Oregon Food Bank 'swamped' with requests, so communities are trying to grow their own

Farm tours were the order of the day Saturday for dozens of folks engaged in sustainable farming.

Three food cooperatives in Portland - Peoples, Alberta Coop and Food Front - led a collective farm tour June 11 to look at urban food security, said Anne Morse of Adelante Mujeres, a Forest Grove nonprofit.

Starting at 9:15 a.m. at La Esperanza Farm in Forest Grove, tour-goers caught a look at Food Works farm on Sauvie Island, a 45-minute drive, and wound up at Zenger Farm in Southeast Portland.

While there, they contemplated the challenges of 21st century food demands locally and worldwide.

'Did you know that Oregon is one of the five most 'hungry' states in the country with 6.6 percent of our neighbors experiencing food insecurity?' said Morse, organic farming outreach coordinator for Adelante Mujeres. 'Reports confirm this, and as the Oregon Food Bank is swamped with requests, communities and organizations are taking action into their own hands to make sure their neighbors are nourished.'

La Esperanza Farm is managed by Adelante Agricultura, a sustainable farming training program that supports Latino farmers and farm workers. The program encourages economic viability for local Latino farmers by providing access to farmland, training in small-scale, diversified organic agriculture and direct marketing outlets such as the Forest Grove Farmers Market.

The local market, which operates every Wednesday from May to October in downtown Forest Grove, is managed by Adelante Mujeres, a non-profit seeking to empower Latina women and families through education and enterprise.

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