WFFC Logo, Lane Food, Lane County, Oregon

About the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition


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


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

Bret Parzuchowski, Treasurer
Farwest Steel

There’s something special about going to a farm stand or your local farmers’ market and buying fresh, tasty food so that you can prepare a meal to share with your family and friends.  I may have a plan in mind but am always open to changing it and going with whatever looks, smells, and tastes the best.  I enjoy the impromptu nature of the process and knowing that there is seasonality to our growing season.  I can’t always get what I want all the time and there’s something fundamentally sound about that concept.  The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition (WFFC) are strong advocates for our local farms and the overall health and sustainability of our local food system.  We live in a ridiculously abundant valley and I am grateful for all that it offers and for all that WFFC does in support of it.

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 Karen Edmonds
Programs and Services Director, Food for Lane County

I joined the WFFC Board with a desire to help our community value local food. Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate local food more and more – not only because it tastes better, is fresher, and supports the local economy –but because it’s part of creating a community. As an employee of a food bank, I’ve worked with a team of people to get more produce to people who struggle to make ends meet and to focus on nutrition education. What we eat matters; quality nutrients are as essential as getting enough to eat. WFFC does great work in our community to spread the news and joy of eating local. It’s great to be a part of it.

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.

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. 



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.

Taylor Larson

Taylor Larson
Farm to School Education and Family Outreach Coordinator

In addition to my work at WFFC, I run a farm just south of Eugene along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River. I am passionate about fostering a strong sense of place here in the Southern Willamette Valley and believe in the power of food and farms to shape our community. It is my hope that through my work, kids who grow up in our corner of the world will become aware of how their food is produced, how this impacts our environment, economy and culture… and perhaps even inspire a few to become farmers themselves.

Leisha Wood

Leisha Wood
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?


Jo Rodgers
Managing Editor, Locally Grown, Office Administrator

Thin top soil, deep wells, bare feet, hand-made hoes, blazing sun and…singing, little kids playing, neighbors coming to help, grandmas tending to babies, and women carrying lunch from miles away in a kettle balanced on their head. This is a scene I witnessed a lot while living in an agricultural village in Mali, West Africa. Moving to the lush greenness of the Willamette Valley made me instantly grateful for the vitality and richness of this place. While our community loves local foods, our food system could be stronger and more people living here need access to our Valley’s offerings. That is why I love being at WFFC and helping its mission to do just that. Being a mama of two and the wife of a farmer makes it that much more personal.


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.


Ken Jussaume
OSSC AmeriCorps Educator with Farm to School



Mary Ellis
FoodCorps service member with Farm to School

My background in ecological research and botany has led me to develop a deep appreciation for local, sustainable food practices. I believe education through school gardens, and supporting local farmers can develop a way for all to access fresh, local produce while caring for the land that produces it. My work last year at a charter high school for at-risk teens led me to realize the importance of hands-on garden education for youth. I believe these experiences will help ignite students' interest in knowing where their food comes from and has the ability to empower students so they can grow their own food.

Annual Report

WFFC 2014 Annual Report

WFFC 2013 Annual Report

WFFC 2012 Annual Report

WFFC 2011 Annual Report