Linfield seeks to build community around food

Reprinted with permission of the News-Register. Find more News-Register stories about Linfield College here.


DSC_5651-smSept. 6, 2013

By Sarah Mason of the News-Register


Linfield College and the McMinnville community shared a foodie experience during the inaugural Linfield Farmers’ Market, held Tuesday outside Dillin Hall.

The market featured mostly organic produce from three local outlets — Gaining Ground Farm, River Ridge Farm and LB Farms — in addition to Linfield’s student-run garden and Home Grown Foods, a locally sourced fermenting business.

The items for sale included corn, zucchini, tomatillos, watermelon, large bouquets of brightly colored flowers, earthly colored potatoes and jars of fermented pickles and kimchi, all harvested from McMinnville’s own backyard.

“The goal was to illustrate to students the holistic approach to being healthy, happy and well within a community,” said Adria Godon-Bynum, coordinator for student health and wellness programming.

One vendor, Alex Freedman, co-founder of Home Grown Foods, mingled with students and members of the community preaching the importance of working together to build a quality food system.

“We see Linfield as an important part of this community,” Freedman said. “Food is something that McMinnville really cares about, and I think this event was a great opportunity to help build a strong community around food.”

The first 25 students who attended the event were presented with tokens worth five dollars toward produce from a vendor of their choice. This provided students with the opportunity to get local produce in their hands and realize eating healthy can taste good, even on a budget, organizers said.

“I hope students recognize fast food does not have to be McDonald’s,” Godon-Bynum said. “It is even faster to pick up a cucumber or a melon. Eating fast and on the go can mean that you are eating healthy too.”

The market attracted more than 250 students — around 15 percent of the Linfield student body.

Senior Connor Varnell said he hoped students and community members learned about the importance of taking advantage of the rich agricultural resources of McMinnville and the Willamette Valley through events such as these. “We are trying help students understand that we can have fresh foods right here in our backyard,” he said.

The event was sponsored by the Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement, Associated Students of Linfield College, Linfield Community Garden, Student Health Center and Linfield Sustainability.

In conjunction with the market, Linfield Head Chef Noah Bekofsky showed students and community members how to prepare easy dishes using organic produce.

Duncan Reid, environmental stewardship and sustainability assistant, said that the event was a trial run. Based on its success, it’s likely there will be similar events later in the school year.

Linfield Sustainability followed up Thursday by hosting a food and discussion event running 5 to 8:30 p.m. in Withnell Commons.

Francesco Tripoli created wood-fired pizza for the event, using fresh vegetables from the garden. The accompanying discussion, led by local farmer Scott Frost, was titled, “The War on Agriculture.”