Oregon senators secure funding for local food system

Oregon’s two U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, say
they have secured a $366,150 grant for Washington County nonprofits Centro
Cultural and Working Theory Farm to partner to increase food production and

Working Theory Farm, which gives youth opportunities to work
on the farm through partnerships with Washington County’s juvenile justice
program and local shelters, will use the money in part to expand programs that
provide “consistent spaces to give and receive positive and constructive
feedback” for local teenagers, according to a summary of the grant from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The farm aims to increase production in order to provide
fresh food year-round to Centro Cultural, which operates a market-style food
bank in Cornelius, by purchasing some infrastructure and equipment upgrades,
such as row covers for winter vegetables and new coops to raise chickens.

“Centro is thrilled to build a partnership with the
USDA to continue our mission of serving working people in Oregon with quality
services,” Centro Cultural executive director Maria Rubio said. “This
award from the USDA will give us the ability to meaningfully increase access to
culturally specific organic foods in our Centro Mercado food pantry