Intern Katy’s Hometown Strategy: Let’s Get Growing!

Part of the ROP Organizing Internship program involves an option to vision, design, and carry out a project from start to finish.  Intern Katy Giombolini came to ROP with a background in food justice.  She started a student-run farm as a student at Willamette University, worked on farms during her summer breaks, and published a peer reviewed article about the ability of the Willamette Valley to produce enough to meet the nutritional needs of the local population.

For her independent project, she decided to focus on strengthening the local food network here in Columbia County.  She had 4 objectives:

  1. Conduct a full assessment of the current Columbia County Food System through interviews, meetings, and research;
  2. Create a Local Food & Farm Guide;
  3. Hold a Spring Planting Party with CCCHD at the ROP Community Garden;
  4. Create tools for local groups & a continuing dialogue in the ROP community regarding food justice and local food systems

Katy has nearly accomplished everything she set out to do.  But you see, #4 is where you come in.  Her closing communique is included below – packed with wisdom and fresh insight.

With it we share:

Thank you Katy for your amazing work.

Late last month, 15 Columbia County community members got their hands dirty in the community garden outside the ROP Office.  We packed the raised beds with everything from fennel to tomatoes to kale; we tore out grass; we built amazing tomato trellises; we ate a lot of great food.   The event brought together a great mix of people – long time ROPers, young adults interested in growing food, and community members curious about what goes on inside this small office in Scappoose, Oregon.  With music, good conversation, and a common goal we showed our values by digging deep, planting seeds, and organizing ourselves to make sure this garden continues to grow.

Over the past 9 months at ROP, I’ve learned how we are in it for the long haul; we are about changing the way people think and act.  It’s not some short term campaign but a continual struggle.  For me that means changing the way we eat and changing the way we think about food and using food as a way to inspire those faced with a depressed economy.  Here are ways ROP is using food as an organizing tool:  Let’s Get Planting

Food has the amazing ability to bring people together and sustain us just like community, families, friends and neighbors.  The people working in the garden this weekend were people looking for community, looking for a place to make something happen, to do something that reflected what they value.  What do I value?  What simple action can I do to reflect those values?  Reminding ourselves what our values are and then finding ways to share our values with others through simple actions like planting a garden is an important excercise to re-energize and refocus ourselves as we continue on making change.

Ever Forward,
ROP Intern


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