing that narrows a divide like sharing a meal. A biologist by training, I came into this work sideways – through passion for real food, strong friendships with farmers, and experience working for a national non-profit. It has been the most gratifying work of my life.

 
Megan Kemple

Megan Kemple
Farm to School Program Director

My experience includes non-profit program management, teaching in classroom and outdoor settings, and knowledge of local food systems. I am passionate about educating kids about where food comes from and working to create a healthy local food system. I have six years of experience building a successful Farm to School Program in Lane County and am now helping others to do the same. I serve as Oregon’s state lead for the National Farm to School Network, providing technical assistance and support to farm to school programs throughout Oregon. I also serve as co-lead of the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network.

   
Jonathan Fryer

Jonathan Fryer
Farm to School Education and Family Outreach Coordinator

I was born and raised in the southern Willamette Valley, and feel a very strong connection to my home. I see working as an advocate for strengthening our local food system as the most important, impactful, rewarding, and tasty work that one can do with their time. I believe that educating elementary students on where their food comes from in their classrooms, and demonstrating the bounty of good clean food that our area can provide through farm field trips and tasting tables, is truly important as we raise the future stewards of our land.

   
Leisha Wood

Leisha Wood
Buy Local Campaign Coordinator
Co-Manager, Lane Local Foods

I was raised here in this valley and I have always loved the fruits of it. I have studied sustainable food systems at the U of O and have a background in outreach and public education, formerly working as the Education Coordinator for BRING Recycling and as a volunteer facilitator for the Agent of Change program. I believe in the immense power that food has to heal or wound, to nourish or starve, depending on our choices. I see food system work as the nexus where human health, land preservation, environmental restoration, and social equity meet, and I am passionate about inspiring others to make choices that protect these concerns. I also just love food. If I am not eating it I am thinking about it – so where better for me to be?

   
Bernadel Garstecki
Managing Editor of Locally Grown, Office Administrator

 

   
Sherman

Sherman
Volunteer Coordinator

Even holding a Masters in Nutrition it will never cease to amaze me the myriad of ways food permeates our lives. We feel physical, financial, emotional and environmental effects from the foods we eat as individuals and as a society. Our need to eat is inescapable and the effect our food choices have on our personal well-being and the well-being of our society and the planet is undeniable. My passion for eating fresh, flavorful and diverse foods fuels my desire to support small local farmers and drives my ever-deepening involvement in our local food system. I highly value the various roles WFFC plays in our community. From supporting local farmers and helping connect consumers to local foods to teaching the next generation that all the food we eat originates on a farm; WFFC is a priceless asset to the farmers and consumers in the Willamette Valley and I am honored to be a part of such a dedicated team of local food activists.

   
Claire Schechtman

Claire Schechtman
OSSC AmeriCorps Educator with Farm to School

I moved to Eugene in 2009 and have been living in the southern Willamette Valley bio-region ever since. I recently completed my undergraduate degree in International Studies at the University of Oregon, focusing in community development and food justice in the US and Latin America. Inspired by the tradition of community alive in rural Latin America, I hope to work with regional food hubs, local cooperatives, and educational programs in the Pacific Northwest in effort to increase food access to low-income families. As the AmeriCorps Farm to School educator, I am thrilled to continue serving the Eugene area that I love so dearly. Lately, I've spending my time learning Spanish, pursuing my interest in bodywork and healing at massage school, and small-scale subsistence farming with my friends at The Ant Farm.

   
Xanna Burg

Xanna Burg
FoodCorps service member with Farm to School

Since moving to Oregon, I have fallen in love with the mountains, the culture, and the fertile land of the northwest. I come to WFFC and FoodCorps with a nutrition background having studied Dietetics and Local Food Systems in college and then served as a Nutrition Educator at a food bank in Clark County, WA. I’m here because I believe that food has the power to connect all of us and build up strong, local communities. I dream of a world where all kids grow up knowing what healthy food is, where it comes from, and are excited about eating it and caring for the land where it’s produced.

Annual Report

WFFC 2013 Annual Report

WFFC 2012 Annual Report

WFFC 2011 Annual Report